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New! Bowed Psaltery Plans in G chromatic Tuning
original
model-bowed psaltery These are the plans for my upcoming YouTube series "Making a Bowed Psaltery " which I am doing in 2014, This model is a slightly modified version of the original Bowed Psaltery as created by Edgar Stahmer and promoted by Ronald Roberts in the UK,  My pdf plans include my latest twin short bow design for two handed playingas well as the original medium length bow commonly used (also sold below) and the cutting list to get you prepared. 
Purchasers of this plan will be notified when the online series starts and will get free upgrades when I update this plan.

Download £5.00  US $8  or 6.50 euros

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Bowed Psaltery Instruments made to order


bowed pslatery with bowI endeavor to make a small number of these instruments a year to commission mostly.
The standard is Maple and Spruce soundboard,  though I can offer Walnut and cedar.












Bowed Psaltery in G chromatic Tuning
original
model-bowed psalteryWith 24 notes, this updated early model comes complete with bow, case and rosin.  handcrafted in Maple and Spruce made to commission but 2 -3 months waiting time for this instrument from ordering this instrument costs incl. delivery

 UK £300      Europe €360   USA $500   

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Bowed Psaltery in G Diatonic Tuning
my model-bowed
psalteryWith 15 notes, this unique and compact diatonic model comes complete with bow, case and rosin.  handcrafted in Maple and Spruce this instrument costs   made to commission but 3-4 months waiting time for this instrument from ordering

UK £400   Europe €450  USA $625

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Bowed Psaltery
in D Diatonic Tuning

my model-bowed
psalteryLarger model With 15 notes, This diatonic model comes complete with hard case bow and rosin.  handcrafted in Maple and Spruce this instrument costs made to commission 4 months waiting time for this instrument from ordering
UK £500  EU €560  USA $750/  
 
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Bowed Psaltery Bow

standard psaltery bowMedium bow, 524mm long with 80 hairs made of beechwood, steamed to an arch, Mongolian horsehair,  choice of white or black hair.    comes with small cake of rosin.
£30    one month from order to delivery

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Bowed Psaltery Pair of bows
pair of beech bows for psalteryset of two smaller sized bows, 440mm long with 80 hairs made of beechwood, steamed to an arch, Mongolian horsehair,  choice of white or black hair.    comes with small cake of rosin. played one in each hand.
£45 for a pair    one month wait from order

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close up bowed
psaltery

















Background


This instrument is one of the easiest bowed instruments to play, and its eerie, icy magical tone is very enchanting, for me it conjures up the time time between autumn and winter,  the first frosts, of Christmas and the new year.

Origins
This Chromatic version of this Instrument date backs to the 20th century where it was first developed as an easier violin like instrument for children to play in schools.  Plans were available in the 1960s from people like Edgar Stahmer in Germany and his friend in England Ronald Roberts who published a book for making musical instruments.  In the 1980's and 90's Zachary Taylor made and played and publicized these instruments by making the plans available in  magazines and in his book "Making early instruments"  The early Music shop in Bradford has also played a big part in the UK by selling instrument and bow kits.

Click here for the Yahoo Bowed Psaltery Forum group for players and makers alike.

I make these instrument in a variety of domestic timbers,  maple, walnut, cherry with Spruce or cedar tops  from £300 including a case and bow

Making a Diatonic Bowed Psaltery

Below are plans I had on my first website in 1999, I have converted them to PDF files.  They will require a little work to scale to size.  You can download them as a zip file for free from my plans page

Development

 Broader and shorter in length than the usual Chromatic Bowed Psaltery, with its distinctive Gothic shape, the Diatonic Bowed Psaltery was designed to be a more Harmonious musical instrument, like an irish harp.

The strings are arranged in a fan pattern, this was to make the bowing a little more fluid with the geometry of the human arm. Tuned to a white note scale rather like the old Irish harp, the instrument resonates sympathetically as different combinations are played. 1997 instrumentAs well as being a bowed instrument, this psaltery, like its medieval ancestor, responds well to plucking and also hammering.( see playing notes ) This instrument is suitable for much folk, sacred and early music. The tuning Diatonic in the key of D is : D E F# G A B( bass side) and C# d e f# g a b c# d" e" (Treble) I have made these also in the key of G, C and F.
I designed this instrument in the early 1990's, mainly to play Scottish pipe music (there is a vast repertoire of tunes with nine notes!)

The Diatonic Bowed Psalteries I make now are a little different in detail, I angle my tuning pins now and attach them in the kantele way (midway) though I still make standard Chromatic models with the string going over the top,

**On the plans Ignore the braces, (overkill I feel now) with such a strong frame but if you have a center joint on the back you can add a capping strip made up from cross grain.

***Please feel free to use these Diatonic Psaltery plans in the spirit of the creative commons license agreement, If you copy the plans or make and sell these instruments all I ask is that you acknowledge their origin/designer.  Thanks!

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Instructions

Sheet 1

Sheet 2

Playing Guide

Coming soon.....


I do hope to draw out a new full size plan for the G instrument (pictured)
G Diatonic Bowed Psalterywhich also fits in a briefcase and the longer deeper sounding D instrument,  I have changed how I make these a little.  If there is sufficient interest I will film a few Youtube episodes on these after my Chromatic Bowed Psaltery series. 

If anyone wants to order one of these they are £400 including a case and bow.