Finding the right hurdy-gurdy is difficult. Hurdy-gurdies are complex and easy to build incorrectly. Bad instruments can hinder your progress or turn you off the instrument completely. Here we will go over the instruments to avoid during your search for your first instrument.
Many of the instruments on this list are fun toys to show off and can create melodies, but if you wish to advance your skills past an extremely basic level – these should be avoided at all costs. They range in price anywhere from €400 to €5000, so a higher price tag isn’t always a guarantee that something is a quality instrument. A cheap hurdy-gurdy also isn’t automatically bad (such as the Nerdy Gurdy). These are simply instruments that have been found to be unsuitable for learning by experts and professionals. They usually involve poor construction, missing features (such as the trompette), bad materials, and extreme difficulty with setup and adjustment.
You may hear the term “hurdy-gurdy shaped object”, or HGSO thrown around in the community. This is a term for an instrument of poor build quality, considered unsuitable for learning on. While this term is inaccurate, as a poor quality hurdy-gurdy is still a hurdy-gurdy, the spirit of the term is to avoid instruments with this label.
Many are sold from Etsy and Ebay – if you have purchased one of these, they usually have a good return policy in order to avoid bad reviews. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for a return!
Finally, if you are looking for a hurdy-gurdy on a budget, check out this article.
Here is a list of known instruments to be avoided:
- uGears Hurdy Gurdy model by uGears
- Galloping Gurdies on Etsy
- Fairygurdies by Galdrshop on Etsy
- Workshop Medieval on Etsy
- Gateway Gurdy from Kickstarter
- Chinese Song Gurdy on Ebay
- Musicmaker kit from Harpkit
- Vrabel Hurdy Gurdy on “Early Music Shop”
- Anything on “Lark in the Morning”
- Altarwind by George and Anwyn Leverett
- ELZ Gurdy by Eduardo Luz
A US maker named “Altarwind” nearly falls into this category. These instruments are not recommended as they range from broken and unplayable to just overpriced. Read more about these in our “Gurdy Makers in the US and Canada” article.
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