1. FOR SALESOLD: Prototype “Vio” Hurdy Gurdy €2700 + P&P from Germany

    This is the twin of my current personal instrument, originally built four years ago but finished recently. The video was taken after only one day of setting up and breaking in, so it’s a bit scratchy, and intended to give an impression of the raw sound of the instrument (both acoustic and from the two internal pickups), ready for you to tame (or not, if you prefer!)

    The instrument has three chanters (currently G, d and g), two drones (currently C and G) and two trompettes, also C and G. The C drone and trompette are fitted with capos, raising the pitch by one tone. The chanter bridge height is adjustable.

    The instrument is fitted with two passive internal pickups, one on the soundboard below the bridge giving a good overall sound, and one on the chanter bridge itself, giving a very focused chanter sound (almost no trompette!). The sounds from both pickups can be heard in the video. There is one jack for each pickup, enabling you to mix them or apply separate effects externally.

    The whole body is made from flamed maple, the keys and other small details are ebony, with screwed wooden tangents. The instrument is a prototype, and therefore has some minor cosmetic and design flaws; otherwise it is a fine, working instrument at a special prototype price.

    I’ve already had some interest in the instrument and am waiting until Monday for a potential buyer to get back to me, other than that it’s first-come-first served. Any questions, etc. comment/message/email me barnaby@waterpigs.co.uk2016-10-18 this instrument is now sold to Isarnos in the UK — looking forward to hearing what they do with it! I’m currently building more instruments, drop me an email if you’re interested.

  2. Video: Jelängerjelieber — Solo Hurdy Gurdy

    Jelängerjelieber played on solo gurdy as a wickler/slängpolska for an epic eight minutes (it feels like much less on the other side of the instrument!) — so grab the nearest person and wickl some time away :)

    This lovely tune is Matthias Branschke’s Säckpipa version of what was originally a Sorbish song from the Kralsches Geigenspielbuch called “Fa ßym ta jena hubena ßryota”, and was given a new name by the Verein zur Förderung traditioneller Musik des deutschsprachigen Raums (who need a new name themselves, phew), and published in 2015 in “Neues aus alten Büchern 2” — full of nice tunes and highly recommended.

    Sheet music for this tune is available here

    The instrument is a 2nd generation Vio gurdy from me, recorded with an AKG C1000S and the internal pickup.

  3. Spent this morning doing maintenance work on this very old hurdy gurdy with a very interesting history, which I shall be writing more about soon:

  4. Spent this morning meeting a very interesting old hurdy gurdy owned by some very interesting people. Tomorrow we’re off to find a lathe with which to fix it.

  5. trompette study tip: watch the trompette string whilst buzzing. Watching its motion can help judge the evenness of your buzzes, and help identify buzzes which are weaker, shorter or merging together. It’s a convenient, built-in way of making the invisible (sound) visible (movement of a string).

  6. Based on what I learned from the coup de catre, I will not claim to be able to play the coup de six until I can freely stress or miss any of the buzzes, start the coup from any location, and use it to play in 7 and 5 time. Step one: balancing exercises! Slowly beginning to be able to start the coup de six from any of the six buzzes.

  7. Successfully re-booked! A member of security staff asked to see my hurdy gurdy purely out of curiosity, which is a first for me. Usually they either don’t care or require a swab and search.

  8. Drehleierwiki has a very comprehensive list of string suggestions, and is excellent reference if you’re not sure where to get strings, what to get, or simply want to try something new.

    I’m currently using a Thomastik Infeld Dominant Viola a1 medium, (synth core, aluminium wound) as my g, some unbranded roundwound violin G (turns out roundwound doesn’t sit nicely with my gurdy) and a Violin D for the D. Planning on replacing the D with another low G set up for harmony playing, and maybe trying some gut strings for my trompettes after I’ve made new chiens.