Hurdy-Gurdy: the world's first mechanical musical model for self-assembly and play is a genuine gem of the Ugears collection.
The hurdy-gurdy is a string instrument that produces a sound resembling one of a bagpipe by a hand-turned wheel rubbing against the strings working similarly to a violin and a fiddle bow.
The history of this instrument begins in the 15th century. One of the earliest forms of the hurdy-gurdy was the organistrum (a portable organ) in Medieval Europe. After some modifications it became a common instrument among travelling musicians in England and went through its renaissance period in the later 17th-18th centuries as more of the noble class musical instrument for the amusement of the rich. Those instruments were decorated by craftsmen with inlays and carving and had the built-in hurdy-gurdy mechanism into the guitar or lute body. Some call the Hurdy-Gurdy music "a medieval rock’n’roll", which we find pretty cool. It captured us and we decided to create the Ugears' version of the Hurdy-Gurdy.
UGears keeps expanding the creative world of hobbies and opening an assembly process as an exciting game. Inspired by the art of Celtic and Scandinavian medieval craftsmen and enriched by smart engineering of the XXI century UGears is introducing — Hurdy-Gurdy – the world’s first mechanical musical model and the genuine gem of the collection. It is the most extraordinary mechanical model kit which is all-in-one: model for self-assembly, toy and fully fledged musical instrument. The Hurdy-Gurdy plays dancing melodies, from folk to modern, being the bridge between the medieval times and the present day. The unique blend of the joy of creation, playing music, and engineering and design. Just build it together with your own hands and feel like Stradivari or a popular Hurdy-Gurdy star! The Ugears Hurdy-Gurdy model was successfully launched on Kickstarter in July, 2017
Based on the 15th Century organistrum, Ugears has created an intricately detailed, fully functional version of this medieval instrument.The finished model looks remarkably akin to the original 16th century hurdygurdy, giving it a wonderfully medieval aesthetic. This wooden attractive and educational model has a highly detailed exquisite décor of the body crafted in romantic style and turns the assembly and playing process into an exciting game and brings you hours of pleasure and fun.
It’s easy to playdancing melodies, from folk to modern. To start the music flowing, the player just need to crank the handle with one hand to kick off a drone sound from the bourdon and melody strings. Pushing the wooden buttons with the fingers of the other hand changes the pitch of the melody string, as "spring-loaded" wooden blocks essentially shorten the string. Ugears will include some tablature with the kit to get newbies off to a flying start.
The Ugears Hurdy-Gurdy comes with everything needed for assembly.All the pieces are precut into the plywood boards and are easily removed for assembly following the detailed instructions provided. The only non-wood parts, by necessity, are the two strings that rub against the crank powered wheel and the rosin used to wax it.
My family had such a good time together building this working instrument. It's a beautiful thing and so clever not to need any tools or glue. The instrument makes an eery sound, as though it is coming from a wax cylinder recording from long ago. My wife kept saying "this is the best present ever"!
I was very impressed by the laser-cut parts, and by the construction manual. The finished hurdy-gurdy is a beautiful instrument. A work of art! I fitted mine with a piezo pick-up, and guitar jack, plus old fashioned, guy strings, rather than the nylon 'fishing line' supplied with the kit... The importance of rubbing candle wax on pieces, to make them slot together smoothly can't be under-emphasised. Waxing cogs is important too, they creak quite a lot when the hurdy-gurdy is played. I am tempted to buy another kit, and this time I will rub light, scratch-cover wood stain, and a thin coat of beeswax polish on the flat, uncut parts panels, so that the finished wood looks like a violin, or traditional instrument. Making and playing the hurdy-gurdy has been fascinating, fun, and rewarding.