So after I decided to sell my Morillo Symphony, I went to my local hurdy gurdy maker (Neil Brook) to get my hands on a 'real'
Having browsed the web site (look here
for the current version of the Artist model) for several weeks hum-ing and haa-ing over which to choose, (having decided I couldn't afford a lute-back) I settled on the Artist model. The clean lines and contemporary styling attracted my eye as something different, and the remote selectors and in-built pickup seemed to lend itself to band use. I was in an Irish ballad band for a while and, having totally failed to master a practice set of Uillean pipes, I thought the gurdy could give a similar sound.
I'm also a long term fan of the Electric Light Orchestra and always fancied playing a blue violin like Mik Kaminski, but the only luthier who I found who was prepared to re-colour my electric fiddle went bankrupt & disappeared before I could place the order. It was then I approached Neil Brook to commission the gurdy in blue.
Having played around with various colouring techniques, he settled on one which worked though it wasn't easy. And the blue Artist was started. Shortly afterwards I heard from him the there was only one internal pickup fitted instead of the two usually included, so he fitted the sympathetic strings in lieu.
My band went on hold due to a line up change (but I think they weren't keen on the hurdy playing traditional Irish - despite me waving Neil Brook's Rambles In The Park
CD under their noses), so I've only tried it amplified a couple of times. The sympathetic strings are a much better addition!
I do play outside the house on the 'landing' (see houses on lefthand side below) for which the volume is plenty, but mainly play indoors, for which the volume can be quite loud!
I must also recommend Neil's "after sales service" while I'm here. Earlier this year, I got the gurdy out for its daily excercise to find this had happened...
... a crack from the sound hole to the wheel hole! Neil slapped my wrists for keeping the instrument in my dry centrally heated bedroom, but managed to effect an almost invisible repair and some humidity-proof strengthening work, at very reasonable cost.
The instrument will be with me at Youlgrave if anyone wants to have a look / play.