Technical Library

ACTION VI: Delrin conversion

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Goble harpsichord jacks 32K jpeg

Two Goble harpsichord jacks: The one on the left retains its original leather plectrum, while the one on the right has had the original tongue replaced ready for a delrin wedge to be inserted and voiced.

Delrin conversion…
The original leather plectra of many harpsichords made in the 1950s and 60s are well past their use-by date. As a consequence, most of these twentieth century revival instruments now have unreliable touch, with weak, broken or missing plectra. Few makers or technicians consider it good practice today to try to replace the original leathers with fresh, but these instruments can be resurrected by converting the tired leather plectra to delrin or celcon and revoicing.

We have movies prepared to show the process of delrin conversion in harpsichords by three prominent English makers: Morley, de Blaise and Goble. Each movie has accompanying explanatory text:

We regularly undertake delrin conversions either in the field or our Sydney workshop. The work is tedious and time-consuming. It should be noted that while the touch and reliability will be much improved, the subject harpsichord remains a thirty- or forty-year old instrument with the typical heavy case construction of the period and corresponding lack of tone. (This is reflected in the resale value of these instruments—much reduced from their true replacement cost or in comparison with instruments of decent quality based on historical principles of construction.)




Movie thumb 2K jpeg Movie 1K gif Morley delrin conversion
Carey Beebe demonstrating the conversion of the original leather plectra to Delrin on a Morley virginal.
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Movie thumb 3K jpeg Movie 1K gif de Blaise delrin conversion
Carey Beebe demonstrating the conversion of the original leather plectra to Delrin on a de Blaise harpsichord.
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Movie thumb 3K jpeg Movie 1K gif Goble delrin conversion
Carey Beebe demonstrating the conversion of the original 4⁠´ leather plectra to Delrin on a 1974 Goble harpsichord.
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