Building Nyckelharpas

Earl is willing to teach a class if there is enough interest. See the Builder Workshop page under Activities for more information.

Earl started building nyckelharpas with a kit from Sören Åhker. We have copies of Sören's instruction book in stock. This book is in English and includes full-size plan sheets for a standard full-size and a child- (or small adult) sized nyckelharpa. The full size has a mensur length (nut to bridge) of 400 mm while the smaller plan has a 340 mm mensur length. The plans are metric (in millimeters).

Sören also sells “kits”. Please be aware that his nyckelharpa kit consists of rectangular wooden blocks of appropriate sizes that make the various parts of the instrument. These kits are very rough by American musical instrument kit standards.

There is a DVD available that follows Sören as he builds an instrument. The DVD was made by Rita Leydon and is available through her web site.

The other source for plans is Björn Björn. He sells basic plan sheets. These contain no detailed building instructions like what Sören provides, just the scale drawings. Once you are comfortable building nyckelharpas, these plan sheets are enough to go by.

If you think you are interested in building a Nyckelharpa, we recommend that you obtain a copy of the Sören book/plans and the DVD from Rita.  After you have reviewed it please contact Earl about any parts you might need.  He can put together a full kit, but you can probably get most of the wood you need for an initial instrument locally.

If you are building a nyckelharpa and have questions, please feel free to contact Earl.  He is willing to provide distance assistance to help you get your nyckelharpa done. It doesn't matter if your instrument materials came from us or not.

We have the following supplies in stock:
•tops
•backs
•strings
•6 in-line guitar tuners
•bridge blanks
•cello fine tuners, both full- and 3/4-size

Most of the rest of the materials should be easily obtainable in the U.S.
Contact Earl for more information and prices.

A note on tuning: In Sören's book, he recommends tuning the sympathetic strings for an advanced player. We recommend that you tune them chromatically, starting on G for the lowest sympathetic string and going up to the F sharp on the highest string.

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(This page last updated 2/03/2018)