Hurdy-Gurdy - build your own fully fledged musical instrument by UGears
Hurdy-Gurdy: the world's first mechanical musical model for self-assembly and play is a genuine gem of the Ugears collection.
About the Hurdy-Gurdy: History
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 Hurdy-Gurdy: Idea
Inspired by the art of medieval craftsmen, enriched by smart engineering of the XXI century and created by Ugears engineers' collective imagination. Richly detailed with an eye toward romance and artistry, our version of this indelible symbol of medieval life and adventure impresses all who come across it and get a chance to play it.
The Ugears Hurdy-Gurdyis a fully fledged musical instrument. It’s easy to play: just turn a crank with one hand putting the rhythm into the music and push the keys with the other. A unique combination of good taste, wood and mechanics. An awesome gift and smart hobby idea for your friends and family.
Assembly of Ugears Hurdy-Gurdy
The model is equipped with everything needed for assembly. The quality of the parts is very high – a laser method with 0.01 mm precision is used for cutting items from a plywood board. The details are already cut out and can be easily removed from the board. All steps of its assembly are described in very detailed step-by-step colour instructions.
The Ugears Hurdy-Gurdy assembles easily and with no glue, toothpicks or special tools due to our patented plywood joints method. The assembly of the Hurdy-Gurdy includes several stages. Firstly, you put the smaller parts together to form the large blocks: the body, decks, wheel, crank, head, tuning pegs, keyboard, melody strings – which will altogether complete the whole model.
Hurdy-Gurdy Assembly Instruction.
Adjusting the height of the strings
The strings should touch the wheel gently.
The hurdy-gurdy 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.
Turn the small ventils clockwise on the bridge to decrease the height and counter-clockwise to increase of the height of the strings
Switching off a bourdon string
Before tuning the first string – the melody string - please switch off the bourdon string using a little lever in the keybox.
Tuning a melody string
Tune the respective peg on the head to the D note. You can do this by ear or by using a free online chromatic (guitar) tuner app.
Do note it is our recommendation because it fits the Hurdy-Gurdy’s sound the best.
Tuning a bourdon string
Tuning the respective peg in unison to the melody string (D note in our example) or in any melodic interval (quart, quint, octave).
Again you can do this by ear or by using a free online chromatic (guitar) tuner app
Waxing the wheel
Wax the wheel with a piece of rosin from the kit to improve the sound and you are ready to play Hurdy-Gurdy.
Just build it together with your own hands and feel like Stradivari or a popular Hurdy-Gurdy star!
Ugears Hurdy-Gurdy Construction
Ugears Hurdy-Gurdy has a unique design and a lot of technical elements and details that turns the assembly and playing process into an exciting game and brings you hours of pleasure and fun.
The Ugears Hurdy-Gurdy’s tuning pegs have a gear reduction mechanism for finer sound tuning of the melody and bourdon strings. For a more clear sound you can switch off the bourdon string using a little lever in the keybox. Also we added the gear reduction mechanism into the crank (handle) to increase the number of wheel’s rotations. This allowed us to get a smoother and richer sound and preserve the compact size of the model itself.
6 keys are spring-loaded with rubber bands and little cranks in the keybox to ensure softer and more convenient play. Also the Ugears Hurdy-Gurdy has a special mechanism to adjust the height of both strings (melody and bourdon string) on the bridge and the beautiful planetary gears mechanism inside the body.
The length of the melody and the bourdon string is 250 mm (from bridge to the head’s threshold). The length of the strings between the middle of the wheel to the bridge is 30 mm.
The model has a melody string for playing melodies and a bourdon string for a background sound. 6 keys correspond to 6 notes that are played by pushing the key while rotating the crank. The released keys provide one more, seventh, note. The second (bourdon) string is tuned by tuning the peg in unison to the melody string or in any melodic interval (quart, quint, octave). The construction kit includes pieces of rosin to wax the wheel and improve the sound.
The Ugears Hurdy-Gurdy is a mechanical musical instrument. To play it – just turn the crank with one hand and push the keys with the other. You’ll find the tablature of the tunes from the Hurdy-Gurdy Campaign in the assembly instructions for the model.
This will help you to get the rhythm of playing and to create the melodies you love.
The Ugears Hurdy-Gurdy brings the unforgettable time of working together on things that are popular among people of any age. Just put it together and you are ready to throw an original party giving a new spur to whatever music you like – whether it is folk or modern – playing your new unique Hurdy-Gurdy.
This was a Christmas present for my husband, which he’d requested. It arrived very quickly after I’d ordered it and your communication regarding dispatch, delivery etc was excellent. As soon as was possible after Christmas he set about building it - and I didn’t see him for some time!! He used quick drying wood dye to accent some of the features and made a lovely job of it (it’s not over-done) so it took a little longer to build - 6-8 hours in all. He is delighted with his hurdy-gurdy and full of praise for the kit.