decided to give up strings on my gurdies. best listened to with headphones.
Doing some prototyping+testing for the next MIDI-enabled gurdy board:
My current approach is an Arduino (Genuino) Uno with a custom made board with a line of hall effect sensors, and the various other boards plugged into the Arduino. It works, but there are various problems — wiring the whole thing together is a hassle; the limited I/O on the Uno requires me to multiplex the sensors, introducing delays; hand-soldering through-hole sensors means they’re all in slightly different positions; and a single line of sensors isn’t enough to cover the whole throw of a key, resulting in notes turning off when they’re bent too far.
I heard about emsproto.com and was initially considering designing a board containing the sensors and microcontroller myself, and having it built, but after drafting up a very simple one-component test board and seeing that there’s a base cost of €200 per board for PCB and assembly, I decided on another approach.
The next version of the board will be a custom designed sensor and breakout board with two rows of surface-mounted hall effect sensors, into which I can plug a Teensy 3.5, removing the need for multiplexing, vastly increasing the speed at which the system can run, and opening up various possibilities like easy-to-implement USB-MIDI support.
FOR SALE: Two newly built Hurdy Gurdies
The first two instruments from this winter’s series are now for sale. The new design is an evolution of my previous instruments, aiming to be more compact whilst having a loud, mellow, balanced sound. The instruments fit nicely in Ritter Alto/Tenor sax bags (I’ve flown several times with this model as hand luggage without any problems).
2x melody strings (G and g)
2x drones (C and G)
2x trompettes (C and G)
4x sympathetic strings (C, G, D, A)
4x capos (one for each drone and trompette string)
Three channel active amplification system
Fully chromatic two octave keyboard (including F# in the upper octave)
Height-adjustable melody string bridge
Adjustable drone bridges
Happy to report that this unexpected visitor to my CNC router left safely and was not brutally routed out of existence
FOR SALE: 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 email@example.com
A new hurdy gurdy is being born! This one will be for immediate sale at a special prototype price. More details to follow further into the week.
Progress in the workshop
Thematically appropriate packing for Chateau d’Ars/Le Son Continu
Nice memories of playing with Steve, Katy, Nick and Fynn in Hamburg last month:
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.
#gurdy 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).