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Build your Own Nyckelharpa

If you are interested in building a nyckelharpa, the following sources and general comments might be useful.

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Sören Åhker’s Building Book and DVD

The Book:
Sören Åhker has made a set of plans for the nyckelharpa, along with a 35-page instruction book. The book is available in both English and Swedish versions. It contains multiple design suggestions for dealing with the various difficulties encountered when designing a functional instrument. For example, there’s more than one design for the peghead, since there’s several equally good forms popular among Swedish makers.  The Swedish version can be ordered from Sören ( and the English version can be ordered from Rita Leydon via this link:

See every step required to make a nyckelharpa, guided by master builder Sören Åhker. Fabulous closeups. DVD format. Produced by Rita Leydon.
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Sören also sells strings, parts, nyckelharpa kits, soft cases, hard-shell cases, bows, and of course finished nyckelharpas. He’s getting to be known as one of the best makers around today.

Other Nyckelharpa Building Plans

There also exists a full-scale plan for a nyckelharpa built by a guy named Bäckström in the 1970’s, and a book in Swedish only on how to build a nyckelharpa. Both are now somewhat outdated, as the ideas on the best way to build a nyckelharpa have changed in the last 20 years. Courses on building had only been offered for a few years when the book and the plans were created, and people still had the notion that they could improve on a few hundred years of tradition. Nowadays, they’ve come back to something closer to the original in many ways, while still making some improvements in the sound and the weight of the instrument. We do not recommend using the Bäckström material.

The Bäckström plans and book can also be purchased from Leif Alpsjö, along with nyckelharpa kits and lots of other stuff:

Leif Alpsjö

Rångsta, VIKSTA
Fax & Tel +46-18-372300

Americans with Buildling Experience

Several North Americans have built nyckelharpas, and you might find it useful to contact them about their experiences for advice. Your best bet is to post a message to the Nyckelharpa FaceBook Group with an inquiry about building.