Donegal fiddle player Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh collects her hardanger fiddle (hardingfele) – with some great examples of fine Norwegian hardanger music.

Cheers
Jerry

For some while now, I have been getting an annoying string buzz from one of the sympathetic strings, so I decided that now was the time to make a new bridge.

I used the previous one I made as a rough template, but raised the centre ‘D’ a little and ensured it was completely flat across the bottom so the sympathetic strings would not move to the side. I cut small grooves for them and lined up the top profile and cut matching string notches along the top. The wood is Tasmanian blackwood – I thought I’d see what difference a harder wood would make.

The sound is more crisp and slightly thinner, but still warm. As the bridge plays in better I shall have a better idea of the sound. And yes the annoying string buzz has now gone!

Hardanger fiddle bridge

Cheers
Jerry

Well, another National Folk Festival has come and gone – and I thought I’d share some of my personal highlights. Firstly it was great to meet up with so many old friends from interstate – including most of the former Mucky Duck members who I played with in the early-mid 1980s.

I got to a number of concerts in between music sessions in the Session Bar.

Vin Garbutt – I last saw him in 1980 in Perth Western Australia and he has just got better over the years – more political edge to his songs, and hilarious repartee. I bought his CD “Plugged” just because it had “Man of the Earth” on it.

Danish band Faerd played some great traditional Danish music and Swedish polskas… the combination of Peter Uhrlbrand’s fiddle playing (also lively in the Session bar!) with Eskil Romme’s saxaphone and Jens Ulsvand’s bouzouki was stunning

The Session Bar proved popular and I had some great sessions with Bob McInnes, Scott and Louisa Wise, and Chris Duncan

And Butch Hooper and I played at the Merry Muse to a great audience – really responsive and ready to party!

The Genticorum concerts were wonderful – I love the fiddle player’s foot percussion and the trio’s great harmonies. But one thing puzzles me… are all Quebec folk songs about food and sex or some combination of the two? I loved the story about the fiddle’s time out in the winery, slinking back home to its case after a night on the town with a ukelele :-D and how when the fiddler picked it up again, he was playing tunes even he didn’t know and at twice the pace!

Trouble in the Kitchen started in Canberra a few years ago and have gone from strength to strength. I love the new direction they are taking their music. The tune “The Darkroom Fiddler” is on my must learn list. And I bought the last copy of their CD. My apologies for the poor photo quality.

Other highlights were David LaMotte and Liz Frencham – David’s guitar work was fantastic

I ran into “Gurdy Girl” Jane Ruckert playing a nyckelharpa – a kind of Swedish bowed hurdy gurdy – and we swapped instruments for a play – she on my hardingfele (eight-string Norwegian fiddle) and me on the nyckelharpa. Suffice to say I have increased my respect for nyckelharpa players – but what an awesome sound!

And speaking of amazing instruments, I saw this hurdy gurdy in the session bar

The sessions were terrific

And after trying one of David Guscott’s violins I decided that I needed an octave violin – so I bought some octave strings for my electric fiddle and mmmm love that sound! – You’ll hear more of that on our website soon!

And I have a heap of tunes to learn :-)

Cheers
Jerry

Yes, it’s been the bane of my Hardanger fiddle (hardingfele) – the lack of fine tuners for the sympathetic strings. Today all that is changed! When I made the new bridge and reshaped the nut I did try hooking a one-quarter size tailpiece over the main tail-piece to get eight fine tuners – string adjusters – but that placed the adjusters right up against the bridge – even with the tail-gut shortened.

After some measurement, I figured that if I could push the under-tail-piece back by 1.5cm I could position the bridge in the correct place, and not have the string cotton windings sitting on the bridge.

The answer lay in a 3/16″ bolt. I lined up the two tail-pieces in the vice and drilled through them both to achieve the right overhang. I then threaded a bolt up through the quarter size tail-piece, then placed a nut between the two tail-pieces to provide clearance for the upper fine-tuners to work, and then finished the top with a washer and nut.

hfidftleft.jpg

After re-assembly I can now state that the double-decker tail-pieces still clear the violin’s belly by a good margin and now allow for fine tuners on all eight strings!

hardanger fiddle fine tuners

If you have fitted fine tuners to a hardanger fiddle – please let me know and perhaps share a photo

Cheers
Jerry

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