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I've been playing the Kantele for about three months now. The one I have is a piccolo kantele, only five strings. I couldn't believe the sound that comes from this little instrument.

I'm hoping to get a bigger 10 string before long. Hopefully I'll be satisfied then, but I don't know the bigger the kantele the more beautiful the sound of the music.

Judy D.

Tags: kantele

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Hi Judy, i'am in the process of building one now. I found out about them and thought they were neat because my wife is part Finnish. It's Finland's national instrument if you didn't know that. So i ordered the plans.
Bill
I've built and played other wingéd Baltic Psalteries, but no the kantele. The ones I've done are Estonian Kannel - basically the same though... The ones I built were of the "hollowed plank" persuasion, not the 'build a box" type. The 12-stringed one I tuned to the same notes as the first twelve frets of my DAA dulcimer!

I did find the guy that sells the plans to build one, but I've never done any building, not sure I would know one tool from another unless I had pictures.

A friend bought one from a man I believe is in Michigan, and it is really nice, he is the one I will probably get my 10 string off of. We have been working on some of the Fishbone two part songs, of course I always get the piccolo parts. It's fun and we really have been enjoying them.

Ken, I like the looks of yours, and the fact that they have some extra strings. I'm always playing and thinking I need maybe one or two more strings.

There is a man here from Estonia that used to teach people to build and play these, but it's my understanding that he no longer does this. I would love to build one, but would surely need lots of guidance.

Judy D
I may have gotten my museum replica plans from the guy you're talking about there in Indianapolis - or his friend! Building one is not hard and you don't need many tools. A tableop drill press and Forstner bits makes hollowing out the plank easy. A scrollsaw or bandsaw to cut out the wing shape. A hand saw to cut away the thickness under the 'wing tip". And if you know someone who has those tools it's even easier!

The two pictured started as a 2" thick plank of Birch, the small one 8" wide and the bigger one 12" wide, if memory serves. First you cut out the wing shape, and the "horseshoe" that holds the string bar. Then use a hand saw to cut away under the wing tip so it's not so heavy there. Use a Forstner bit in a drill press to hollow out the body. Buy the soundboard already made 1/8" thin, cut it out and drill the soundholes. Glue it on. The drill out the horseshoe and glue and peg it into place.

Less work than building a dulcimer!
I have a ten-string one, but it's not large. About 20" long. It's very nicely made, by Edward and Anne Damm of Bar Harbor, ME, in 1977. Soundhole cutout is a fairy. It has a case, tuning wrench, some extra strings, and a couple pages of instructions. If anybody wants it, I could be talked out of it -- I never play the thing. Bought it on a whim, some years ago.

I used to hang out with Finns a lot more than I do now. But I still wear the purple on St. Urho's Day!

Dick
I've been talking with my husband about building this, he has built me a dulcimer and a violin, so, has experience, but he's been sick and cannot build at this time. He thinks that he can maybe guide me through building one.

Best part is, he has all the things you listed that I would need!

Now another question, I like a more mellow but loud sound as opposed to a bright sound, what type of wood would you suggest to get that sound. I know some woods have a brighter sound, but not sure if I would want that. We are thinking possibly a spruce top.

Judy
I think you'll get a more mellow sound using the "carved body" technique and traditional Birch. First thing you need to do is start scouting your hardwood lumber yards for truly 2" thick Birch 12" wide and 3 ft long. If you can't find 2" (also called 8 quarter) Birch you can glue a couple thinner planks up to be 2" thick...

Judy D said:
I've been talking with my husband about building this, he has built me a dulcimer and a violin, so, has experience, but he's been sick and cannot build at this time. He thinks that he can maybe guide me through building one.

Best part is, he has all the things you listed that I would need!

Now another question, I like a more mellow but loud sound as opposed to a bright sound, what type of wood would you suggest to get that sound. I know some woods have a brighter sound, but not sure if I would want that. We are thinking possibly a spruce top.

Judy

Yes, I just finished a 10-string Kantele from a Musicmaker's kit last month.

I am also in the Kantele camp since last week, when i finished a Harpkit kantele (and it looks a lot like Macy Jayne's, i also have the tree of life as a rosette). I really love the enchanting sound of the Kantele and the mythology surrounding it!

Hello Patric !     We should introduce them at Launde next year, lol.    My current one , made about 10 yrs ago, is of Ash construction, and perhaps a bit heavy.   Have to look into making something lighter !

best wishes

John

Hello John! That would be nice to do. I will have to see if i can manage to take a boat to England next year, so i can bring multiple instruments (because if i fly over, i can only bring one dulcimer :) ). The harpkit kantele has a mahogany soundboard and walnut frame. I would love to see your kantele one day!

Hey Judy, i have no doubt that you can build one. You must introduce me to this instrumment.

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