John Rawlinson


Location: Devon
Country: GB

My Latest Followers:

Exukaden Jane Syers Paul Crocker Pierre-Yves Donnio Patricia Delich Geoff Black John Henry John Shaw Robin Thompson


youtube videos: 1
images: 16

I have been interested in traditional English folk music since my teens (I am now retired and in my mid 60s).

I currently have eight mountain dulcimers: 

  • a 3-string hourglass which I bought from Cecil Sharp House in 1966 (for £18). It originally had diamond shaped sound-holes. I then made a 4 string version with 2 friends from school in Maidstone in the 1960s using the other as a template but sadly we sold it;
  • a 4-string hourglass dulcimer made in Kentucky by the amazing Homer Ledford in 1987,
  • a 3-string hourglass dulcimer made in 1978 by David Oddy, the Exeter based luthier who died in 2017. Possibly the first instrument he made.
  • a 4-string hourglass dulcimer I made myself at Halsway Manor in 2016 under the supervision of Kai Töenjes,
  • a 4-string teardrop dulcimer bought in a second hand shop in Bristol around 1980 for £10 made (probably in the 1960s) by “William B. Ellis Musical Instrument Maker Cardiff”. He made dulcimers and folk instruments in Cardiff under the name 'William B. Ellis', from the mid 1960s until 1971. He then moved to in Weobley/Wigmore, Herefordshire, where he became better known as 'Bernard Ellis', maker of early music instruments especially rebecs. He died in Nov 2000.
  • a 4-string hourglass dulcimer made by Bernard Ellis probably in the late 1960s
  • a 4-string hourglass dulcimer made by Bernard Ellis probably around 1972 after his move to Dilwyn, Herefordshire
  • a 6-string hourglass dulcimer made by David Collins in Falmouth, Cornwall in 1988

I tend to play noter drone style with DAA as my preferred major tuning; most of my dulcimers do not have 6½  / 13½ frets so I am something of a dulcimer pedant!

I am also interested in other stringed folk instruments - guitar, 5 string banjo, autoharp, mandocello, and ukulele. I also sing in ‘Wild Harmony’ a small, aptly named, local community choir.

Latest Activity


Latest Group Discussions

John Rawlinson

Strings for a six string

I have just bought a six string and am contemplating experimenting with...
@John Rawlinson 12 years ago - Comments: 5

Latest Audio


Latest Videos


Latest Photos

Dulcimer_Bernard Ellis_3-98.jpg
Dulcimer_Bernard Ellis_3-89_compressed.jpg
Dulcimer_John Rawlinson_Halsway_May 2016_3.jpg
Dulcimer_David Oddy_no 1_1978_Ash & Cedar.jpg
Dulcimer_Triangular_ebay_31-7-2013_added holes.jpg

Latest Forum Discussions


Reverse Capos

Posted: Monday November 12 2012, 2:45 PM
By: @John Rawlinson


02/19/18 11:53:20AM @exukaden:

Thank’s for your warm welcom, I live in  Wellington, Som

Patricia Delich
06/02/14 09:59:11AM @patricia-delich:

Many thanks for ordering the DVD John! We'll be getting it in the post to you today.

john p
05/08/12 07:34:08AM @john-p:

Likewise, great to meet you at the weekend.

Yet another member of the 'Greybeards' club then, I'm beginning to ask myself if this is a dulcimer thing Grin.gif

All the best.

John Henry
04/26/12 04:50:52PM @john-henry:

John, good luck with the South Brent Festival, a great part of the SW to be hosting it ! (I have a good friend who lives there, name of Ian Hay, his place is called the 'Three Barns', he plays a mean Hammered Dulcimer !)


Geoff Black
04/26/12 12:15:01PM @geoff-black:

Hi John

I've just posted a general message on the main UK site about Bristol.

Would be great to see you if you can make it, but I can't guarantee entry because strictly we're part of the festival.

Email me if you want a subtle workaround!


John Shaw
02/21/12 05:13:27AM @john-shaw:

Sorry John. We inadvertently failed to renew our domain name, so the old Hotwells Howlers site is in a sort of disabled afterlife! We're in the process of building a new site ( ), but there's not much on it yet. I haven't got around to updating my profile here yet.

The Hotwells Howlers include some people you may well remember, like Dave Byrne and Harry Langston.

John Shaw
02/14/12 11:46:03AM @john-shaw:

Hello John, and welcome to the high-class social networking site! I remember you from the Lamb. I think you'll be glad you joined here: it's a dream site for anyone interested in the MD. Like you, my interests centre upon English traditional songs and music (But I play a variety of other styles too).

I too have a Homer Ledford dulcimer. Did you buy yours from the Hobgoblin shop in Bristol a year or two back? I noticed that they were selling one around then, and discovered from the online listing of his instruments that it had been bought by someone fom Devon. I bought mine from the sameshop a few years earlier. It was virtually in pieces and my friend John Crocker (John Henry on this site) did a wonderful job bringing it back to life.

Geoff Black
02/13/12 05:22:46PM @geoff-black:

Hi John

Good to have you on board.

If you're a longtime folk (and dulcimer) fan, then no doubt we'll see you at some of the festivals this year? What about Frome or Bristol (where we are likely to have a presence)?

Lovely Ledford instrument - from whom in Bristol did you buy it, if I may ask?


Karen Keane
02/02/12 06:11:30PM @karen-keane:

Hey John and welcome to the site. This is a great place to learn, share ideas, and listen to music. Enjoy!

John Keane
02/02/12 05:08:16PM @john-keane:

Howdy and welcome to the FOTMD gang!

02/02/12 12:17:41PM @phil:

Hi John welcome to the group.

John Henry
02/02/12 12:03:24PM @john-henry:

John ! A welcome to you from the UK/Euopean group within FOTMD, glad you made it here , even if I am jealous of the fact that you are a Ledford owner, lol!


Jim Fawcett
02/02/12 11:03:56AM @jim-fawcett:

Hey John, welcome aboard. Glad ya found us.