Building a hurdy-gurdy

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Re: Building a hurdy-gurdy

Postby Paul Breen » Wed Sep 24, 2014 2:50 pm

I had a George Kelischek "Balladeer" Hurdy-Gurdy in for some crack repairs and a glued down tail piece that came loose. I'm comfortable with those repairs/processes but I'm not a Hurdy-Gurdy guy and had no idea how to set it up, let alone tune it. I found this helpful tutorial (see link) on the Kelischek Workshop site. He builds 3 string Diatonic scale Hudy-Gurdys but the principals are the same. The string diameters dictate keys that you can tune too, the instrument I worked on, with the existing string diameters, can be tuned to A or G. It has a wound nylon drone and a plain nylon drone tuned an octave apart; G for the key of G and A for the key of A. The Gut melody string is tuned to an E for the key of A and to D for the key of G. I put it in G, it sounds like a bagpipe! Definately a fun learning experience.

Nice job on your build!

Maybe this will be of some help.
http://www.susato.com/konakart/downloads/Hurdy-Gurdy-Instructions.pdf
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Re: Building a hurdy-gurdy

Postby Barry Black » Sun Jul 05, 2015 2:32 pm

I am settled now on Vancouver Island and need to get this hg finished.
I decided to french polish the main parts. In the past I have mixed the shellac flakes with denatured alcohol, but I couldn't find that here and was advised that methyl hydrate would work just as well. I think I was misinformed because now the finish doesn't seem to want to harden off and iI am finding that the methyl hydrate doesn't want to spirit off properly, staying tacky for days. The only variables are the alcohol and my new location's elevation and humidity, although since I have been doing this, the weather has been hot and dry, similar to Alberta.
Just wondered if anyone has experienced this kind of thing, and how to get around it?
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Re: Building a hurdy-gurdy

Postby Barry Black » Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:18 pm

Hi Charlie, just wondering what strings you used on your hg?
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Re: Building a hurdy-gurdy

Postby Charlie Schultz » Thu Jul 23, 2015 7:28 am

I got my strings here: http://www.hurdygurdy.com/supplies/strings.htm

As for alcohol substitutes for FP, check out these two threads:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=2880
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=2057
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Re: Building a hurdy-gurdy

Postby Barry Black » Thu Jul 30, 2015 3:04 am

I am having trouble finding strings for my hg locally so I decided to try some tennis racquet gut for strings, if I could find any. It turns out that no one around stocks it due to the shelf life issue, but I did get some stuff that is a 'gut substitute' that re-stringers use. it's just over 1.2 mm thick(size 15L) and does produce quite a nice sound (in my opinion) 30 ft cost me $5 Cdn. This thickness seems to work up to what I think is D4, around 300hz on my tuner app. I also tried some nylon salmon fishing line which is about 0.9 mm diameter and can get up to G4 around 400hz. The nylon seems to stretch overnight but the tennis racquet stuff has stayed close to where I put it for several days. Now I am trying to get the same gut substitute material but in a badminton racquet size (#19) which hopefully will allow me to tune to G4 with some consistency.
Just wondering if anyone else has tried this stuff?
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Re: Building a hurdy-gurdy

Postby Barry Black » Sat Aug 22, 2015 3:11 pm

My son finally was able to visit and get the hg to produce a kind of tune. This was his first attempt and i had no idea that it would take three people to play it :). Hopefully I can upload this little video as proof. I am anxious to hear what people think of my first attempt at building an instrument of any kind.

Hmm it seems that the file did not go. It's an .mov so maybe that's why. Any idea how I can convert it to a compatible file type?
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Re: Building a hurdy-gurdy

Postby Charlie Schultz » Sun Aug 23, 2015 11:43 am

How big is the file Barry?
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Re: Building a hurdy-gurdy

Postby Barry Black » Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:57 pm

Charlie it's a video file 2.3 MB. We probably should have made a separate audio file, but it never occurred to me, and now the hg is with my son, back in Vancouver.
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Re: Building a hurdy-gurdy

Postby Charlie Schultz » Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:21 am

Try posting it again.
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Re: Building a hurdy-gurdy

Postby Barry Black » Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:09 pm

Ok, here goes. Let me know if this works.
Attachments

[ Play Quicktime file ] IMG_0111.MOV [ 2.22 MiB | Viewed 11188 times ]

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Re: Building a hurdy-gurdy

Postby Charlie Schultz » Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:30 pm

Nice!
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Re: Building a hurdy-gurdy

Postby Barry Black » Wed Aug 26, 2015 3:14 am

I'm guessing that you were able to view it Charlie. I have to say that I am pretty pleased with the way it turned out, considering it is my first instrument and to be honest, I had no idea that it would be playable at all. However in 20 minutes my son Jeff had got it tuned and played that short piece. It was his first experience with a hg so we were delighted.
The notes closest to the wheel are kind of 'squeaky/scratchy' but the rest sound quite 'pure'. Also the drones seem to want to drown out the melody strings. Could maybe these issues be due to the tennis racquet string material?
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