Documenting the curious world of the hurdy-gurdy.

Loose tangents

Sudden changes in humidity can result in loose tangents as the tangent expands more than the wooden shaft on which it sits.  Some quick fixes players have recommended for this in recent forum posts include:

  • Use a very thin, even layer of white PVA glue on the shaft, let it dry completely, and then refit the tangent.  Repeat as necessary.  This swells the tangent and provides the necessary friction.
  • Create a very thin wedge from, for example, a sliver from a bamboo skewer or a small strip of paper and insert this in the tangent’s hole before replacing on the shaft.
  • Wrap some hair or cotton around the shaft before replacing the tangent.
  • Remove the tangent, then put the tangent shaft in your mouth for a few seconds, lick it a little, then replace the tangent.  The shaft should expand slightly ensuring the tangent is now firm.
  • Apply a small amount of rosin (solid or liquid form) to the tangent shaft to increase the friction.  Take care that this doesn’t end up gluing the tangent permanently in place!

(Thanks to Geoff Turner, Scott Marshall, Neil Brook, Martyn Robinson, hurdygurdyguy, clarerosephd for postings on the UK Yahoo! hurdy-gurdy forum for these suggestions)