After making all the keys it’s time to put on the strings and try it out! First the playing strings, to get the positions right.

playing strings on

The tailpiece is held in place with string, for now – I may find something a bit better later! I decided to move the drone string a little, as the first position I’d set up caused it to touch the bottom string tangents when vibrating if played strongly.


You can see here that it’s been moved by a couple of millimetres.

Here’s the bridge end:


Now the rest of the sympathetic strings can be fitted. I ended up using steel guitar strings for the top 5, as I was having problems with the thinnest ones breaking when I used the brass (as on the three-row nyckelharpa); I’m not really sure why. I will add details of string gauges here eventually.

Here’s the headstock, fully strung:


A view from the side, where you can see the wooden pegs for the playable strings better:

side of head

Detail of the nut from the head end:


I staggered the holes for the sympathetic strings to avoid the risk of them clashing! Here’s the nut from the keybox side:


You can see that I haven’t glued the nut in yet – I may make a new one.

Next the end of the tailpiece:


and the adjusters for the playable strings:


Here’s my label – it’s not numbered as I don’t think there will be another one!


The position of the soundpost is traditional (on the ‘wrong’ side, compared to the fiddle family) – and it’s wedged in through a hole in the back:


Now details of the keys and keybox:

whole keybox

Keybox close up – I intend to replace one or two of the tangents to improve the playability. Adjustment is critical!

keybox closeup

A closeup of some keys – I used paint for the white and black notes:

keys close up