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Thread: I really want to build a harpsichord or virginal-any tips?

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    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    Default I really want to build a harpsichord or virginal-any tips?

    I hope this isn't the second thread I've made like this. For a good 6 years now, I've had a desire to build a historical keyboard instrument, and I'm really wanting to start now. For a while I worked a little with a harpsichord maker, but didn't get very far with pursuing my own goals. I have very little experience with wood work and craft, much less fine wood work, but I am extremely eager to learn about it for these purposes. I do not want to build anything from a kit, I want to use plans and I'm most interested in Muselar virginals, but am willing to be persuaded to do a more basic Italian harpsichord if they should prove too difficult for a first instrument.

    Does anyone here have any advice on how to get started? I thought I might want to contact a builder, perhaps someone with experience of the particular instrument or instrument type I want to make, and ask for advice. Perhaps they could set me up with a plan and offer some advice on local resources and any other things that might help me.

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    Senior Member ptr's Avatar
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    How much wood working skills do You have? I think You need a fair amount to build from scratch! (Not least a good set up if tools and WW machinery) .. But then, not having any skills in this department should never deter You, skills can be learnt, but some might take a little bit longer to master if You start from status quo!

    Most of my info stems from the early days of internet, there used a mailing list for pro and amateur keyboard builders that I was on, but 20 lost e-mail adresses down the line it I couldn't find it... I'm sure it is still out there!

    A firm like Hubbard Harpsichords have been in the business of Harpsichords and Harpsichord Kits for a long time, they might be a first place to look, Getting Frank Hubbards "Three Centuries of Harpsichord Making" might be a good start as well (from about $15 second handed on ABE.com), also Howard Schott (ed) "The Historical Harpsichord, Volume I" ($20 on ABE.com) may also be interesting to read before deciding on going further!

    This site also seem quite instructive!.. I positive that there must be other businesses that sell good kits out there

    Myself, I never went beyond building Clavichords myself, and I've got quite a high level wood working skills! (But I've been dreaming about building a grand piano for ever it seems and I'm still dreaming! )

    /ptr
    Je suis Charlie ~ I am a certified OrgaNut! (F.—I.W.)

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    Hi clavichorder and ptr,

    I don't believe it !!! There are people in America who really know and do build a harpsichord/clavichord ! I think this is a kind of stereotype/prejudice against Americans on my side. I have been to the USA three times (but more than twenty years ago) and I know, that a lot of Americans cherich and practice old handicraft-"disciplines". But I never thought that harpsichord-building would be among them. I congratulate you ! I wonder if there are more than a couple (less then 10 ???) harpsichord-producers here in Germany. But I really don't know.

    How do you obtain the materials and the working-equipment you need for harpsichord-manufacturing?
    have a nice day !
    Animato

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    Sr. Moderator Taggart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Animato View Post
    Hi clavichorder and ptr,

    snip


    I wonder if there are more than a couple (less then 10 ???) harpsichord-producers here in Germany. But I really don't know.

    How do you obtain the materials and the working-equipment you need for harpsichord-manufacturing?
    have a nice day !
    Animato
    Nah, that's Austria! Have a look here for a list of harpsichord makers in Germany - at least the on line ones.
    Music begins where words leave off. Music expresses the inexpressible.

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