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Octobass Hurdy Gurdy

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Octobass Hurdy Gurdy

Postby Michael Deazley » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:11 pm

I am still in the design stage of this project, which is for fun and novelty, not for the production of a practical instrument.


Last week I learned of the Hurdy Gurdy. As I had already been looking into building a double bass, I had the idea of making a bass-sized hurdy gurdy. Then the other day I discovered the Octobass. I couldn't help but think that the octobass would be easier to play if it was set up something like the hurdy gurdy.

So I am planning on starting a cheap (and therefore horrible-sounding) prototype of an octobass hurdy gurdy. I figure a treadle-powered flywheel would be better than a crank for such a massive instrument, and when it comes to the keys I was thinking a simple hydraulic button system instead of either keys or levers.

On existing octobass', the strings are over eight feet long. The tuning I want is: C0, G0, and D1. I am obviously not looking at sticking with a traditional classic construction, so I could possibly scale it down a bit, but I don't know enough about strings to know how to approach it either way (which is how I wound up here, looking to learn). Of course, I am continuing to poke around myself, but if anyone more experienced has advice on a starting point to reach those low notes, it would be greatly appreciated in moving forward with my prototype.

If my prototype turns out promising, I may add more strings to increase it's range up through the double bass and cello, possibly even higher. But there is no point in adding so many strings that it resembles a harp or piano instead.
Michael Deazley
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Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2017 10:23 am
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

Re: Octobass Hurdy Gurdy

Postby Jim McConkey » Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:06 pm

Welcome to the Forum, Michael!

I know nothing about such gigantic strings, but you might want to contact the Aquila string company, who seem to have researched the strings and have made historical copies: ... -octobass/

Good luck! This should be a fascinating project. Please post pictures here as you go!
MIMForum Staff - Way North of Baltimore
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Jim McConkey
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Location: Way north of Baltimore, MD

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