Building my 3rd Hurdy Gurdy

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Paul Jenkin
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Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:17 am

Building my 3rd Hurdy Gurdy

Post by Paul Jenkin »

Hi all, i'm new to this group .. I'm building my 3rd Hurdy Gurdy .. I say 3rd the first one went in the bin, the 2nd went to the refuse tip. No 3 .. Well, I'm taking my time on this one .. Question if thats ok .. Can anyone tell me the length from the Bridge, or Drone Wheel to the Nut. I know the nut is made movable on the keybox and can be usefull for tuning. It's the string approx length i need to fit the keybox. Thanks Paul.J

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Bryan Bear
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Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:05 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

Re: Building my 3rd Hurdy Gurdy

Post by Bryan Bear »

I have no answer for you but wanted to say welcome and good luck on your Thirdy Gurdy! <G>

Take care of your feet and your feet will take care of you.

Clay Schaeffer
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Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:04 pm

Re: Building my 3rd Hurdy Gurdy

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

The distance from the bridge to the nut all depends on the keybox. The tangents in the key box act as stops similar to what frets do on a guitar. It is slightly more complicated because in some cases they can be turned slightly for fine tuning which can make an exact determination of the scale length hard to do. To find the approximate bridge location align the tangents perpendicular to the melody string and measure from the tangent closest to the nut to the tangent that plays its octave and double this length. This will give the theoretical scale length from the first fret to the bridge. To find the scale length from the bridge to the nut multiply this distance by 105.94 . This should give the theoretical string length of the instrument. To this distance you will have to add a little bit of compensation by trial and error.
Stew Mac's fret calculator can give you the tangent to tangent (fret to fret) distances so you can check and adjust the individual tuning of the notes.

Charlie Schultz has built a gurdy so he can probably advise you better than I.

Chris Richards
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2012 9:24 am
Location: London, England

Re: Building my 3rd Hurdy Gurdy

Post by Chris Richards »

Most Hurdy Gurdys I've seen have around a 350mm scale length, anything shorter and it gets difficult to fit in the higher keys, the final few keys are not actually in the correct tuning positions, they are cranked to allow them to work and the final tuning is done by adjusting the tangents.

I would strongly recommend getting some good plans I have a few sets of different instruments and it's been valuable to be able to compare different construction methods and other details. One of the modern modifications is to incorporate a removable wheel so you don't have to wreck the instrument to remove it if something goes wrong.

There is a fair amount of info around the web and on youtube And it seems to me that because of the different tunings you can use and the number of strings you can build it with you almost have to decide what type of music you want to play before starting to build it.

Good luck..

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Charlie Schultz
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Re: Building my 3rd Hurdy Gurdy

Post by Charlie Schultz »

You can see my build here:

I used the GAL plan. I might also add that adding a strap really makes it easier to play.

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