Jay Scott Guitar

Private guitar and bass lessons, jam camps, guitar building and repairs in West Chester, PA

Building a Hurdy-Gurdy Kit!

This is a very cool working mechanical model of a hurdy-gurdy that my wife gave me for Christmas, built from a kit offered by a Ukrainian company called UGears. All the parts are laser-cut on sheets of plywood. They snap together without glue, and with only a simple tool or two. There’s a picture guide to follow, and the first step is to build the hammer shown in the third photo. It is used to fit parts together, as well as giving you a taste of how the instrument is meant to be assembled.

As the pictures show, there are a few sub-assemblies to complete. The design has dozens of parts, and the laser was used for decoration, as well as to cut the parts out of the boards. Gears are lubricated with beeswax. Certain parts come with extras, which is a good thing; the parts aren’t too difficult to punch out from the boards, but a couple of little widgets split when I removed them, and I was glad to have the spares. The kit designers have obviously seen this happen before, so there’s no need to worry.

I had a lot of fun building the kit, and went at it for several hours on Christmas day, getting it nearly complete. I guess the process pushed some of the same buttons as assembling my guitars does. I really like to put things together and get them working, and this kit is so cleverly designed and executed that it was a real pleasure to see how it would all come together. When it’s done and tuned (which takes a little experimenting), you can play it! Check out a video from the company, here:

I’m not that good yet, but I’ll get there!