CHAPTER 4: Dulcimers in the British Isles since 1800 > Dulcimers in London

Harold Davis

Harold Davis was born in the mid 1890s; he bought a dulcimer in about 1910, when he was 15, and paid 7/6d for it, but after that he made a number himself, one of them while living in Canada in the 1920s, where his work as a radio engineer had taken him.

The instrument he played most recently was apparently strung with 12 IV + 10 IV; it had

"only one sharp: all the rest were tonic sol-fa",

and he tuned the dulcimer himself.

It was mostly at parties that he played, though he had also done some busking, "down the gas-works at Christmas"; his repertoire was popular tunes of the day, which he only played with hammers of bent cane, although he had also heard of plectrums being used.

He only played on his own.

When Dave Williams and I visited him he was about to move from his flat into a Home, and having to fit his belongings into a smaller space had sent the dulcimer away with the dustmen a few days before; he left with me, however, a Hawaiian guitar he had made, against the time when I should meet someone who would use it, and with Dave a supply of tuning pins.