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Nyckelharpa # 6



My Nyckelharpas are based on a design by
Soren Ahker from Sweden.
Both # 5 and # 6 are 3/4 size.

Nyckelharpa # 6 is basically the same as # 5
but with a few differences: 



Ebony Cello pegs.
(They are tilted at an angle so there is
no need for a brass eye hook to keep the strings from
slipping off the end of the peg)


The tangents are made of Oak dowels
(stained black) without brass screws.


This one is a little lighter in weight than # 5.
(Not much, but you can feel the difference) 


The under strings are attached directly to the tail piece. (More traditional design)  










It looks like there's a crack running through the middle of the tailpiece, but that's just the pattern in the wood. 






























The case is made of Plywood for the top and back
and carved Pine 2x4's for the sides.

Two nice Violin bows included too.


The inside is padded with foam and covered with blue felt.

Brass hinges, latches, and handle. The bows are held in place with a piece of leather and a bent padded piece of brass.



There's not much room for the storage compartment, due to the placement of the thumb rest. But it will hold extra strings and the box of rosin fits snugly into the open compartment on the right.




The bottom has 6 rubber legs so you can lean it upright too without scratching the table or floor.



Nyckelharpa # 6 has a few minor scratches and scuff marks, so I'm selling it as used for

$3200
(Case and bows included)

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Nyckelharpa # 5.

 

It is very similar to # 4 but with a few changes:
It's a 4 row Harpa!
There are 5 fewer high notes but 7 extra bass notes.







This time I went back to experimenting with a design from my first 2 Harpas: Brass rods connect from the end of each key and run thru a hole on the key box. This is an attempt to keep the cost down by saving time and also you can see which note your playing when the little brass end pops out. (Almost like a tiny light flashing to help you see where you are)


And instead of running the under strings through the tailpiece, these are attached directly to the end block. This was an attempt to relieve pressure on the tailpiece, and of course, save time on the construction. 












The top 4 strings are Viola strings, and tuned: ADGC.


  There are 10 under strings, 6 on the right and 4 on the left, and consist of various sizes of Guitar strings.

The under-strings are tuned  AAA-DDD-GG-CC.






This one used to have 4 Five-Star brand Banjo tuners, but I recently replaced those with Ebony Cello pegs.


I've modified the thumb rest too.
This one is a little more solid and durable then the one on # 4. 


Made of 2 pieces of Ebony and Maple. The Ebony is glued onto a piece of Maple which is then screwed onto the edge of the neck.
(Easily removable if you don't like it) 






 






The case is made of Plywood for the top and back
and carved Pine 2x4's for the sides.




The inside is padded with foam and covered with blue felt.

Brass hinges, latches, and handle. The bows are held in place with a piece of leather and a bent padded piece of brass.





There's not much room for the storage compartment, due to the placement of the thumb rest. But it will hold extra strings and the box of rosin fits snugly into the open compartment on the right.



The bottom has 6 rubber legs so you can lean it upright too without scratching the table or floor.



Nyckelharpa # 5 is now available and for sale for

$3400

(Case and bows included)

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Because I've used various tropical hardwoods on my Nyckelharpas, they weigh a little bit more than traditional Swedish Harpas.
# 6 weighs: 5 pounds, 9 ounces.

This may not seem like much, but it's something you might want to consider if you're going to play it standing up for extended periods of time. Some people will notice a difference, others will not.
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I am no longer sending Nyckelharpa's through the mail. I've had some bad luck lately so these will now only be available for sale right here at the shop.

______________________________________

I've also decided I won't be building any more Nyckelharpa's.

After these two are gone... that's it!

No more for sale.


_____________________________________________


Here's a video of # 5. I made this a few months ago, and always meant to go back and make a better one, but just haven't got to it yet.

So for now this will have to do:



 

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The Nyckelharpa (or "Keyed Fiddle") is the national folk instrument of Sweden.
I made my first Nyckelharpa in 1999 thanks to a grant from the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council.


 The design is based on the blueprints from the book I bought from Soren Ahker. I eagerly awaited the arrival of the original 1998 copy and was somewhat surprised (?) that the text was printed in Swedish! A bit of a barrier that for some reason I either didn't think about at the time or simply knew that the numbers, measurements and dimensions would be the same...   which thankfully they were. 
(A few years later, this fine instruction manual was printed in English but I have Yet to see a copy of it!)

  Anyway...This is how it turned out. I was quite pleasantly surprised that it turned out as well as it did. For at the time, I had never seen one in person and certainly had Never played one before.

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My next project was to build a

Moraharpa.

This is the old medieval form (or ancient ancestor) of the modern day Nyckelharpa. There is a stone carving on a church in Gotland, Sweden.

Below is an excerpt taken from the American Nyckelharpa Association web-site:


The oldest "evidence" of nyckelharpa use is a relief (left picture) on one of the gates to Kallunge church on Gotland from about 1350 depicting two nyckelharpa players.



I built this one from photographs off the internet. Its a very simple design and also has a very limited playing range.
(It must have been more of an accompaniment to some sad, droning vocal lament...so common in Medieval Scandinavia)


It turned out real nice, too but it was like driving in only one gear. A friend of mine, who is part of a local Medieval reenactment group, bought this one.  
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My next attempt was to build a "Fiddleharpa". The standard size Nyckelharpa is tuned like a Viola and I wanted something that could be tuned and played like a Violin.
 I experimented a little with the design, as this one has a carved arched top and back. I have found that this didn't necessarily add to the sound of the instrument, as the first one I made (with a flat top and back) actually sounded better! I also added in a 4th row of keys for the 'G' string. (This was apparently nearly un-heard of at the time, as I recall very few builders had tried this) Times have changed though and it is now quite common to see several different varieties and experimentation going on with the making of these instruments.  


This Fiddleharpa is no longer for sale.
An issue had developed recently with the Fiddleharpa. The D and G strings were not behaving very well. I couldn't seem to get a good, clear note when the little tangents hit each string, and instead, an awful buzzing sound was produced! I thought it must be from the fact that the scale length is so short.
However...I finally realized that the posts of the tangents were too tall and flimsy, so I went in and reinforced each one and now it all seems to be working fairly well. (I have some more testing to do on it yet. Still a slight buzz, but if you just apply a tiny bit more pressure you get a good clear note)




So... For now... I've decided to keep this one for myself. I've had it for years now and it has spent way too much of that time enclosed in its case on a shelf! I only fairly recently dug these Harpas out of storage and tuned them up and have become totally "hooked" on playing them again. I'm still planning on building More of these wonderful instruments some time. Just don't know when. It sounds like there are still way too few builders here in this country and I'm hoping I can "help out with that" a little!  If you are still interested...let me know.

The next Fiddleharpa will be very similar to the one here down below. The top and back will be flat though, and not carved into an arch.

Made of highly figured Maple for the back, neck and keys. Walnut for the sides, tailpiece, peg box and top lid.
 
 



 


The soundboard is made of Western Cedar and is adorned with an intricate grapevine design in soft lead pencil.


I'm afraid this is as good as it gets for photo quality. Having a little trouble with pixilation when down sizing the pics.

The keys are rounded to make it easier to slide up and down the scale. The lid is a non-traditional addition that can easily be removed if it gets in the way of seeing the moving keys.

Each key is attached to the left side peg box by little brass rods that are easily visible when you press in a key. This makes it easier to see where you are with the lid down.

The 'E' string tangents are made of pieces of oblong aluminum rods (actually model airplane parts) It was an experiment that worked. The rest are pieces of Cherry wood.



4 Ebony tuners for the main strings and a set of Gotoh Mandolin tuners for the under strings. (I added in a piece of tree branch as a thumb rest) Scale length, from nut to bridge, is 14 inches.
(About the same scale length as a Mandolin)
  



The case is made of Pine and Plywood and is padded with foam and lined with felt.
There is a small storage compartment with a lid. A half-size Violin bow an a leather strap is included. 

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                   Used Violins  for Sale: 

I have a half size Viola
and a nice full size Violin available.

Pics and prices coming.


      

 
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