Hurdy Gurdy

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Forum topic by Jim Jakosh posted 08-16-2014 11:54 AM 2013 views 2 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jim Jakosh

20600 posts in 3134 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

View CFrye's profile


10247 posts in 1868 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

4950 posts in 3989 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.


View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3363 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

10123 posts in 4081 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

20600 posts in 3134 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!!

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3577 posts in 2280 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!

View peteg's profile


4299 posts in 2852 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

View Tony_S's profile


871 posts in 3112 days

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


-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

View NoThanks's profile


798 posts in 1558 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!

View Grumpy's profile


24001 posts in 3880 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

2520 posts in 3712 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. Your best teacher is your last mistake.

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Jim Jakosh

20600 posts in 3134 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!!

View doubleDD's profile


7444 posts in 2072 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.

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2833 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. Keep your dust collector fed.

View mafe's profile


11732 posts in 3118 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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