Hurdy Gurdy

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Forum topic by Jim Jakosh posted 08-16-2014 11:54 AM 1226 views 2 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jim Jakosh

14353 posts in 2191 days

08-16-2014 11:54 AM

Yesterday at the Buckley Old engine Show I hung around late to hear a few of my friends from our park in Az play music with their friends here in Michigan. They had 11 Dulcimers, 2 Guitars, a Dobro and a Base Fiddle. While they were tuning up I heard what sounded like bagpipes coming from the gent on the end with the top hat. He showed me an instrument I’d never seen before. It is a Hurdy Gurdy and was invented in the 11th century- made of wood of course!
I can’t play any instrument but have great appreciation for those that can- especially by ear!!

The Hurdy Gurdy is a string instrument where the six strings rub on a wheel that is turned and at that time it sounds like a bagpipe but then there are notes added with buttons that move the top two strings. This one was made in 2000 in England. Here are some shots of it and I added a You tube link with some history on it.
This fellow playing it also played a saw with a handle on the skinny end and used a fiddle bow to create the sound. The teeth were ground off so it could not be used in the shop!!!

This is most of the group

Here is some history on the instrument.

I learned something new yesterday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

17 replies so far

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6510 posts in 925 days

#1 posted 08-16-2014 12:15 PM

Interesting instrument, Jim! It does kinda sound like a bagpipe. Are you going to make one?

-- God bless, Candy

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Bill White

4018 posts in 3046 days

#2 posted 08-16-2014 02:24 PM

The Hurdy Gurdy player is supposed to have a dancing monkey with a coin cup used to collect from the watching/listening public. No foolin’. They were street musicians in their time.
Sure don’t see ‘em often.


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14924 posts in 2420 days

#3 posted 08-16-2014 03:53 PM

Pretty cool stuff Jim. Quite an invention too considering when it was first designed.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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Joe Lyddon

8535 posts in 3138 days

#4 posted 08-16-2014 04:43 PM

Yes, interesting instrument…

Reminds me of a Stringed version of Bag Pipes… using Strings instead of air…

OK, are you going to try to Make one? :) ... let alone Play it? :)

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

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Jim Jakosh

14353 posts in 2191 days

#5 posted 08-16-2014 04:47 PM

Hi Candy. No I don’t want to make one, just sharing what I found and maybe someone Lumberjocks may be so inclined….................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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Don Broussard

2637 posts in 1337 days

#6 posted 08-16-2014 05:54 PM

Thanks for sharing that, Jim. I was aware of the hurdy gurdy player with his monkey from pictures or cartoons, but I’d never heard one until watching the video. I imagine they put some kind of rosin on the strings or on the wheel, like violin players do. I also imagine that the strings wear out over the wheel fairly quickly. I learned something today too!

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

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3466 posts in 1909 days

#7 posted 08-16-2014 09:47 PM

Looks like a cool old bunch of Dudes having a blast Jim,
great post mate

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

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515 posts in 2169 days

#8 posted 08-16-2014 10:06 PM


-- Come Heavy...or don't come at all.

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799 posts in 615 days

#9 posted 08-16-2014 10:13 PM

Never heard of one before. Saw this video while I was looking at the one you posted.
This guy has a lots of hurdy gurdy technique

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

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20715 posts in 2937 days

#10 posted 08-17-2014 02:38 AM

Very impressive Jim. Must have been a good day out.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

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Bob Collins

1867 posts in 2769 days

#11 posted 08-17-2014 11:04 AM

Interesting looking instrument Jim, looks like a enjoyable day. Is that what they call a “Hill Billy group”?

-- Bob C, Australia. I love sharing as long as it is not my tools

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Jim Jakosh

14353 posts in 2191 days

#12 posted 08-18-2014 01:36 PM

Every one of these folks are very good on the Dulcimer. In fact they are all involved in this huge dulcimer festival held in Michigan every summer. Some of them play lots of other instruments as well. The lady in the front in blue, Julaine, was the Michigan state champ a few years back and camps in out park in the winter so we hear her every Thursday night.
I just though some one else might find this Hurdy Gurdy as interesting as I did!

Hi Tony- thanks for the Donovan video – I forgot who played that song!!......................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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4008 posts in 1129 days

#13 posted 08-20-2014 03:33 PM

Cool Jim. I remember the song back in my teens. Never new they had a special instrument. Brings back some memories.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

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17850 posts in 1890 days

#14 posted 08-24-2014 08:57 PM

Very cool Jim. Sounds awesome. Close yer eyes, and step back in time with this instrument.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

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10541 posts in 2175 days

#15 posted 12-17-2014 02:10 AM

Amazing instrument.
Looks like quite a day.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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