Showing category "working on." (Show all posts)

John Storrs spinet to revoice.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Friday, November 2, 2018,

A bit of a rush for this one. Just three days for revoicing and all other adjustments.
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Back on Harpsichord repairs after a long break!

Posted by Peter Barnes on Monday, August 13, 2018, In : working on... 
Two double basses, and quite a bit of sailing later, I’m now taking on Harpsichord repairs again. My father’s 1971 Italian Harpsichord has been restrung and revoiced with new plectra, and is now back in Cambridge, and the latest project is a 1960 American double by Herz which requires new tongue springs.
The original springs moulded as part of the jack body were failing after 58years, so, inspired by Morley jack springs, here are the new ones on the left. Only 189 to do!
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Double Bass under construction.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Tuesday, October 17, 2017, In : working on... 
I am now making my second double bass. the table is now carved and is made from solid Spruce. The case sides, back, neck and scroll are Sycamore and the fingerboard is ebony.
It should be ready to play some time in 2018, by which time I hope our government will have abandoned Brexit! 
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Restoration of 1962 John Barnes harpsichord after Kirchmann.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Monday, August 14, 2017, In : working on... 
Having sold all my harpsichords except one, it is high time that i replaced the steel strings with Malcolm Rose's lovely iron wire, and while I am about it, I'll replace action felt with traditional woven cloth. Most enjoyable!
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John Storrs Harpsichord and Clavichord.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Monday, July 17, 2017, In : working on... 
Bought from a storage unit in Bognor Regis; two unmade sets of parts for a harpsichord and a clavichord have been made, sold and delivered. Here is a photo of the harpsichord before the lid papers went on:


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Reconditioning 1995 Goble Double after Zell. Dec 2016

Posted by Peter Barnes on Monday, December 19, 2016, In : working on... 
Lift in storage for two years, this harpsichord had suffered from damp. All the iron strings were rusted through!
The Harpsichord is now re-strung with Malcolm Rose's lovely wire, and ready to return to work.

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Delin Spinet Commission

Posted by Peter Barnes on Tuesday, November 15, 2016, In : working on... 
Back in the workshop after three weeks at sea on the Bay of Biscay, and time to finish a Paris Workshop spinet kit for a loyal customer. A great short cut to making good instruments, these kits are well made and sensibly designed.


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English Harpsichord after Barton, Made, Sold, Delivered.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Tuesday, March 29, 2016, In : New build 
The project this year was to reduce the repair work I am doing and make new instruments. Here is the result, including a lovely soundboard painting by Jennifer Douglas.


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Paris Workshop Double finished.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Sunday, March 27, 2016, In : working on... 
Here is a picture of the French Double which I have completed for a customer in France. It will be leaving here soon, which is a pity, since it sounds lovely!

Gold leaf, Little Greene paint, and a lot of work!
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Hiring in Warwick

Posted by Peter Barnes on Thursday, March 17, 2016, In : Hirings 
The lift was too small for the big red harpsichord, so I have worked round the clock for the last two days to make the English harpsichord play. And here we are! Chris Monks is even improvising a buff stop by laying some damper felt over the strings. 
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Going to Moscow...

Posted by Peter Barnes on Friday, March 4, 2016, In : Second-hand 
This harpsichord left today in a truck the size of my workshop!

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Coston soundboard painting

Posted by Peter Barnes on Saturday, February 20, 2016, In : Soundboard painting 
The New English Harpsichord soundboard is coming on...
  

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Zuckermann Concert V for renovation.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Monday, February 15, 2016, In : Second-hand 
This harpsichord has arrived in a crate and I am offering it for total renovation as seen for £995. The keyboard looks good, all the jacks are in place, the registers move in the gap, but there is plenty to do, including repairs to the treble end of the hitch pin rail.
 


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New English Harpsichord Update

Posted by Peter Barnes on Sunday, February 14, 2016, In : Soundboard painting 
Jennifer is cracking on with the soundboard painting.



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New English Harpsichord update.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Wednesday, February 10, 2016, In : New build 
We are on the home straight now of such an enjoyable project - it is a treat to make a harpsichord from scratch after many years of repairs!
I'm working on the keyboard in the workshop and Jenny is preparing to paint the soundboard in the style of the 1725 Coston. This is of course a liberty since the harpsichord is modelled on the Barton of 1709 and the Keene and Brackley spinet of 1713. The only excuse is that there is a soundboard painting on a 1710 Tisseran harpsichord which may ave been p...
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Red Harpsichord sold to Red Priest Harpsichordist....

Posted by Peter Barnes on Friday, November 20, 2015, In : Second-hand 
David gave me a ring this morning to ask 'Have I got some legs, because my friend is looking for some?', resisting the temptation to point out that she may find mine a little short, we organised a visit and he has just left with two sets of legs, a stool, and a red harpsichord!
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Greenwich 2015 Exhibition recap.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Sunday, November 15, 2015, In : Greenwich 
It was great meeting so many good friends at Greenwich, and many thanks to harpsichordist Alexandra Kremakova who helped me on my Early Music Shop Keyboard Instruments stand. For the lazy tuners among you we were offering the Roland C30 Digital Harpsichord for £2495 and this prompted me to make 'LESS THAN £2500' signs for many other instruments - a harpsichord, which I could have sold three times (more available on my website), four spinets and a polygonal virginal. There were Bizzi harpsic...
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New instruments and no more harpsichord repairs....

Posted by Peter Barnes on Friday, November 6, 2015, In : working on... 

In 2016, I am planning a change of direction, from repairs to the making of new instruments. Once the second-hand instruments listed on my home page have sold there will be very few coming in to take their place.... so please buy now to avoid disappointment!

I am currently working on a new English Harpsichord, strung in iron, with a beautiful soundboard painting in the style of Coston by Jennifer Douglas. It will be finished by Easter 2016, and after this there will be more new instruments ...


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Greenwich Festival 12th to 14th November 2015.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Tuesday, October 27, 2015, In : Greenwich 
Come and join me in the Painted Hall of the Royal Navel College, where I'll be selling harpsichords in conjunction with The Early Music Shop. On my stand I'll have two harpsichords and two spinets from my showroom in Somerset (quite a car full!) CDs and a book by Colin Booth, used instruments from Yorkshire, new Bizzi harpsichords, and even the latest Rowland electronic harpsichord, which transposes, plays in all sorts of temperaments and never goes out of tune!
There are special exhibition di...
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Raising a virginal bridge.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Tuesday, September 22, 2015, In : Soundboard repairs 
This is the first, and may be the last time that I've worked on a purple virginal!
Over time the soundboard on this virginal had bowed and the bridges had sunk to such an extent that the tenor strings buzzes against the soundboard when plucked. Attempts to raise the strings off the soundboard by fitting 'happynes posts' under the bridge resulted in raising the area of soundboard that was touching the bass and tenor strings so the 3-4mm of clearance needed between the strings and soundboard wa...
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This, or a new Soundboard.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Monday, August 10, 2015, In : working on... 
Here is the modification which I have made to pull down the cut-off bar of a Zuckerman Flemish harpsichord which I have for sale. It had been kept in damp conditions in Devon, causing the timber to expand, the pitch to rise, the tension to increase and the soundboard to rise up and touch the strings.
Let this be a lesson to all harpsichord owners - one summer in a damp place can seriously damage your instrument!
The aim or the repair is to minimise the damping effect of pulling down the soundb...
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New look for the website.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Monday, July 27, 2015, In : working on... 
I hope you like the new, uncluttered look. I've taken away all the brightly coloured boxes and replaced them with a simple outline and tried to make the layout the same for each instrument. Having looked at other website providers I still think Yola is fantastic and I'd recommend them to everyone. 
Just to cheer you up, here is a photo of me sailing last week in the boat I've restored. I went on a 'Day Skipper' course and this is a passage from Lymington to the Isle of White. Everyone needs a ...
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Re-voicing, re-stringing, re-voicing...

Posted by Peter Barnes on Friday, April 17, 2015, In : working on... 
Between the odd bit of sailing,( details on www.sailpb.com ), I've been revoicing and restringing a number of 1970's instruments, the latest, a Mark Stevenson Virginal, has turned into a surprisingly good sounding instrument. Based on an English virginal, the plucking points are closer to the end of the strings than is typical for Italian instruments and, now that it has lighter strings, the sound is charming and the repetition fast. Lucky Francis Knights!
The one before this, an English Spine...
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Goodbye Chris Hogwood instruments!

Posted by Peter Barnes on Wednesday, March 11, 2015, In : Antique Keyboard Instruments 
The world and their dog are going to Gardiner Houlgate tomorrow morning (12th March) and bidding for 27 lovely instruments. Join the party, meet everyone who is anyone in harpsichords, and help me make sure that nothing goes for less than it should. Prices for 18th century keyboards have been at an all time low but I think they are about to start rising fast!


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Gardiner Houlgate Catalogue for 12th March 2015.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Saturday, February 7, 2015, In : Antique Keyboard Instruments 
Do contact Gardiner Houlgate if you haven't received a copy to the Christopher Hogwood Instruments catalogue yet.
Here is Item 10, a spinet by Handcock, 1732. A lovely instrument, nearly 20 years later than the Keene and Brackley spinet which I have for sale. The guide price (between £8,000 and £12,000 ) plus buyer's  premium of 20% plus Vat, is in line with what I would expect. Some of the other prices (£2,000 to £3,000 for a square Piano by Pohlmann, 1773 restored by Lucy Coad in 2014) s...
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Gardiner Houlgate Auction Sale 12th and 13th March 2015

Posted by Peter Barnes on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, In : Antique Keyboard Instruments 
Details for this sale will be on the Gardiner Houlgate website at the end of February, so in the mean while, it's up to me to keep you posted!
  • Chris Hogwood's instruments are on display at the sale rooms in Corsham. Ring them first to check on viewing before you visit and give me a shout if you would like advice on where to stay in the area!
  • This is the best opportunity you'll have this century for buying a lovely instrument at an affordable price, so don't miss it! The current low prices of an...

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Christopher Hogwood's Keyboard instruments are for sale!

Posted by Peter Barnes on Saturday, December 6, 2014, In : Antique Keyboard Instruments 
An auction of 26 of Chris Hogwood's keyboard instruments are for sale on 12th March 2015 at Gardiner Houlgate in Corsham, Wiltshire, 10 miles from me. The instruments are already at the sale room and I have seen most of them during the auction last week. There are photos elsewhere on my website.
This is a truly amazing collection of some of the finest keyboards in private ownership and I worry that with so many being sold at the same time there may not be enough buyers to go round. 
I would urg...
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Greenwich Early Music Show - Fri and Sat 14th and 15th Nov 2014

Posted by Peter Barnes on Thursday, November 13, 2014, In : Greenwich 
Come on down to Greenwich Early Music Show! Great choice of spinets here from £1,300. Plenty to see, and maker's recitals every hour. I'm on the harpsichord stand at the foot of the stairs in the Painted hall. 

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The World's Most Beautiful Spinet!

Posted by Peter Barnes on Saturday, November 8, 2014, In : Antique Keyboard Instruments 

Available today from Peter Barnes Harpsichords.
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Greenwich - last reminder! Thurs 13th to Sat 15th Nov. 2014

Posted by Peter Barnes on Saturday, November 8, 2014, In : Greenwich 
Colin Booth has just given me CDs to sell for him: A lovely recording of 'The Goldberg Variations', and his new 'Grounds for Pleasure' recording made on an 17th Century, 'Celini' harpsichord which he bought through 'The Number 1 Harpsichord Agency' last year!
On the way to the show I have a harpsichord kit to drop off at the Collingwood Studios and hopefully room for a spinet and the Concert V Zuckermann, which I'm keen for you all to try.
Come down to Greenwich on the boat that leaves from the...
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Early Music Show, Greenwich, 13th -15th November!

Posted by Peter Barnes on Friday, October 24, 2014, In : Greenwich 
Come and see me working for the Early Music Shop! I'll be on the Bizzi harpsichord and used keyboard instruments stand on the turn of the stairs into The Painted Hall. For more details click on this link:  http://www.earlymusicshop.com/More/Greenwich_International_Early_Music_Festival.aspx
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New Delivery Wagon.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Wednesday, July 30, 2014, In : Hirings 


Famous for their large boot and solid construction, this is our fifth 'new to us' Volvo estate in 17 years. Expect to have your instrument collected and returned in luxury and style - a harpsichord deserves nothing less! 

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Dennis Wooley, Italian 1974.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Thursday, April 10, 2014, In : Second-hand 
I'm delighted that this harpsichord (now available at the 'Number 1 Harpsichord Agency' ) has got the correct string lengths for brass.  I'm currently working on a customer's Baffo copy and love the sound that these brass strings make!
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Harpsichord sold to another harpsichord maker.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Monday, April 7, 2014, In : Second-hand 
Colin Booth has just bought this Zuckermann Flemish Double-Manual harpsichord from me. He will make a lovely job of the repair, re-painting and servicing work. Do take a look at his own scratch-built instruments and extensive fleet of harpsichords, spinets, virginals and clavichords for hire. If I haven't got the instrument you want then, Colin Booth probably has!
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Happy in my new home.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Tuesday, April 1, 2014, In : Second-hand 
The Leigh Flanders Harpsichord has gone to Cheltenham. Here is a photo that my customer sent me:
 It's great to have feedback when you sell a harpsichord to someone. Thank you!

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Re-voicing jacks with Leather plectra to Delrin quills.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Saturday, March 29, 2014, In : Leather and Delrin Plectra 
The Dolmetsch spinet is the latest in a string of about five instruments that I have converted to play with Delrin plectra. Ist cut the old leather plectrum flush with the front of the jack. 2nd, tap it carefully out from the front of the tongue while supporting the back of the tongue on a block of wood that has a 5mm hole in it.  3rd, cut off .4mm from the top of the old leather plectrum (I'm getting quite good at this!) and replace the leather plectrum in the tougue, leaving a .4mm gap at t...
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Work pending.....

Posted by Peter Barnes on Monday, December 23, 2013, In : working on... 
Sadly, any new work will have to wait 10 weeks while I finish making a spinet, replace strings and re-voice one, or possibly two harpsichords and replace plectra and voice two virginals and a spinet. It's nice to be busy, but I'll be happier when I can fit in small tasks round the longer term renovations. Just now, making an English Harpsichord to replace the one I've just sold looks a long way off!
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Three Michael Johnson Harpsichords for sale!

Posted by Peter Barnes on Tuesday, November 19, 2013, In : New build 
One double and two singles. These instruments are a delight to play, and at these prices, they won't be about for long. Look at them on my mail listings 
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Back to the workshop with Storrs Harpsichord and EMS Bent-side Spinet.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Saturday, November 16, 2013, In : working on... 
Greenwich is over and I'm enjoying working at home again. I'm voicing three registers on a Storrs harpsichord and making the case of a mature Bent-side spinet after Keene and Brackley. I'm so lucky to enjoy the work I do! Let's see, it's Saturday evening, I think I'll go and do a bit of harpsichord making!
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The Star Turn for Greenwich?

Posted by Peter Barnes on Tuesday, November 5, 2013, In : Greenwich 

The singing, beer making Nuns of Leycock Abbey could be hitting Greenwich Early Music Festival this week. If they don't make it, there's still plenty of harpsichords to see there...Thurs-Sat, 7th-9th November 2013.

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Greenwich Early Music Festival.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Monday, October 28, 2013, In : Second-hand 
Meet me on the Keyboard Instrument stand in the Painted Hall, Greenwich  Royal Navel College between 10.00 and 17.30 from Thursday 7th to Saturday 9th November 2013. More details on www.earlymusicfestival.com  This year we have some antique instruments at newly reduced prices, a large range of Bizzi harpsichords and some good value used instruments. This is possibly the largest number of keyboard instruments for sale in one place in the world (and I have to tune more than half of them!)...
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Spinet going to The Lowry, Manchester.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Monday, October 7, 2013, In : Second-hand 

 Here I go the be part of a special exhibition in The Lowry Gallery, Manchester. I'm still for sale, but can't be delivered until March 2014. Made in Paris in 1913 - just before Dolmetsch came to England.
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I'm off to Hong Kong!

Posted by Peter Barnes on Monday, October 7, 2013, In : Second-hand 
 Sold, and just about to be shipped.to the Far East. I look forward to being loved and played in China.

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October Sale - two instruments sold today.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Tuesday, October 1, 2013, In : Second-hand 
Still some left for you!
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October 2013 Harpsichord Sale

Posted by Peter Barnes on Thursday, September 26, 2013, In : Second-hand 
Finally, back from the boat show, and there's a sale on at Peter Barnes Harpsichords. Plenty for everyone, including six second-hand (or is it pre-loved?) Zuckermanns and a 100 year old Arnold Dolmetsch Spinet. 
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Single Strung, refurbished harpsichord for £1,395 ?!

Posted by Peter Barnes on Monday, August 12, 2013, In : Second-hand 
I have just voiced this little Zuckermann with one set of new strings, replacement tongues, plectra and dampers. A great little instrument, quite similar to the small Bizzi Italians - but less than half the price. 
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Michael Johnson Harpsichords

Posted by Peter Barnes on Saturday, August 3, 2013, In : New build 
I'm so impressed by Michael's wonderful instruments and thrilled that he has asked me to advertise one for him. For those who don't know, he is a top maker and perfectionist who has been making lovely Flemish instruments since the year dot. This one will be one of his last. It's priceless.
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Green Five-octave Zuckermann is finished.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Saturday, August 3, 2013, In : Second-hand 
Ready to go. 'the first to see will buy'. This large Flemish harpsichord looks good, sounds good and is great value for money.
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Marble case painting - new for 2013!

Posted by Peter Barnes on Monday, May 27, 2013, In : working on... 
Jenny starts throwing on the paint! and hours later, the final touches:Priceless Green Marble from the world famous marble mines of North Somerset.
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Soundboard Painting finished.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Wednesday, May 22, 2013, In : working on... 
Jenny has just finished the Green Zuckermann's soundboard painting. Photos to follow. I've been re-painting a case with black paint and have some beautiful turned legs to make a stand with.
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Flemish Zuckermann Soundboard Repairs

Posted by Peter Barnes on Thursday, April 11, 2013, In : Soundboard repairs 
Here is a picture showing the support and glueing of the soundboard and bass end of the bridge. I love these sort of repairs because they are always a challenge!
  
 This next photo shows the temporary support under the soundboard:

..and this shows the clamping and screws that stabilise the bass end of the nameboard and wrestplank. 

I now have to add additional braces inside the case under the soundboard and two more gap spacers. Photos to follow! What else would I do when not sailing? 
...
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Sunshine at Shearwater, Sailing Club Hosts Open Race Meeting.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Monday, April 8, 2013, In : sailing 

 
Have you ever wondered what I do in my spare time? The Shearwater sailing season of weekly races continued last Sunday with two firsts for Somerset sailors. Margaret and Geoff Pell came first in the morning pursuits race and Roger Devereux, also from Frome, and his crew Peter Barnes took the first place in the afternoon points race. The conditions for sailing were perfect and it was great to see some sunshine at last.

 
Our next club event is a day of racing open to all Topper and Come...

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Single strung refurbished Italian harpsichords

Posted by Peter Barnes on Thursday, March 7, 2013, In : Second-hand 
Time for a new idea - the student harpsichord at a real student price: Makers, from Bizzi to Booth often offer a single 8' strung harpsichord as a starter instrument. Their prices start at about £3,500
 I am planning to refurbish two Zuckermann Italian harpsichords with one register, one set of replacement strings, refurbished jacks and new dampers and plectra. By choosing to set them up with only one register I can string them slightly more heavily than would be safe with two registers and s...
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I'm back from the ' Deep Sea Challenge'

Posted by Peter Barnes on Saturday, November 17, 2012, In : sailing 
Sorry for any delay in emails, etc, but I've been sailing the tall ship 'Stavros' from Plymouth to the Canaries. It was a great trip! Find out more on www.tallships.org .
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Sold, Sold, Sold!

Posted by Peter Barnes on Wednesday, September 19, 2012, In : Antique Keyboard Instruments 
The Italian Harpsichord, with me since may, has sold. I'm now working to get the English Bentside spinet c.1770 ready for the Early Music Show, Greenwich.
For those with less expensive tastes, I now have a Morley single for £1,100!
The Flemish Zuckermann is doing lots of hirings. Sir James and Lady Galway (Flutes) said they loved it and it's booked in for L'Armonico in Yeovil and something at St Georges Bristol. A perfect hiring instrument!
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Greenwich Early Music Show - Thursday-Saturday.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Monday, September 10, 2012, In : working on... 
I'll be running the Early Music Shop's Keyboard Instruments stand as usual this year. It's in the Greenwich Royal Naval College in Greenwich. Each year visitors experience problems with transport on Sunday, so this year it's running from Thursday to Saturday, 8th-10th November.  Details on http://www.earlymusicshop.com/?gclid=CN6EvNLUq7ICFQfMtAodLlAAdQ
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Progress report on English Harpsichord

Posted by Peter Barnes on Thursday, August 2, 2012, In : New build 
Finally, I've got time to make the soundboard! I'll have it in the instrument next week.
I've been busy hiring instruments and fitting in servicing, etc. All good fun. The weather isn't helping tunings at Iford Manor - the venue is virtually outside and the damp is seeping in....
Check the pitch of your harpsichord and make sure it doesn't go sharp.
 
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Spinet swaps, harpsichord hirings and warm weather tuning.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Monday, May 28, 2012, In : Weather 
The Keene and Brackley spinet kit has become a finished Storrs bentside spinet. This will save me making the kit myself, so I can start to finish my English harpsichord instead. 
 A newly acquired Zuckermann Flemish single has be booked up for concert hirings - the conductor at Cirencester's B-minor Mass found it too loud for the modern orchestra and large choir! There is another hiring at Bath Abbey in June.
If you're like us, the windows are opened in this hot weather and plenty of cool, humi...
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Just finished making this Flemish Harpsichord

Posted by Peter Barnes on Thursday, April 12, 2012, In : New build 
Ready for delivery at last:
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Oops, what a crack!

Posted by Peter Barnes on Thursday, April 12, 2012, In : Soundboard repairs 
Awaiting repair after a dry spell in church over Christmas....
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Flemish Case Painting

Posted by Peter Barnes on Friday, March 23, 2012, In : New build 
I'm just painting the third Flemish case this year! All three have also had printed papers put inside. They look lovely! 
If you'd like me to 'Pimp Your Harpsichord' (look up 'Pimp My Ride' on youtube if you don't know what I'm on about) just drop me an email.
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Signature discovered under soundboard!

Posted by Peter Barnes on Tuesday, February 28, 2012, In : Antique Keyboard Instruments 
This signature can be seen using my new probe. It is on the underside of the soundboard near the treble section of the bridge.  Further details of this spinet are on my Home Page. An exciting find. 
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18th Century English spinet

Posted by Peter Barnes on Tuesday, February 21, 2012, In : Second-hand 
Very exciting. I'm waiting for my newly ordered endoscope to arrive so that I can look inside this antique spinet. Pictures to follow soon!
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Bath Abbey Hiring in the snow.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Saturday, February 4, 2012, In : Hirings 
Constant snow since I delivered the harpsichord today. Was told by the organiser how the last person to hire them a harpsichord left it unattended on it's trolley. It rolled off the pavement and out onto the busy street before toppling over with a tinkle. I hope I don't add another sad story to the collection.
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Like the first harpsichord I ever made.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Wednesday, February 1, 2012, In : Second-hand 
I've just bought an Italian harpsichord which has been superbly made from a Zuckermann kit in about 1976. I made my first harpsichord from the same type of kit in 1973 and have a soft spot for these little instruments. The kits were made by Wallis Zuckermann when he retired to Devon and needed something to do. 
  It is said that one summer in a garden shed will finish off any harpsichord. It is particularly true of these instruments because they were made from ply wood in order to keep down co...
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Painted Soundboard anyone?

Posted by Peter Barnes on Monday, January 30, 2012, In : Soundboard painting 
Jenny has just finished this Ruckers copy:  What you see in the background is her workshop, complete with the silk painting steamer on the left. This one is for the Storr's harpsichord which is reserved for a customer. Lucky them!
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Work in January 2012

Posted by Peter Barnes on Friday, January 6, 2012, In : working on... 
I'm starting the New Year with two cases to paint, a huge Feldberg with a 16-foot to renovate, a Flemish Single to make from a Storrs kit (Jenny has started to paint the soundboard) and, once I'm finished with that, the Clayson and Garret double to service. It's a great time to hide in a nice warm workshop!
Don't forget to check your humidity if it gets very cold again. Below 45% and you may well be making more work for some harpsichord maker....
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Harpsichord Dampers in the Winter.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Tuesday, December 27, 2011, In : Harpsichord Dampers 
Heating cold winter air can cause very low humidity levels (30 - 40% rather than the usual 50-65% we see in the summer). Timber shrinks across the grain when the humidity is low and this often caused dampers to be less effective in the winter.

Let me explain: When we heat cold winter air it becomes very dry and dries timber. Since harpsichords and spinets tend to be made with the wood grain running round the case, the case height will often shrink by as much as 1-2mm. This reduces the distance...
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Finished in time!

Posted by Peter Barnes on Friday, December 16, 2011, In : New build 
The Zuckermann Flemish is finished except for case painting. It's been to three hirings this month and is looking for a nice home - and a bit of a rest!
 
 
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Zuckermann flemish 1975/2011

Posted by Peter Barnes on Saturday, December 3, 2011, In : New build 
Stringing is finished and voicing started. 7 days until the first performance with Cirencester Choral Society. 
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Replacing strings method 2

Posted by Peter Barnes on Thursday, December 1, 2011, In : String replacement 
Having found that many people have difficulty with replacing strings on tuning pins with no holes, here is an system that may help, especially with the thicker strings:
Make a device for winding a coil at the end of your wire onto which you can screw the tuning pin. The pin you use for winding should be about 1-2mm narrower than the tuning pin diameter. This is used as shown in the photo, choosing the thinner axle for the 4ft pins and the thicker on for the 8ft. Put the end of the wire through...
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Replacing strings on pins without hole. 1

Posted by Peter Barnes on Thursday, December 1, 2011, In : String replacement 
Many people have problems with this, so this is what Zuckermann Harpsichords had to say about it in 1976: There is a larger image of this scan on my 'Harpsichord repairs page.
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Soundboard painting finished - a guided tour:

Posted by Peter Barnes on Tuesday, November 29, 2011, In : Soundboard painting 
All hand-painted using pigments mixed with Gum Arabic, copying traditional Ruckers flowers, birds and arabesques.Thank you very much Jenny! Have a lovely time in Berlin.
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Soundboard painter at work 1

Posted by Peter Barnes on Tuesday, November 22, 2011, In : Soundboard painting 
The soundboard has a light coat of shellac. It's fun deciding where to put the bugs and the birds. Jenny is tracing the flowers lightly onto the soundboard.  
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What did 18th century harpsichord makers do without masking tape?

Posted by Peter Barnes on Sunday, November 20, 2011, In : New build 

 
    You can see loops of masking tape on the sound-bars and cut-off bar. I'm about the put the soundboard in, press it down on the tape and carefully lift it out so I can mark out and glue the bars in place on the soundboard. 
It occurred to me to wonder how this was done 250 years ago. Then I realised that I'd put the base-board on too soon. Without a bottom, one can mark round the bars easily enough. Sequence - that's what it's all about.

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Flemish Single, from kit parts to playing in 20 working days.

Posted by Peter Barnes on Sunday, November 20, 2011, In : New build 
Day ten on this project and I've got the soundboard in. The case was all separate parts, the soundboard needed thinning, everything is fitted individually. Never stop until you have run out of clamps for gluing jobs!
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About Me


Harpsichord Maker, restorer, repairer and vendor.