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GUEST,Songster Bob Help: homemade hurdy-gurdy - eh? (48) RE: Help: homemade hurdy-gurdy - eh? 04 Dec 01

Well, I don't know the plans you downloaded, but the basic principle is that the keys push sideways against the strings, and act as stops thereby. There are little "flags" of wood which are attached to the horizontal keys, and these "flags" are the stops. There should be a spring to return the key to its "open" position (get it out of the way of the strings), although you can use gravity if you remember to keep the keys pointing downward. Springs work better and faster, though, and are less bothered by small amounts of friction in the key passages.

The buzzing bridge is a sort of off-balance thing, where the string tends to pull the bridge "over," as it were, and the wheel tends to pull it "back," so that different speeds on the crank, using the wrist, give you a buzzing sound that can be used for actual rhythm playing.

I'm not sure how anyone can make one of these for $10-20, though. The strings would cost that much, and turning a wheel that's properly round, with the grain properly aligned (turning a round in slab wood give you end-grain/side grain/end grain/side grain every 90 degrees).

But the instruments can be made fairly inexpensively, if you're really precision-minded and careful. The only experience I've had in making them involved neither of these, of course.

Bob Clayton

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