In addition to providing instruments for short hirings (such as for concerts), I am the UK’s leading supplier of early keyboard instruments for home rental. For fifteen years, dozens of clients throughout southern England and Wales have discovered the joy of having a harpsichord, spinet, or clavichord in their home in tip-top playing order, without having to gamble thousands of pounds on the experiment.
Each instrument is fully refurbished, to minimise maintenance. There are currently 20 instruments in the collection, ranging from clavichords and small virginals through to large 2-manual harpsichords. Usually, between 3 and 5 are available for immediate rental (see Instruments currently available for rental below).
Clients include both keen amateurs and young professionals. Harpsichord rental allows more than one instrument to be tried out: the only extra cost of changing to a different one is an additional delivery charge.
Rental clients benefit from special terms should they decide to buy an instrument, but many are happy to continue renting, enjoying the flexibility of the arrangement and the confidence of having a full back-up service.
Rental rates are shown alongside each instrument.
The prices quoted are for one month, with a minimum rental period of three months.
Charges are kept low, to encourage the rental to continue long-term. A discount is often available for rentals of 12 months or more.
The delivery charge is variable, according to distance. Delivery to London, for example, is currently £130 to £150. Collection at the end of the rental period is free, however, so the longer the period of rental, the less significant is the delivery charge.
The instruments listed below are ready for delivery, which can be arranged at as little as a fortnight’s notice.
(Click the photos below to enlarge.)
An exceptionally compact instrument
which will suit those with restricted space.
It is only 113cm (44.5”) long.
Compass C - f3. Can be tuned at either to 415 or 440.
Completely refurbished and re-strung. A charming and intimate tone combined with a light touch.
Here’s an identical spinet being played
£50 per month
This instrument was completed in 2016
and is in new condition. It is an enlargement of a 17th
century design by the French builder Lefebvre.
8’ + 8’. Compass GG - d3 chromatic, transposing 415 / 440, with buff stop.
A stunning, extremely compact harpsichord with a pungent, singing tone. Although only 2 metres long, it has an exceptionally good bass.
I made this harpsichord as one of a pair, the first being quickly sold. Due to its success, I am at present building two more to the same design. This example has been used in concert by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Finished in brown and gold. The photo shows its “twin”: identical apart from the base colour.
Available to rent or buy.
Rental charge £85 per month, with a purchase option based on a purchase price of £11,000.
This fine harpsichord was originally
built in 1980, and is now very stable. It has been
completely restored and re-painted, and is a handsome
instrument with a beautiful tone.
The natural keys have solid bone coverings, and the
new fine brass stop knobs make the registers easy to
The absence of a transposer means it should be kept for the most part at one pitch, and it is best suited to low pitch.
GG - d3; 8’ + 8’ + 4’. Coupler. No transposer: normal pitch a - 415.
Length 221cm (87”) Width 85cm (33”)
£100 per month
Completely re-worked, this spinet is strung in
brass and has a very agreeable sweet tone. The “broken
octave” bass offers an almost full chromatic compass
down to GG.
Pitch a=415 or lower.
The hand-finished walnut lid and case, and authentic stand, give this spinet the appearance of an antique.
Length 166cm (65.5”) Width 61cm (24”)
£50 per month
Beautiful instrument dated
1981, in perfect condition.
This clavichord has a full 5-octave compass, and a surprisingly powerful tone.
Length 128cm (50”) Width 44cm (17”).
£60 per month
Five octaves FF - f3. A=415 / 440.
8’(1); 8’(2); 8’+ 8’; 8’ + 4’; buff stop; two organ stops.
This simple instrument is perfect for rehearsals or for outdoor performances (under cover), where it is beneficial to have no need for tuning, or where tuning stability would normally be a problem; and where adjustment of volume and timbre are an advantage. Tone and touch are of course inferior to the “real thing”, but the Roland is ideal for certain situations.
NB. Although an extension lead is provided, mains electricity is essential!
Price subject to negotiation.
This page last updated on 29th December 2017.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about renting an early keyboard instrument for home use.
© 2013-2017 Colin Booth, harpsichordist and harpsichord maker