How to Make a Hurdy Gurdy

You may be wondering What is a hurdy gurdy? A hurdy gurdy is a stringed instrument you play by cranking a handle. It has a unique sound and can be quite addictive to play! In this article, we’ll discuss how to make a hurdy gurdy. It’s not as difficult as you might think, and with a little patience, you’ll be able to create your hurdy-gurdy in no time! So without further ado, let’s get started.

How to Make a Hurdy Gurdy

Many of us are familiar with the look of a hurdy-gurdy, but not everyone knows how they work. The short answer is: you play them by turning a handle which causes the strings to vibrate. There are various techniques you can use to produce different sounds and rhythms, and we’ll go over some of those later on. We all know that strings’ vibration produces the sound of a hurdy-gurdy.

Summary: Making a hurdy gurdy is not as difficult as you might think. All you need are some wood, a cord, and some nails. First, cut the wood into the right shape. You’ll want it to be about twice as long as it is wide, and about 1/3 of the way down from the top. Then, use the cord to make a loop. Nail the ends of the cord together so that it forms a circle. Finally, place the wood on top of the cord loop, and nailing it in place, play the music!

What Is a Hurdy Gurdy?

The hurdy gurdy is a stringed instrument that produces sound by turning a crank-operated rosined wheel. The player presses keys on the keyboard to change the pitch of the strings while simultaneously turning the crank. This combination of actions creates a continuous drone, against which the player can play melodies and/or harmonies.

The hurdy-gurdy has a long history, dating back to the 11th century. It is believed to have originated in Eastern Europe or the Middle East and was later adopted by musicians in Western Europe. The instrument gained popularity in France during the Renaissance and was particularly popular among street musicians and troubadours. In recent years, the hurdy-gurdy has experienced a revival, with a growing number of musicians taking up the instrument.

If you’re interested in learning how to play the hurdy-gurdy or want to build your own, this guide will show you how.

What are Hurdy Gurdys Components?

A Hurdy Gurdy typically contains three main components: the soundboard, the strings, and the crank.

The Soundboard:

The soundboard is the resonating chamber of the instrument, and it amplifies the string vibrations. It is usually made out of a solid piece of wood like spruce or fir.

The Strings:

The strings are the vibrating element that produces the sound. They are usually made of gut or nylon and are stretched over the soundboard.

The Crank:

The crank rotates a rosined wheel that runs along the strings. This produces a buzzing sound called “drone” which forms the background for the melody played on the other strings.

Things You’ll Need

  • A large, clean work surface
  • A saw ( hand saw or power saw)
  • A drill
  • 1/2 inch dowel rods
  • Tape measure
  • Plywood
  • Sandpaper
  • Stain or paint (optional)

A Step by Step Guide on How to Make a Hurdy Gurdy

Step 1: Determine the Size of Hurdy Gurdy You Need

To figure out how big to make your hurdy-gurdy, first, you need to determine how many musicians will be playing it at once. For example, if you plan on playing the hurdy-gurdy by yourself, you’ll need a smaller one than if you have an entire band.

Musicians Will Be Playing Hurdy Gurdy

Step 2: Choosing the Right Wood

The next step is to choose the suitable wood for your instrument. The wood you’ll need depends on the size of hurdy-gurdy you’re making. For a small hurdy-gurdy, you can use plywood. But if you’re making a large one, you’ll need to use a stronger wood, such as oak or maple.

Step 3: Make the Body of the Hurdy Gurdy

The body of the hurdy-gurdy is where all of the sounds are produced. The strings are attached to the body, and the crank is turned, vibrating the strings and making the sound. The body also has a soundboard, which amplifies the sound.

There are two main types of hurdy gurdies: flat-backed and bowl-backed. Flat-backed hurdy gurdies are easier to build, so that we will focus on that type in this instructable.

You will need:

  • A piece of plywood (preferably birch) for the back
  • A piece of plywood (preferably spruce) for the top
  • A strip of wood for the rim
  • A block of wood for the base
  • A dowel for the handle
  • Strings
  • Tuning pegs
  • A crank

First, cut out the two pieces of plywood for the top and bottom. The top should be slightly smaller than the bottom so it can fit inside the rim.

Next, glue the strip of wood around the edge of the bottom piece of plywood. This will be the rim of the hurdy gurdy.

Now, glue the top piece of plywood to the rim. Ensure that the top is flush with the rim all the way around.

A Strip of Wood For the Rim

Cut a hole in the center of the top piece of plywood for the dowel handle. The hole should be big enough so that the dowel can rotate freely.

Attach the block of wood to the bottom of the hurdy gurdy body. This will be the base. Your hurdy-gurdy body is now complete!

Step 4: Making the Soundboard and Keyboard

The soundboard is the part of the hurdy-gurdy that amplifies the sound. It’s usually made out of softwood, such as spruce.

You will Need:

  • A piece of spruce plywood for the soundboard
  • A block of wood for the keyboard support
  • Tuning pegs
  • Strings

Cut a hole in the center of the plywood for the dowel handle. The hole should be big enough so that the dowel can rotate freely.

Now, glue the block of wood to the underside of the soundboard. This will be the keyboard support.

Drill holes into the keyboard support for the tuning pegs. The holes should be spaced evenly apart and sized so that the tuning pegs can be inserted snugly.

Step 5: Make the Melody Strings

Now that you have completed the basic structure of your hurdy-gurdy, it’s time to add the melody strings. These strings will produce the main tune played on the instrument.

The Basic Structure Of Hurdy-gurdy

First, determine how many melody strings you want. The most common number is four, but some instruments have as many as six or more. Once you’ve decided on the number of strings, cut them to length from your chosen material. For this example, we’ll be using piano wire.

Next, file down the ends of each string until they’re nice and smooth. This will help prevent them from snagging on the other parts of the instrument as they’re played.

Once the ends are filed, it’s time to tune the strings. Pluck each string in turn and adjust the tuning peg until it produces the correct note. Note which peg corresponds to which string, as you’ll need to know this when playing the hurdy-gurdy.

Now that the strings are tuned, it’s time to attach them to the instrument. Start by threading each string through the appropriate hole in the front plate.

Step 6: Make the Drone Strings

The drone strings are the most straightforward part of the hurdy gurdy. They are lengths of gut or nylon, stretched tight and tuned to a note. The traditional method is to tie one end of the string to a tuning peg and the other end to the bridge.

For our purposes, we will be using a different method. We will be attaching both ends of the string to tuning pegs so that the string can be tightened or loosened without adjusting the bridge. This is a more modern method and is much easier to use.

Start by stretching your string tight between your two tuning pegs. Make sure it is in line with the other strings and at the correct tension.

Once the string is tight, use a small amount of super glue to secure the string to the tuning peg. Be careful not to get any glue on the rest of the instrument. Repeat this process for the other end of the string.

Once both ends of the string are glued, tune it to the correct note. You can now pluck or bow this string, and it will produce a constant drone tone.

Strings Are the Straightforward Part of Hurdy Gurdy

Step 7: Assembling All the Parts Together

Now that all the parts of your hurdy-gurdy are complete, it’s time to put them together.

Start by attaching the wheel assembly to the front of the instrument body. Ensure that the axle is centered in the hole and that the wheel can spin freely.

Next, attach the soundboard to the top of the instrument body. Again, ensure that everything is lined up correctly and that there is no gap between the two pieces.

Now, take your bridge and place it across all the strings. The bridge is what allows the strings to vibrate freely and produces a much louder sound than if they were tied down.

Finally, thread your drone string through the small hole in the back of the instrument body. This will keep it in place while you’re playing.

And that’s it! Your hurdy gurdy is now complete. You can now start playing your favorite tunes on this unique and exciting instrument.

What Notes Can Ugears Hurdy-gurdy Play?

UGears Hurdy-Gurdy can play many different notes. This means it can play lots of music. It is like a keyboard, and each note is like pressing a key. You can make low notes and high notes, fast notes, and slow notes. It is fun to explore with the music you can make.

To play a note on the Hurdy-Gurdy, you start by turning the crank handle. This will cause the strings to vibrate, which produces the sound. You can change the pitch of the sound by pressing down on one of its keys.

Each key will produce a different note. To change the sound even more, you can use the tuning pegs to adjust the tension of each string. When all strings are tuned correctly, you can create beautiful music.

What is Used to Sound the Strings on a Hurdy-gurdy?

A hurdy-gurdy is a musical instrument that uses strings to make music. The strings are sounded using a wheel that is turned by hand. This wheel has small spikes on it that pluck the strings, making a sound similar to that of a violin.

The traditional hurdy-gurdy is made up of several wooden components, such as the body, neck, and wheel. The body consists of two pieces – the head block and the tail block. The strings run from the head block to the tail block, stretching over a bridge in between them. The bridge is adjustable, allowing the player to adjust the tension of the strings.


If you’re looking for an exciting and unique instrument to add to your arsenal, the hurdy-gurdy may be just what you’re looking for. This ancient instrument has a rich history and can be fun to play. With a little practice, you’ll be able to make beautiful music on this intriguing instrument. We hope you find this article on how to make a hurdy gurdy helpful.

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian has been interested in woodworking since he was a child. His father had a woodworking shop, and Adrian would help him out and learn from him. He gained basic carpentry knowledge as well as an understanding of how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others. So he started this blog to spread his passion and knowledge to those interested in DIY wood-working projects. He knows that with a little guidance and practice, anyone can create beautiful pieces of furniture or décor from scratch.

Leave a Comment