The Harpsichord Project E-book

A Construction Guide for the First Time Builder
Ernest Miller Harpsichords


"I bought your e-book for my father. Basically he started to build an èpinette Goujon as a first project. The result motivated him to start another instrument. His second project is a harpsichord, which he is still in building right now. He asked me to thank you for your brilliant work. Your book is a key documentation for him for techniques & tips (he even loaded it in his smartphone, just to have it with him at all time!). Your work can inspire people at thousands of miles from you."
Aubin & Alain Revert - Montbeliard, France

"If there is anyone considering building a harpsichord, look no further. You've stumbled on the best instructional book available for building a harpsichord from scratch. How do I know? I'm building one, and the directions are clear and concise, and should have a question, Ernest Miller is always happy to answer them. Ernie has built quite a few harpsichords so any problems you may think you'll encounter, and a few you may not. Ernie has been there and keeps you alert when something has to be right on. So if you don't want to plop down a few grand for a kit, or some plans for twice the price of Ernie's ebook. Read the sample pages on his web site, or send him an email. It's a rewarding build."
Rich Jourdain - Malta, Illinois

"The Harpsichord Project is the most comprehensive source of building know-how available to us. Anyone fired with the ambition to construct a harpsichord will find valuable information here on how to make use of existing skills and learn new ones along the way."
Frank French - San Francisco, California

"I would like to express how grateful I am, and how much respect I have for Maestro Ernest Miller. I appreciate how helpful he is in answering any and all questions I have regarding the harpsichord. His knowledge is surpassed by no other regarding all of the secrets of the instrument. With All My Gratitude and Respect" Mario Vasquez - Mesa, Arizona

"Ernie Miller has provided an invaluable guide for building your own beautiful Flemish harpsichord. While other resources give notable accounts of historical instruments from a scholarly perspective, the Harpsichord Project e-book is the clearest step-by-step instruction manual you can find that will take you through the process of turning lumber and wire into a beautiful sounding instrument. Every page, photo, and illustration displays the author's long-lived fascination with the instrument. his experience as a teacher, and his desire to share his professional harpsichord building experience. With the e-book in-hand you become an apprentice in a virtual workshop where the master's answers to your questions are only an e-mail away. If you are perseverant (not necessarily patient), have access to basic woodworking tools, and are drawn to building one of the most successful designs in harpsichord history you will be rewarded with a journey leading to an instrument that will truly be your own."

David Wait - California, USA

"I had dreamed of building a harpsichord for many years but never thought it was possible unless it was to be a kit. The problem for me is that kits are quite expensive and not as rewarding as building something from scratch. Then one day I saw an article in American Woodworker about a man who built harpsichords and learned that the process was being documented on a woodworking forum, but that would not be enough detail to actually build an instrument. I immediately contacted Mr. Miller and we struck up a correspondence about instrument building that has lasted for over four years. When he told me about the ebook project I was thrilled that finally there would be something detailed enough to be able to achieve this desire of mine to build one. I may have even been the first person to get the first edition! I immediately began the process of building my harpsichord following Mr. Miller's method and have progressed quite far along. He has been extraordinarily patient in answering my myriad questions about details and has made updates to the ebook along the way which have been made available to all of the subscribers. He never hesitates or delays in responding to my inquiries. After a while, version 2.0 came out and it was indeed improved, with more detail, more video and illustrations, etc. Now version 3.0 has been released and it is even better than before with many visual improvements and improvements in the navigation. The quality of the drawings and the detailed descriptions have been enormously helpful in actually executing the project. This ebook in my opinion has finally put to 'paper' something that has been completely lacking in the harpsichord literature, a 'book' which describes the complete building process. There is nothing else out there that provides this kind of needed information. This ebook for me is nothing less than monumental and were it not available I would still be dreaming about building an instrument. The value of the information contained in this ebook far exceeds its very low cost. I would encourage anyone of has any inkling of building a harpsichord, or simply enjoys reading about instrument construction to get this book!"
Neal Carey - Woburn, Massachusetts, USA

"I of course endorse your product. I wish I had it when I was a teenager trying to build my first harpsichord from scratch. There was not much info back then, and it was a real struggle trying to figure things out from just photos. So if your readers are thinking about building a harpsichord and possibly making it a career, your book gets them well on their way in the right direction. This industry has so many craftsman that guard their so called "secrets", it is refreshing to find one that shares his craft. Well done!"
Chris Chernobieff - Maryville, Tennessee, USA

"When I shyly began my internet search for designs and construction manuals in my language (Italian), I didn't find anything that was interesting until I came across Ernest Miller's website. Here I found the e-book and more importantly the demo version. Since it was free I downloaded it immediately. Once opened I found wonderful designs (that are more valuable than a translation) and exceptional didactic program: Miller explains step-by-step everything that needs to be done but more importantly what should not be done. By following the sequence of illustrations one is able to proceed with the constructions without making serious mistakes. I calculated the time I needed and converted my laboratory for this task and purchased the complete version. Wonderful. It is even a joy to spend an evening just reading (ah, with Google Translator one is able to obtain a "sympathetic" translation in Italian or in your own language) the book and free your imagination on how to build your own harpsichord. In addition, the designs on Autocad are perfect. The guide of supplies that are needed with necessary quantities, sizes and even the catalog numbers of suppliers are useful.
          The only difficulty, for those like me that use the metric system, are the instructions in inches. (Editor's Note: Version 4.1 now includes metric measurements) However, I solved this problem by printing a conversion table of inches to millimeters that I always keep on my work table. Even the designs in Autocad are able to adapt to the UNI system with the "scale" function dividing by 2.54 (to obtain the measurement in centimeters). An Italian proverb says "The Master creates the tools and the tools create the Master" and Ernest, in being one, indicated how to create tools specific to build some parts.
          Another thing to mention is the continuous updates and assistance that can be found online: whenever I sent Miller a question he always responded after a few hours. I have started construction of my harpsichord about one month ago (with only a few free days to dedicate to it) and I am currently working on the key board and I was able to appreciate the quality and value of this e-book whose price is less than a single 1:1 scale design that can be found in the market.
          I'll end with a deep sense of gratitude to the author for his bravura, for his intelligence and his generosity. I hope to complete the construction of the harpsichord shortly and, if it plays well, I would like to add the pictures and a video of the inaugural concert on this website." (Editor's note: Click the the Reader's Work tab to see and hear the completed instrument.)

Gregorio Iacobelli - Direttore d"Orchestra
Docente al Conservatorio di Musica
Niccolò Piccinni di Bari, Italy

"Being an early instruments player for more than 15 years, I decided to learn to build my beloved types of instruments - lutes, baroque guitars and viols. I became a lutherie high school student and there is no major issue on how to build the stringed instruments. But having passion also for harpsichords and seeing how difficult it might be to build them, there was just a little hope I could ever try that. Pressurized by need to have at least spinet for our ensemble, I tried to contact the only builder around - unfortunately his feedback was not positive. And then ... miracle happened when discovering Ernie's Harpsichord project. That opened the way not only by having such excellent instruction, but also by Ernie's generous - and I think rare - fathership like approach to new builders. Having such great support enables me to realize my big desire. The cost of the Harpsichord project is absolutely not related to the amount of experience, clarity and general excellence of the instruction. Ernie, even big thanks cannot balance the value you offered to us."
Jiri Arnet
Czech Republic, Europe

"Compared to all the other "How to Build a Harpsichord" books and web sites I've seen (and I think I've seen them all), your book is best by orders of magnitude. I was despairing of ever beginning such a project until I found your book. While I'm always up for a challenge, I need at least a hope for success. Your book provided that, and then some!"

Jim Browerv Berrien Springs, MI

"Your eBook has changed my life by making it better. Until I found your book, I was building guitars in a half-hearted manner. Now, the harpsichord project has transformed my little shop into a sacred space. Please know that you have impacted me in a positive way that has given meaning to my life once again. I thank you from the deepest recesses of my heart."

Darin Molnar
Portland, Oregon

"The Harpsichord Project e-book is really great. Thanks for writing it! Without it, I would probably never have managed to build a functioning harpsichord. Now the instrument is slowly taking form, and it is of such beauty that I would never have thought myself capable of. To build this instrument is a wonderful experience. Thank you very much." (Editor's note: This testimonal was written years ago when Nicolas was in the early stages of the construction. The following testimonial was submitted this year when the instrument was completed. )

Nicolas Piller
Zurich, Switzerland

"You wrote in your last email: "I am proud to have played a small part in your dream of harpsichord ownership." But it is so much more than that. It is a pleasure to build something beautiful with wood. It is a pleasure to learn about techniques, some of which have been used by harpsichord builders for centuries and some of them are totally new. I profited so much from your experience. It is a beautiful project and hobby for a decade (and maybe more, if I decide to buiid a second harpsichord.) It is the pleasure of finally having a beautiful harpsichord with a great sound at home. And all this would have been completely impossible with your E-book."

"You mentioned that, at the time you started to build harpsichords, a harpsichord builder spent a lot of his time explaining and showing you how to do it and that it was a wonderful present. By writing your E-book, you gave me and other first time harpsichord builders who use your E-book the same wonderful present. Thank you so much!" (Editor's note: Click the the Reader's Work tab to see and hear the completed instrument.)

Nicolas Piller
Zurich Switzerland

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