| What kind of musical instrument could this have been?

What kind of musical instrument could this have been?

Cool Dude asked:

My father was trying to describe a musical instrument he saw long ago. It was like a guitar, he said, but without a neck, and it had a keyboard like an accordian. You could hold it on your lap, and when you hit a key, a rod with a ball on the end struck a string, which sounded like a guitar. And if you held the key down, the sound would repeat rapidly, something like a vibrato. He said he’s never seen anything like it before or since. He saw it at a neighbor’s house almost 80 years ago. What could it have been?
gibson guitar
Thanks! Hurdy-gurdy does seem to fit the description well.

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4 Responses to “What kind of musical instrument could this have been?”

  1. Tessie Lou on May 13th, 2009 5:33 pm

    maybe a zither?
    im not sure though…

  2. Rattlingmurdock on May 14th, 2009 12:14 am

    It somewhat sounds like a Hurdy Gurdy, look it up on Wikipedia.com

  3. schpoopy on May 15th, 2009 11:15 pm

    I’m not sure about the vibrato part, but could it be some sort of dulcimer or auto-harp?

  4. Chase F on May 18th, 2009 4:46 am

    Sounds a lot like a Hurdy Gurdy. They were popular back in the 1910-30s. They had a crank which would make the string vibrate and the keys would be depressed to make the note.