Beginner hurdy gurdy instruments are hard to get, a lot of people send me emails, beeing very lost on which hurdy gurdy model to get or which maker to aproach, so here’s 5 hurdy gurdy models for beginners to buy in 2023 if you are on a budget direct recomendation from your hurdy gurdy teacher and no matter what they tell you forget about hurdy gurdy amazon.
1. Sedo García – Sirena Model
Sedo is one of my go to luthiers, he really knows his craft as he is building hurdy gurdies for more than 40 years, a couple of years ago, he started making this very complete student model, called Sirena “Mermaid”, it’s all solid wood, no plywood.
The default model costs 1600€ and has 2 trompettes / 2 melody strings / 2 drones, which is basically all you need to start playing and to keep going for many years, there’s a 3 melody string model for 1750€ this extra is very interesting to have if you don’t plan to change instrument in a long time.
Drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and say you come from me, he’ll treat you nice 😉
2. Radoslav Malisz – Catnip
Radoslav Malisz is a polish maker, who is making a 1200 USD student model called the catnip, it’s also a 2/2/2, made in plywood, last year he sent one for reviewing and I find it very good, the keyboard is outstanding and comes with a very nice padded gigbag that makes transporting very comfortable, the previous models came with a ball knob that I didn’t like, but nowadays he makes them with proper shaped knobs, which is fantastic
This model doesn’t have 2 chien, it comes with one mouche and one chien in the trompette section, like the traditional french models.
Get it with capos from C to D in trompette and drone, it’s a nice extra that will keep you from retuning all day long, you have it ready at your door in the US with capos for USD 1500.
3. MM Instruments – Aplo
Aplo is very famous, it’s one of the first fast ready hurdy gurdies that came to the market, lately their price increased beacause of the high demand but the best characteristic of this makers is that they have a VERY SHORT waiting list.
For 1725€ in only six months you can have a 2/2/1 student model, it’s also made in plywood and the bridge is not adjustable (not a problem at all), adjust it in the traditional way, shimming the strings with paper, it comes with in black glossy finish and includes a basic strap, nice comfortable keys and a big scale length of 420mm.
I don’t particularly like the default tuning of the trompette string in G but this can be changed very easily swaping the string for 1mm gut and tuning it to C o or D
cool option 🙂
4. Gordiy Starukh
Gordiy is an Ukranian maker, he makes colorful models in many configurations, but his basic model is 1/1/1, I don’t remember the specific price, but nowadays it should be around 1000-1200€, definitely consider droping Gordiy a message.
5. Symphonia – Robert Mandel
Medieval looks, 1/1/1 string configuration c/g/c by default, nice, 3d printed chien.
Sometimes Robert has stock for inmediate shiping, and sometimes they take around 6 months, this is cool, short waiting list
Although the words “German Maple” and “self made plywood (maple)” are used for their promo, it’s all plywood.
Again this is not particularly bad for a gurdy of this price but worth knowing
No wood finish at all and friction pegs. Last price I know for this instrument in 2021 was 799, not clear if euro or dollar.
I collected some opinions about robert mandel symphonie <– here.
I think it’s an ok fast delivered non expensive option to get started
5. Nerdy Gurdy – Basic
This was the real revolution of the hurdy gurdy world. Jaap Brand the designer if nerdy gurdy, made an extremelly well engineered instrument, using Laser Cutting and 3d printed parts.
If you have acess to the right machines, the plans are public and open source.
You can easily cut yourself a kit for very little money in materials.
They sell this instrument ready made for:
660€ + VAT in his 1/1/1 version
700€ + VAT in 1/2/1 with capos black stained.
the model has 19 keys, which makes it a bit limited.
-EDIT- there’s also a 24 key version, this is great! -EDIT-
It’s fantastic as first instrument for some years while you are in the waiting list of something bigger. VERY LOUD, I love it, the sound is powerful and in blind tests I’ve seen it winning 2k€+ instruments.
It’s also possible to get a kit to put it together yourself.
Price is 320€ which is NOTHING for a hurdy gurdy. It also makes a GREAT travel instrument.
In conclussion, if you are looking to buy a beginner hurdy gurdy this are safe bets.
Don’t get fooled by unplayable instruments, this are your best tested options as a beginner and say hi to the makers if you come from me!
Keep on cranking