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46 Backfields Lane Upton Upon Severn Worcestershire WR8 0JH UK
I have been making Hurdy Gurdies for over 25 years. They are all hand built in my workshop.
The main parts of a Hurdy Gurdy
The following list shows some of the range of Hurdy Gurdies available to order. Click on the pictures for more views
The Pajot family built hurdy gurdies in Jenzat, France from 1795-1939.
This large lute-body hurdy gurdy is the most popular of all the types I make. It is based on my own instrument, made by Pajot in 1841. This type is most commonly used for folk music, and is loud enough when playing for traditional French dancing. it can be tuned to play in C or G. in the Bourbonnais tuning all the strings are tuned in octaves of D, and this enables it to be played in G or D.
My “Pajot” hurdy gurdies have the traditional carved head, sympathetic strings, and decoration if required. Woods available are sycamore, walnut and mahogany, usually with a spruce soundboard.
Available plain or decorated
Pajot 3 string
Also available is a 3 row 3 chanterelle instrument, developed by myself. This is the standard “Pajot”, but has an extra row of keys below the normal 2 rows. This key row operates separately on the 3rd chanterelle string, enabling chords to be played.
This 15-16C instrument is depicted in “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516). A hurdy gurdy made exactly as pictured would probably work, but I have developed the idea so that it will play perfectly whilst being faithful to the shape and proportions shown. There is no original instrument extant in this style. As for sound, it’s anybody’s guess what the original was like, but mine have been described as medium-loud, and sweet. Usual wood is all sycamore, finished in a light colour.
Court (Henri III)
This style was common in the 16C & 17C and features in paintings of the period, being played in elegant surroundings by the aristocracy. Tunings are to play in C or G. Its sound has both elegance and clarity. Woods available are all sycamore or all mahogany.
This instrument is of my design, and of simple appearance, enabling me to offer my usual quality at a price attractive to a beginner. With 2 melody strings, trompette and a bass drone, it has a standard size keyboard of 2 octaves, so that those wishing to later progress to a more sophisticated instrument will not have to make any adjustments to playing technique. The Student has a good sound, similar to a guitar body. Woods are usually mahogany or African walnut.
Symphony – 3 String
This is a simple box shaped hurdy gurdy which was common in England from 13C-18C, often seen in paintings and stone carvings (eg Peterborough Cathedral) of that period. They seemed to have a diatonic keyboard, but to avoid limiting the range for the player, I make them with a 2 octave chromatic keyboard. There is usually 1 melody and 1 trompette string, and 1 bass drone. The sound is as expected, quite quiet, and ideal to accompany solo voice. Woods are sycamore, walnut and mahogany.
Symphony – 6 String
This is the same size and shape as the standard 3 string Symphony, but is capable of a greater variety of sounds and can be regarded as a conventional Hurdy Gurdy in box form.
- 2 chanterelle
- 1 trompette
- 1 mouche
- 2 bass drones
This is a large guitar body hurdy gurdy of my own design loosely based on a Spanish Folk instrument, and has a flat back and soundboard. It usually has a simple heart shaped pegbox or can have a scroll if preferred.
Two chanterelles, trompette and three drones.
A bright clear full sound, chosen for its suitability for medieval music.
My guitar body Hurdy Gurdies are usually based on those made by Jean Nicolas Lambert (1731-1765). These Instruments in C or G are suitable for playing the graceful 18C music, as solo or in a small ensemble. Their tone is clear and refined, particularly suited to accompany a singer.
Also available is a guitar body instrument after Edmond Saunier 1730-1783. The specification is the same as the “LAMBERT”, but has a smaller body and shorter keyboard, and is ideal for those with small hands, or children. My “LAMBERT” and “SAUNIER” Hurdy Gurdies have sympathetic strings and carved head. The woods I use for both are usually sycamore and mahogany.
Cases are also available to order with the instrument. Made of either lined fibreglass or wood.
NB: Decoration is no longer available as an option on any Hurdy Gurdy.