Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Tenor Ukulele plans now available by Michael J King

Tenor Ukulele plans now available to purchase:

Instruments available to order also though my website once again and through my etsy shop

I used some outtakes from an old video for this video,  sorry for the off rhythm (need to practice more again!)

 for website





Sunday, 20 December 2015

Jessica Comeau- Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence (Arranged for mountain...

Its that time of year and I thought I would share Jessica Cormeau's lovely Interpretation of this tune played beautifully on the Dulcimer

Jessica writes in the video notes:

"The words of the song “Let all Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” are translated from the fourth century “Prayer of the Cherubic Hymn.” They were eventually united with the melody “Picardy” in 1906 by Ralph Vaughan Williams. I hope you enjoy my instrumental interpretation! A blessed Christmas and joyous holidays to you all. :-) (The plants in the background are inside my house taking refuge from the cold!)
Pensacola Mountain Dulcimer Wildflowers (Facebook)

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
and with fear and trembling stand;
ponder nothing earthly minded,
for with blessing in his hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
our full homage to demand."


It is a favourite of mine,  here I uploaded my own version of this tune 6 years ago,  played on a small bagpipe:

Friday, 4 December 2015

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Digital Plans Discounts this Month, 25% off

I am offering a 25% off Discount code for my Digital version of my musical instrument plans this month

simply add this coupon code at checkout 


I am gradually moving my physical items for sale,  Instruments in stock, CD's parts and accessories to my Etsy store 

Work in Progress this month,     Finishing two Electric Ukuleles,  One Nylon and one steel

Video to watch: Making a Rebate Plane with Paul Sellers,

Just thought I would share this amazing Plane making video from Paul Sellers, A rebate plane in pine wood, simply made

Thursday, 22 October 2015

"I sing to you" New Tune Song Book from Lani K Thompson

Lani K Thompson has published a new songbook of a 100 tunes for the Kantele with Finnish and English Lyrics, 

Traditional Finnish Folksong
Animated by Saana Herranen:
Translated by Meiju Virkkunen
Lyrics Adapted by Christopher Scott Thompson:
Kantele and Recorder by Lani K. Thompson
From I Sing To You: 100 Finnish Folksongs and Tunes with Sing-able English Lyrics by Lani K. Thompson:

Monday, 28 September 2015

18 String Kantele in Walnut and Cedar by Michael J King

Caroline Nobles posted a beautiful song and review on Youtube of one of my Custom 18 String Kanteles

Carolin's website is here:

My original sample video for this instrument:

Standard instruments available here:

Instruments for sale :

more info:

See my lyre making CD available here for more information

plans and instruments available:

Strings and tailpieces available from my Lyre shop:






Friday, 4 September 2015

5 String Kantele with Bronze Strings, compared with Steel

Bronze and Brass Stringed Kanteles was the material used before Steel took over in the 19th century following the availability of Steel wire for pianos and other musical instruments.

For more on Brass and Bronze stringed Kanteles Arja Kastinen has written and recorded a video of her experiments with different strings and recorded a bronze strung 5 string replica by Rauno Nieminen on her Album Vaskikantele 1833 (available as a download on itunes and amazon or as a CD from Arja's site here:

Bronze or Steel Strung  Available for sale here:

How to play Kantele series:

5 String Kanteles are a very easy first instrument to make,  you can find my plans on CD and Download and lots more information on my website:





Sunday, 30 August 2015

5 String Kantele in American Tulipwood by Michael J King

Available for sale here:

How to play Kantele series:

5 String Kanteles are a very easy first instrument to make,  you can find my plans on CD and Download and lots more information on my website:





Sunday, 16 August 2015

(For sale) Stick Dulcimer in Mahogany by Michael J King

I am trying to have these plain Mahogany models in stock each month through my etsy shop. In stock or available within 4 weeks. This is without a hard case or any customisation.

 Apple wood and cherry versions of of this instrument available to special order.(see my main website)

Instruments (Kanteles also coming soon) for sale here

more info:

Build your own plans

Youtrube series:

Main website





Friday, 14 August 2015

Making a Lyre: attaching a simple tailpiece gut (Synthetic Nylon)

This is a just a quick video to answer a question.  Sometimes a picture (in this case a video) is the quickest way to explain!

See my lyre making CD available here for more information

Strings and tailpieces available from my Lyre shop:






Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Bowed Lyre/Jouhikko in Apple Wood by Michael J King

Plans on Lyre Making CD or Download:

This instrument was tuned to D# G# C#

(I am not really a bowed instrument player, this is just a sound sample, If you want to hear what this can sound like in the hands of professional players please check out Einar Selvik, Pekko Käppi, PerRunberg, Gøran Hálfdanarson, Simon Chadwick etc)






Thursday, 23 July 2015

The chinese Erhu, 2 string Fiddle

This is taken fro my old website from 2003-4 I believe.  Just found it again and thought I would re-post it.

Old damaged cheap erhu made of elm and another light hardwood.  I replaced the broken snakes skin with vellum and made a base of yew wood.  The instrument was then refinished in semi opaque black/brown shellac and restrung.


With the new base and painted black



here is a sound clip of a cheap snakeskin erhu I have to to compare

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Friday, 3 July 2015

Stick Dulcimer made of Mango Wood, D-A-c tuning

Mango Stick Dulcimer,  custom model, 25.5" scale ionian D   =D-A-c tuned,  Ziricote fingerboard with Indian rosewood fingerboard binding  figured American Cherry wood neck, European spruce top, spalted and figured Mango back. K&K pickup internally fitted. MJK Brass tailpiece.

Plans Download to make your own here:

and 28 part Youtube Course to make your own:

Shady grove tune except in honour of the late Jean Ritchie,


Jean Ritchie:Shady Grove original

(Will do a full cover version on the Dulcimer one day)

Instruments available in stock or to order:






Friday, 5 June 2015

New Lyre Shop landing page

I have switched to a new service to be able to provide downloads once again in compliance with EU VAT law changes.  The only downside is that Local VAT gets charged extra to European customers,  20% in France for example.  USA and UK purchasers do not pay VAT

Payhip are a third party that do the administrative work,  pays the taxes to individual countries, paypal provides the payment service as usual.

Let me know if you have any questions,  this is all new and will be working on fixing any issues over the coming months.  Will move physical Discs, accessories and Instruments to my etsy shop when I can.  
Shortly I will have my new Student Lyres based on the oberflacht model, 5 string Kanteles and recycled timber stick Dulcimers available for sale.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Stick Dulcimer plan Downloads offer

Get Download here 

Just a quick update, I am testing a new hosting site for downloads which means I can now offer the Stick Dulcimer plans as a download once again.
They are available at the reduced price of $16 for now while I test the service.
Downloads from here:
Alternatively If you wish to buy the physical Stick Dulcimer DVD-ROM which accompanies the series its available from my website shop,  purchase of the DVD by April the 12th and I will included a free full size folded printed copy of the Stick Dulcimer plans:
as always also selling tailpieces, strings, straps and of course instruments starting from £400 for the mahogany edition
Let me know if you have any questions!  

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Sutton Hoo Lyre (for sale)

Used Sutton Hoo replica for sale  

Email  sales "@" for more information on this.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

11 String Kantele: Playing the first 6 Chords

I have now made the simple chord charts for 10 and 11 string Kanteles,  each on their individual pages on my website,

This video was demonstrated on a Custom walnut 11 String Kantele made for a customer in Oregon USA,  This instrument has Kolrosing decoration which is very subtle on Walnut but can be seen in low light.  See my video on Kolrosing for more information

Plans as always are available on my Kantele Making CD-ROM Here:

Chord chart for 11 String:

Chord chart for 10 String:

Books to learn to play 5/10 or 11 string:

11 string Tutor:

Instrument made to commission:





Saturday, 7 February 2015

FOR SALE : 18 String Kantele in Walnut and Cedar by Michael J King

This 18 string Custom closed back instrument with inbuilt K&K pickup is available to buy
email me at for more info

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Learning to play the Kantele with written Music

Lani K Thompson Has written several books for the 5 and 10 string Kanteles, On her website you can purchase these either as a physical book and CD or as a Download.  Lani also can provide Private Lessons by Skype.

picture of My First Kantele Book
My First Kantele

This book provides a foundation and skills for playing and learning written music at the same time on your Kantele.  This is the most recent book by Lani and is highly recommended.

"Don't know how to read music? No problem! This book, which comes with a CD, will teach you everything you need to know in order to play a five or ten string kantele and read music written for it. Videos and sound files make it easy to learn and practice the accompanying exercises and songs. Quizzes test what you learn and an Answer Key is included so you can check your answers. The second part of the book consists of 46 songs written for 5 and 10 string kanteles. This book is also available as an ebook"

My Kantele is my Teacher

picture of My Kantele Is My Teacher Book
The next book is for people who already read music, a little more advanced but It has a great collection of Finnish tunes, some really great tunes to play.

"If you can already read music, this book will teach you how to play small kanteles with 5 or 10 strings. Learn different techniques such as how to play a kantele with a bow, pick or chopsticks. Information on caring for your kantele, finger positions, tuning and changing strings is also included. Music includes my arrangements of approximately 36 traditional Finnish folk tunes and songs. This book may be purchased by itself or with a CD to illustrate some of the techniques. Also available as ebook."


The last book Is the one that featured heavily in my Kantele playing guide on youtube,  This is the quintessential book for playing the 5 string.  In my video I demonstrate how the PDF version of the book works on a laptop with the embedded soundfiles.  

picture of Fishbone Book

"This book includes original compositions by a number of artists, as well as some Finnish and American folk songs. All the tunes can be played by changing only one string from F to F#! The e-book includes song files (in .mp3 format) so you can hear how each kantele part sounds by itself or with other parts."

    Complete chords for the Kantele   (revised edition)
    This contains chord charts and tuning variations for 5 and 10 string Kanteles,  a great reference and also has some fantastic original tunes including "in the forest" one of my favourites
      picture of Compleat Chords For The Kantele Book

      "This book contains extensive chord charts (420 charts, total) for all the major and minor keys, including charts for pentatonic tunings in all the keys. In addition, there is information on tuning your kantele, a small glossary of musical terms, and 45 mostly original songs and tunes written and arranged for five and ten strings."

    Lastly Here is a book specifically for Children: 

    The Handle on the Banana
    picture of The Handle on the Banana book
    "This book contains 57 songs to enjoy with children. Included are songs to sing around the campfire, familiar childhood favourites and some original music written for young children. Instructions for accompanying games and fingerplays are included. All music can be played on a ten string kantele."
For more details about purchasing these books and much more Lani 's website here: 

Her email for more info about Skype is here

                  (Picture of Lani K Thompson taken in my Cheltenham Workshop in 2004)

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Making Luthier Spool clamps!

Not everything in a luthiers toolbox is cheap to buy, making your own spool clamps is something very economical.

Ingredients to make 20 spool clamps:

One IKEA chopping board, (Legitim). white polyethylene     8mm thick.    24x34cm 80p in UK 

Hole saw. 38mm from poundland  £1

M6 coach bolts. 4" or 100mm for lyres, kanteles, dulcimers, mandolins, ukes.   
(Longer bolts are needed for guitars etc)
20 of these
25 or  30mm washers 40 of these 
Wing or butterfly nuts.    X 20

I was able to purchase all the metal hardware from my local wilkinson for £2,99 in their self service pick and mix bags 

Total cost for 20 clamps  £4.79! 

(I can't take credit for this,  I read about using chopping boards and hole saws in a mandolin making book by Graham Macdonald but this was the first time I got round to trying it)

Use the hole saw in a bench drill to cut out the clamps from the chopping board.    
Inset the bolt with a washer and slide on another clamp piece and washer.
Screw on the butterfly nut

Done.  :-)

They work really well despite the top and bott being loose.  The texture of the chopping board also helps.  

Stick Dulcimer body Mold update 2015

This is a very simple modification.  Using a router you can cut a rebate of 3mm deep by 5mm wide into one layer of the mdf Mold to receive the top when gluing up.   The key thing is to attach the linings and flatten the top ribs first of course.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Diatonic Bowed Psaltery fitted with viola strings in the bass

I have now removed the plain steel bass strings and used Pyramid brand Viola Strings in D For a better sound and response, see here:

I have simply removed the plain steel strings on the bass side and replaced them with viola strings. Plans for all my instruments available here: Http://

Instruments and parts here:

 I used Pyramid Viola D strings medium tension for this change.

See my original video here:

 And do check out my new Bowed Psaltery pages here:

 Filmed on iphone 5 not edited at all, uploaded using Youtube app




Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Musical Instrument Making plans all on Disc once again

I have spent the last week making changes to my website shop pages and transferring plans back into DVD_ROMS, CD-ROMS and data discs as my interim solution to the EU VAT Changes that affect small business and big alike, I Didn't know before about the changes, had no time to respond.   Any Instrument plan I was going to release this year will at least initially be provided this way.  Hopefully a new Digital Shop will be available again later in the year.   Now back to working wood at least!