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Nyckelharpa Bows

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Here is a listing of sources for nyckelharpa bows:

This is a discussion and listing of sources for bows for the nyckelharpa. Please note: the ANA does not favor or endorse any one of these sources more than any other.

Leif Alpsjö

Rångsta, Viksta
S-740 30 BjÖrklinge

Telephone and Fax: +46-18-37 23 00

Leif Ajpsjö's bows

Leif sells at least two grades of bows, for 895 and 950 SEK (Oct 1999). He also sells the older style of bow, for silverbasharpa and kontrabasharpa. His English is excellent, and he’s very friendly.

Sven-Erik Berg

Lill-Jans Plan 4
S-11425 Stockholm
Phone: +46-8-20 16 16

Another maker of the experimental/modern style of nyckelharpa bows favored by the younger generation of nyckelharpa players. More when we’ve learned more about him and his bows.

Björn Björn

Botvide, Lau
S-620 16 Ljugarn
Telephone: +46-498-49 10 08, Fax: +46-498-49 10 95


Björn Björn's bows

Björn makes many variants of the nyckelharpa and other historical instruments, and also makes nyckelharpa bows. The picture of them on his listing (copied above) looks quite nice, but I’ve never played one myself. He has two variants: one with a beech wood frog (harder to rehair in the US) for 575 SEK and one with ebenholz (easier to rehair) for 675 to 775 SEK.

Mathew Coltman

153 Acton Lane

Chiswick, London, W4 5HN
Phone: +44-81-997 86 25
Email: chiswick(at)btinternet(dot)com

Johan Hedin and several of his collegues (read hot young nyckelharpa players) have ordered “baroque model” nyckelharpa bows from Mathew. These are in the non-traditional style, more like violin bows, and favored by a few of the younger generation of nyckelharpa players who are willing to spend the money to get a really nice bow.

Jean-Claude Condi

4 rue Sainte Cécile
88 500 Mirecourt
Phone: +33-290 774 61


Jean-Claude Condi's bow
Jean-Claude Condi's bow

Jean-Claude makes nyckelharpas and bows, and playes with a small group in Lorraine. Olov Johansson of the group Väsen uses Jean-Claude’s bows, and highly recommends them.

He makes them like violin bows, using pernambuco or snake wood, with an ebony frog. He learned his craft in Mirecourt from Gilles Duhaut.

He has 15 years experience building nyckelharpas, in addition to épinettes des vosges, épinettes hongroises, psaltérions, rebecs, and his usual selection of violin, viola, cello and bass bows.

The price for a nyckelharpa bow is 2500 French Francs, plus shipping and bank fees.

To the right is a picture of one of his harpas. Note the extra row of keys for the 4th string, making this a modern style “fiddleharpa”. See the end of the section on makers and sources for a brief discussion of 4-row harpas. This one is different, in that all the rows of keys are under the stings. This tends to make the tangents on the 4th row very long, and thus potentially less stiff (i.e. worse sounding). Jean-Claude has apparently solved this problem.

Esbjörn Hogmark

Gyllby 832
SE-74894 Örbyhus
Telephone: +46-295-107 06, Fax: +46-295-104 81


Esbjörn's BowEsbjörn's BowEsbjörn's Bow

Esbjörn has recently (late 2002) started making more bows, in addition to being widely considered the one of the best (if not the best) nyckelharpa maker today. The bows are designed to follow the older nyckelharpa bow’s design while simultaneously fulfilling modern requirements for functionality. The frog and screw are made of jacaranda, and are specially adjusted/fit to each bow. The bows can be made for you in various colors, lengths, thicknesses of the stick (weight) and amount of bend.

David Orlin

726 Brooks Street
Ann Arbor MI 48103
Phone: 313-663-6631

or perhaps
2808 Beacon Hill

Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Phone: 313-677-0489

He plays with Bruce Sagan. Plays guitar, banjo, etc. He’s a bow-maker who made a nyckelharpa bow for Johan Hedin in about 1994. He charged $1000 and followed Johan’s specifications, making a slightly shorter, heavier and more stable bow than Mathew Coltman had made for Johan. As it turns out, he doesn’t use this bow much anymore, as it turned out a little too stiff for his taste. This was not David’s fault — it was just that Johan was experimenting with the design and went a little too far.

Eric Norman Paulu

145 South 35th Street
Boulder CO 80303


Mel Meer had Eric make a bow for him back in 1996, and was quite pleased with the results:

Let me tell you what I feel and hear relative to the laminated bows made by Anders Hellstrand [available from Leif Alpsjö] that I and many of us use. The new bow is far livelier. At the beginning it wanted to jump off the strings; my bowing took a few steps backward. Laminated bows now feel very much dampened by comparison. After a while, my bowing improved noticeably. My wife Becky says that the sound is much nicer; she describes the tone as “purer” and “clearer”. When I tune, I notice that the needle (LED’s really) on my tuning meter are far more stable than they had been previously. As I became used to the bow, it became very controllable, and finally perfectly comfortable. What I feel now is a very definite “beginning” to a note in my bow hand, like a minute grip and release that starts the note.

His price for a simple bow will be $450 (in 1996). It can go up from there if you want anything fancy. That is about one-forth of his fee for a violin bow.

The Incredibow

The nyckelharpa Incredibow

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