How to Make Lyre

The lyre is a fascinating instrument that has been used for centuries, producing soothing and enchanting music. If you’re a music lover and looking for a new instrument to add to your collection, why not try making a lyre? Making a lyre can be a complex process, but with the right materials and instructions, it can be a rewarding and satisfying experience.

In this article, we will take you through the step-by-step process of making a lyre, from selecting the materials to playing the finished instrument. Whether you’re a skilled woodworker or just starting, this guide will help you create a beautiful and unique lyre that you can enjoy for years to come.

What is Lyre?

A lyre is a stringed musical instrument that has been in use for thousands of years. It has a hollow body with two curved arms, which are joined by a crossbar. The strings are stretched between the crossbar and the soundbox and are plucked with the fingers or a plectrum to produce sound.

The lyre has a long history and has been used in many different cultures, including ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt. It was often used in religious ceremonies, festivals, and other cultural events. The lyre is often associated with classical music and is still used today in orchestras and ensembles.

Lyres come in many different shapes and sizes, with variations in the number of strings and the tuning system. Some lyres are small and portable, while others are large and ornate. They can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, metal, and even bone or ivory.

Overall, the it is a fascinating instrument with a rich history and a unique sound. It continues to be a beloved and cherished instrument for musicians and music lovers around the world.

how to make lyre

Lyre Making: step by step

Materials needed:

  • Wood for the frame (maple, cherry, or other hardwoods)
  • Wood for the soundboard (spruce, cedar, or other softwoods)
  • Strings (nylon, gut, or other materials)
  • Tuning pegs
  • Bridge pins
  • Glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Tools (saw, drill, chisels, files, clamps, and carving tools)

Step 1: Designing the Lyre

The first step in making a lyre is to design the instrument. This involves choosing the type of lyre you want to make, the number of strings, the shape of the body and arms, and the tuning system.

There are many types of lyres to choose from, including the Greek, Welsh, and Irish harp. Decide on the type of lyre you want to make and sketch out the basic design. Take note of the size and shape of the lyre, as well as the number of strings you want to use.

Step 2: Gathering Materials

Once you have a design, the next step is to gather the materials you will need to make the lyre. The most important material is the wood for the frame and soundboard. Maple, cherry, and other hardwoods are good choices for the frame, while spruce, cedar, and other softwoods are ideal for the soundboard.

You will also need strings for the lyre, such as nylon or gut strings. Tuning pegs and bridge pins are required to adjust the tension on the strings and keep them in place. Lastly, you will need glue, sandpaper, and tools such as a saw, drill, chisels, files, clamps, and carving tools.

Step 3: Building the Frame

The first step in building the lyre frame is to cut the wood into the appropriate shapes and sizes. Begin by cutting out the main body and the arms using a saw. Then, shape the wood using a chisel and a file. Make sure the arms are angled correctly to hold the strings in place and that the frame is sturdy enough to support the soundboard.

Next, attach the arms to the body using glue and clamps. Make sure the arms are level and at the right angle. Once the glue is dry, sand the frame to smooth out any rough edges.

Step 4: Adding the Soundboard

The next step is to add the soundboard to the lyre frame. Cut the soundboard to the right size and shape and sand it down to a smooth finish. Then, attach it to the frame using glue and clamps. The soundboard should be curved to create the unique sound of the lyre.

Once the glue is dry, you can add the bridge pins to the soundboard. These will hold the strings in place and help to maintain their tension. Position the bridge pins at the appropriate distance from each other and mark where they will be placed. Then, drill small holes for the pins and insert them.

Step 5: Installing the Strings

With the lyre frame and soundboard complete, it is time to install the strings. Begin by attaching the strings to the bridge pins, and tying them in place with knots. Then, thread the strings through the tuning pegs, which are located at the top of the process by winding the strings around the tuning pegs and tightening them until they are at the correct pitch.

Step 6: Tuning and Adjusting

Once the strings are in place, it is time to tune the lyre. Use a tuning app or instrument tuner to adjust the pitch of each string until it matches the desired note. Make any necessary adjustments to the bridge pins or tuning pegs to get the correct tension on the strings.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

Once the lyre is fully assembled and tuned, it is time for the finishing touches. Sand down any rough spots or edges and apply a coat of varnish or oil to protect the wood and enhance the appearance of the lyre. You may also want to add decorative touches, such as carvings or painted designs, to make your lyre truly unique.


Do I need any special tools to make a lyre?

A: Yes, you will need some basic woodworking tools such as a saw, drill, sandpaper, and clamps. You may also need specialized tools like a router or chisel, depending on the design of your lyre.

How long does it take to make a lyre?

A: The time it takes to make a lyre will depend on your skill level and the complexity of the design. A simple lyre with few strings could be made in a few days, while a more intricate design with many strings could take weeks or even months.

How do I care for my lyre?

A: To care for your lyre, keep it in a dry environment away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. You can wipe it down with a soft cloth after each use to remove any dust or debris. You should also replace your strings regularly to maintain the best sound quality.


Making a lyre can be a challenging yet rewarding experience for any music enthusiast. By following these step-by-step instructions and gathering the necessary materials, you can create a beautiful and functional instrument that produces enchanting music. Remember to take your time and pay attention to the details to ensure the best possible result. With your new lyre in hand, you’ll be ready to explore the world of ancient music and create your unique melodies.

also read: Are Cello and Violin Notes the Same

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