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Thread: Latest Harpsichords

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Chocowinity, North Carolina
    Posts
    243

    Latest Harpsichords

    Hi all,

    Thought I would post some pictures of harpsichords I've built in 2019.

    The first is an instrument of my own design. It is meant for people who have no need for an instrument with all the bells and whistles. It is only 5' long and has 49 notes with a single string per note, along with a buff stop (a device that makes the instrument sound more like a guitar or lute). It's the first instrument I've made with screw-on legs and is much more stable than I thought it would be. It has a simple, two color paint scheme done with oil based paint from Old Village Paint Co. This is, by far, the best paint I have ever used. Although a bit pricier that some others, it goes on smooth and covers beautifully with a single coat over primed wood. It dries relatively quickly and sands to a powder beautifully. I have no relationship to this company other than being a very satisfied customer. Unfortunately, I don't have any sound files for it...yet!

    20191021_193719.jpg

    20191005_140220.jpg

    The second instrument is a Flemish single manual based on the 1640 harpsichord by Andreas Ruckers. It is 6' long and has 58 notes with two strings per note (one 8' string and one 4' string), and a buff stop. It sits on a turned 7 leg stand of Sapele. The Oriental design, painted by my wife Sandy, has proven to be quite popular in the past several years.

    IMG_4411.jpg

    harp.jpg

    Fortunately, the kind folks at the Harpsichord Clearing House decided to make a video (with sound) for their website. If you'd like to hear this instrument, here's a link to that YouTube video .

    Thanks for looking.
    Ernie
    "A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths."
    -Steven Wright.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    464
    Nice work Ernie

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    NW Indiana
    Posts
    2,400
    Amazing work and sound

  4. #4
    Nice chinoiserie!

    How did you work the expansion of the 1640s A Ruckers from 45/51notes to 58?

  5. #5
    Thanks for letting us see. It's beautiful stuff! I have a friend who used to lead a " baroque trio" that had a harpsichord.
    I've helped put it in the station wagon many times.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Chocowinity, North Carolina
    Posts
    243
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Seemann View Post
    Nice chinoiserie!

    How did you work the expansion of the 1640s A Ruckers from 45/51notes to 58?
    Andrew - the commercially available plans for this instrument have the layout for the original 45 note compass and the expanded 51 note version. Using CAD software, I expanded the width of the case by about 3 1/2" and increased the length to 78". I then expanded the original scaling (the 51 note version) by two
    notes in the treble and 5 notes in the bass, making the new compass GG - e'''. I did this quite a few years ago and I'm uncertain as to what else I may have done to the 51 note version in my enlargement of this instrument. I have built quite a few of both the 51 and 58 note versions. The bass in the smaller version is very strong - almost too strong. In the larger instrument, the sound is more consistent throughout its range.
    "A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths."
    -Steven Wright.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    NW Indiana
    Posts
    688
    Beautiful Ernie. You and your wife do amazing work. Thanks for posting.
    If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Ernie Miller View Post
    Andrew - the commercially available plans for this instrument have the layout for the original 45 note compass and the expanded 51 note version. Using CAD software, I expanded the width of the case by about 3 1/2" and increased the length to 78". I then expanded the original scaling (the 51 note version) by twonotes in the treble and 5 notes in the bass, making the new compass GG - e'''. I did this quite a few years ago and I'm uncertain as to what else I may have done to the 51 note version in my enlargement of this instrument. I have built quite a few of both the 51 and 58 note versions. The bass in the smaller version is very strong - almost too strong. In the larger instrument, the sound is more consistent throughout its range.
    Thanks! I have the RK Lee plan from Hubbard, and I have been musing on how to expand the compass. Although first I need to get my Keene and Brackley spinet done, since I have been working on it for longer than I care to admit. I figured I'd do at least C to d''' like on the plan since I'm not a fan of the short octave. GG to e''' sounds more useful than either 45 or 51 though. Dropping the low GG# and high d#''' like the spinet might be an option with the GG - e'''.
    Last edited by Andrew Seemann; 12-29-2019 at 10:46 PM.

  9. #9
    I dont mean to be crude, but after watching the video of the second instrument I couldnt help but wonder how much something like this costs. Well, it is listed on the Harpsicord Clearinghouse website as item #4238, for sale at $13,900. Looking at the workmanship and listening to the way it plays, I can easily see why.

    Ernie, I can only aspire to such beautiful work - I am unlikely to achieve it. I'm in awe.

    Fred
    Last edited by Frederick Skelly; 12-29-2019 at 11:46 PM. Reason: Typos
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

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