FF15 Completed November 2013 – SOLD

Michael Johnson’s Flemish instruments are closely based on the scaling and plucking points taken from the 1637 Andreas Ruckers in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, (Inv. No. MIR 1073). This instrument was chosen because it is one of the few surviving Ruckers harpsichords that has remained almost unaltered.

FF15 - Keyboards

FF15 – Keyboards

The compass of this double-manual has, however, been extended from the original C/E-c3 to FF-f3 chromatic, and in order to keep as close as possible to the original case dimensions, a narrower 18th-century French octave span of 161mm has been used. This did require a new master template and plans to be drawn in order to achieve the necessary compression.

All Michael Johnson instruments have two 8ft choirs, plus a 4ft (2×8+4). There is also a buff stop for the lower manual 8ft choir.  There is a French style draw coupler that will allow the upper manual to be used with the 8ft and 4ft from the lower manual.  Moving the shaped blocks at the bass or treble end of the keyboard will allow the keyboards to transpose, providing A392 or A440 from A415. However, there is a loss of the extreme note from whatever transposition has been made.

Poplar has been used for all of the scantlings and framing on this instrument; a wood very much favoured by the Flemish 17th-century makers.   The soundboard has been made from spruce (Picea Abies) originating from Austria which has been air dried in 7mm boards for 26 years. All of the bridges and nuts have been made from beech and the oak tuning pin plank veneered with soundboard spruce. The keyboard shafts are made in poplar with an ebony veneer used for the natural covers; ebony veneered with casein ivory has been used for the accidentals. Jack blanks are made in beech and hornbeam used for the tongues. Peek is the material used for the tongue return spring and the delrin plectra made from 1mm sheet with a 2 degree taper to the underside of the plectra.

The apron stand with seven turned supports is decorated in an 18th-century French style.   The apron has been given seven ormolu decorations to all corners and the fluted turnings are decorated with ormolu ball feet.   The turnings have wooden threads at the top in order to be removable from the apron for transport.

This instrument is supplied with a David Law tuning key and a fitted transport cover.


Length: 92 inches / 303.6 cms
Width: 38 inches / 96.5 cms
Depth: 11.5 inches / 9.3 cms

This design was created in the year 2000 and has been the total concentration of the Johnson workshop since that year. The reference number R- – is used for all instruments with a compass of GG – d3 that includes both single and double manual instruments.  The serial reference of FF– is used solely for double manual instruments with a compass of FF-f3.