What is the Nerdy Gurdy?
One of the biggest roadblocks for many future hurdy-gurdy players getting into the instrument, is finding an instrument while being on a budget. Many cheap instruments (such as on etsy) are not properly built to learn correctly on. You can find a list of these improper models on this GurdyBlog and Sergio González’s Blog. Many look to the nerdy-gurdy as a cheap, budget option for starting on the instrument. This brings the question:
Is the Nerdy Gurdy a real instrument?
The answer is YES. The Nerdy Gurdy is the only recommendable kit for the hurdy-gurdy at this time. The uGears kit and Harpkit Musicmakers kit are not properly functioning instruments and should be avoided if you would like to learn how to play the instrument properly.
Since its official launch in 2017, the Nerdy Gurdy has been a revolution in the community. A properly functioning, budget hurdy-gurdy that allows new players to get into the hobby for only a few hundred euro/usd. Created by Jaap Brand in The Netherlands, the Nerdy Gurdy project has become the cheapest way to learn to play the hurdy-gurdy.
Quote from nerdygurdy.nl:
A few years ago I took up the idea of building my own Hurdy Gurdy. Now I’m not much of a craftsman, so that might be a disadvantage. I am, however, a highly experienced mechanical engineer. My normal field is designing equipment for the high-tech industry, with customers around Europe, Japan and Silicon Valley in the US.
So I thought: why not use the tools of the trade, and create a Hurdy Gurdy using modern rapid prototyping technology: Laser Cutting and 3D printing? Would it be possible to create an instrument that is inexpensive to build, and still sounds well?
I’ve worked on it for 4 years before releasing it into the wild. I’ve named it the Nerdy Gurdy, because it’s high-tech and a bit quirky. Since it’s inception a number of traditional builders, and some of the best hurdy gurdy players in Europe have tested it and helped to improve it.
The design is unconventional: it was designed from scratch to be able to build a Hurdy Gurdy with an acceptable sound, for a very good price. Therefor the construction method is in many ways different from traditional instruments. It does however sound quite good, and it is very playable.
My wife Fay has taken up the challenge of shipping kits and instruments around the world. I build instruments when I have time, and work on further Nerdy Gurdy improvements (next to my regular job as Mechatronic System Architect).
Should I get the kit or a pre-built?
Currently there are 3 formats available to obtain a Nerdy Gurdy, and they all have upsides and downsides. Click on each of them below for more information.
Which model do I buy?
There are currently 3 models available, not all of them are available in all formats. All 3 models come standard tuned in G/C and allow playing in the key of G and C, either through multiple drone/trompette strings or through capos. Click below for information about each of them.
Nerdy Gurdy v6.3 sound samples
Low G Chanterelle
High G Chanterelle
Nerdy Gurdy Basic sound samples
The NG Basic (and also the new Linotte model) have superior acoustics and sound quality, they are also lowder than the v6.3 model.
Low G Chanterelle
High G Chanterelle
Where do I get a Nerdy Gurdy?
Currently there are 3 websites to get a Nerdy Gurdy, depending on which model in what format you are looking for.
1. NerdyGurdy.nl sells multiple kits and pre-built instruments shipped from The Netherlands.
- NG Basic 4-string pre-built – €700 (White or Black colored)
- NG Basic 4-string kit – €320
- NG Linotte pre-built – €800 (Red)
- NG Linotte kit – €340
All products sell out fast once released – release schedule:
Kits – Sunday around evenings CET
Pre-built – 1st of the month @ noon CET
2. littlebitsofinteresting.com sells the Linotte kit, shipped from the USA.
- NG Linotte Wood & 3D Printed Parts – $320
- Hardware (bearings, screws, nuts, etc) will have to be purchased separately – the owner will help you source them as needed. They also have a nice FAQ with information on hardware.
Keep in mind that littlebitsofinteresting will ship you an un-assembled wheel. If you order directly from NerdyGurdy, the wheel halves come glued together with veneer already applied – here is a video showing the process for applying your own veneer. Both wheels will have to be trued regardless of where you purchase it from.
Kits from here are done through a waitlist system – no scouting for available products, but could be a bit of a wait before yours is ready.
3. Jaap Brand’s Thingiverse for anyone that wants to print their own wood/3d printed parts. Hardware will have to be sourced independently. Completely free plans!
- Nerdy Gurdy Basic 3-string
- Nerdy Gurdy v6.3
- Older Nerdy Gurdy models (v6.1, v6, and v5)
Just like the above – you will have to build your own wheel and apply veneer – here is a video showing the process for applying veneer.
How difficult are the kits to assemble?
The Nerdy Gurdy kits aren’t terribly difficult to build yourself, even without woodworking skills many have successfully assembled kits. It does require some basic tools such as screwdrivers, wrenches, hex keys, clamps, sand paper, sharp razor blades, and a few other basic things. The majority of the project is gluing and clamping.
The community is extremely helpful if you get stuck on anything. If you have specific questions, use the search bar or ask a question in the Nerdy Gurdy Builders Community on Facebook.
If you want to see how the construction works – view the assembly manuals below:
- Nerdy Gurdy v6.3 assembly manual – here
- Nerdy Gurdy Basic assembly manual – here
- Nerdy Gurdy Linotte assembly manual – here
You can view a full build start to finish by the youtuber The Gentle Flamingo. Here she builds a v6 Nerdy Gurdy kit.
The hardest part of the build is the wheel – it is the most important part of the instrument, and requires a lot of patience and precision. Jimi Hellinga (aka Elektrovolt) has a great video on youtube about this process.
If you don’t think you are up to the task – stick with the pre-built model. There is nothing wrong with that!
Nerdy Gurdy History
Jaap spend around 4 years researching and designing the Nerdy Gurdy before finally putting the v5 model up for sale. Since then there have been ongoing changes to improve the build since launch in late 2017.
V5 – accepting orders November 25, 2017 – first times selling, kits + pre-built, 4 strings
-Pre-built instruments: €600
-kit instruments: €300
-plans available for free as of December 26, 2017
V6 – accepting orders December 24, 2018 – sells kits + prebuilt, 6 strings
-continues to sell V5 kit + pre-built as well
-Pre-built instruments: €700
-Kit instruments: €350
-plans available for free as of April 28, 2019
V6.1 – available plans on December 27, 2020
V6.3 – available plans on April 26, 2022
-kits discontinued from Nerdy Gurdy website as of June 2023, expected to come back later
NG-B – pre-built instruments sold starting Jan 1, 2022
NG-B – available plans on Jan 07, 2023
NG Lincotte – teased on May 22, 2023 – kit sales started June 2023
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