John Henry


Location: Bristol
Country: GB

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youtube videos: 42
images: 97
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videos: 36

A 'Simple Gift', for Nancy Raimond

musician/member name:
Duration: 00:01:26
Played noter/drone on a Yew teardrop MD, based on a supposedly circa 1760's instrument, here fretted to Just tone Temperament, tuned EBB. Should say that the instrument is strung with three strings only, despite appearances !
05/22/15 07:31:11PM @strumelia:

A wall hanger? No way. I was happily flailing away on it today John Henry. Hope to make another video with it soon, with another medieval tune. My Crocker epinette is actually the 'dulcimer' I turn to most often these days, because it's such a sweet little thing to keep right by my desk- I grab it every time I want to try out something "dulcimish".

Right now I have it tuned to F ionian...I think the tuning would be written as: F,f f f,CC, with the two Cs being the melody pair, and just one wound lower drone..? that when on the tonic note at third fret it produces: Ffffff...? Maybe I should call it the Pfffft! tuning? heheheh a real balm for the soul. Gotta love the unison sound.

I am very glad to hear that Mary got some good treatment and is back home again. Big hug to you both.

And always a treat to watch/hear you play- you're a true inspiration to so many folks.

Strumelia ! Thank you for your comment re Mary, she came home last evening and shows signs of some inprovement, having been 'flushed out' as it were ! Glad to hear that little ole Epinette is not a wall hanger !

John Henry
05/22/15 05:15:20PM @john-henry:

Strumelia ! Thank you for your comment re Mary, she came home last evening and shows signs of some inprovement, having been 'flushed out' as it were ! Glad to hear that little ole Epinette is not a wall hanger !


I have had some enquiries as to what is wrong with Mary, so please excuse the brief moment I steal here to save multiple replies. For some time she has been battling with a calcium inbalance, the primary symptom of which is acute confusion, and an inability to carry out most normal tasks (Symptommatic hypercalcaemia secondary to hyperparathyroidism) It appeared to be just about under control within a prescribed drug regime, but recently it became obvious that her condition had worsened to a perceived 'danger level' necessitating an emergency trip to hospital to share time and space with a couple of 'drips' in order to rid her of excess calcium. This was achieved, and an additional, stronger drug prescribed which hopefully will help keep her 'in balance' as it were. To those of you who have enquired, our thanks !

John Henry
05/22/15 11:58:27AM @john-henry:

Thanks Rick, as mentioned previously, I had this ole chunk of badly shaken Yew lurking in a corner of my workshop for years, was going to make HD hammers from it, just never got around to starting. Then I recently remembered that one of the reasons that the Long Bow lost favour in England was the difficuty in getting decent bow staves, as a lot of European Yew it was being used for musical instruments. I had once seen a beautiful lute in Yew, had seen a pic. of this dulcimer, once the two factors gelled, away I went !

best wishes


Rick Kennedy
05/22/15 01:01:13AM @rick-kennedy:

Looks like I missed this video when it was first posted, JH. I echo what others have said--that yew MD has a distinctive sound even through recording devices and my computer speakers. Really, really enjoyed this one.Smile.gif

05/21/15 06:49:43PM @strumelia:

John Henry, I do hope Mary is improving.

I was playing your sweet epinette today, by the way.

John Henry
05/21/15 06:26:35PM @john-henry:

Thanks on both counts Helen, comment appreciated !


Sorry for the time lag in answering, had a torrid week, emergency stay in hospital for my wife, time just evaporated !!!

Helen Seiler
05/18/15 07:39:17PM @helen-seiler:

Really great playing and a beautiful dulcimer JH.

Patty from Virginia
05/11/15 05:29:33PM @patty-from-virginia:

JH, Yes, I suppose the cans would be hard to swallow but they would definitely mask the tasteGrin.gif I wonder if I could be allowed to wrap the S... in bacon?Grin.gif

John Henry
05/11/15 05:27:08PM @john-henry:

Glad to have been able to help in some small way Nancy !

best wishes


John Henry
05/11/15 05:26:08PM @john-henry:

No Patti, you have to take the tins out of the cases and the S... out of the tins before swallowing enters into things (gives you lots of time to anticipate that unique taste !!!


Patty from Virginia
05/11/15 05:15:15PM @patty-from-virginia:

Two cases?! Two? That would be hard to swallowGrin.gifSmile.gif

John Henry
05/11/15 03:11:50PM @john-henry:

Robin, wish you lived a mite closer, I would enjoy listening to you work on it, particularly at this present time !! As for that right hand, as said before, I have never conciously 'worked on it' what it does it does !

Patty, yes, the mean tone will always be my preferred choice, just so much easier to use across the spectrum of music I tend to play, but am glad that you find this one pleasing (two cases now !!!)


John Henry
05/11/15 03:06:24PM @john-henry:

Kevin,BoB, thanks for making comment ! I am beginning to warm to it myself, you may remember I used Bob's calcs. for the just Intonation (thanks Bob ! ) I tend to keep it in 1 5 5, , and am having fun playing over some of the older stuff I used to play.


Robin Thompson
05/11/15 02:41:34PM @robin-thompson:
John, your instrument is a delight to the eyes and the ears! And I'm glad such notice has been taken of how relaxed your strumming hand is. To me, that's the real business end of being a fine player. You know I always enjoy your video offerings! Hugs from me & my guitar player!
Patty from Virginia
05/11/15 12:41:32PM @patty-from-virginia:

Superb!!! I know you prefer mean tone but this one sounds lovely. It really does.

Bob Reinsel
05/11/15 11:28:17AM @bob-reinsel:

JohnH, very nice. That instrument has distinctive sound which I like.

John Henry
05/10/15 11:49:12PM @john-henry:

Thank you for watching Paul, here's hoping your version pleases you, and that you might share it with us ?


Paul Killian
05/10/15 09:07:15PM @paul-killian:

Thanks John Henry. That is one of the songs that I play and am trying to learn in that style. Your playing serve as a model as I work on my version. Thanks, Paul.

Kevin Messenger
05/10/15 06:42:22PM @kevin-messenger:

Very nice John Henry. I like playing this tune also. Our University here plays this song during their opening show a football games, always seems to get the crowd on their feet.

I do like the sound of the Yew dulcimer. Kevin...

John Henry
05/10/15 06:14:11PM @john-henry:

Shaggy ! Gordan ! Thank you for taking time to watch and then make comment, that right hand of mine has been where it is for nigh on 82 yrs, I don't pay too much account to what it does, just so long as it fits in with what I think I should be playing , in this case, 'Simple Gifts'. Just about sums up the pleasure this site is able to generate ( and that's not to play down the exquisite gems which some folk offer )

The site is about to change, not exactly sure when, so thought I would at this time record the immense pleasure and escape it has offered me over the past few years, made some real friends and heard some great music !I If I knew who was responsible for bringing it to us I reckon I might just spare 'em a hug or two ???