We're often asked 'Is a hurdy gurdy difficult to play'?
There are levels of sophistication that develops with practice, but at it's core one hand is cranking the wheel while the other presses buttons.
In our opinion it's reasonable to expect to play a basic song within a few minutes of tuning up for the first time (our lesson book walks you through this). See the top video for a brief demo of how a Hurdy Gurdy works.
The thing that proves tricky for a lot of newbie players is the regulation of the instrument, in other words keeping everything adjusted properly.
When working with a hurdy hurdy,there's two main things you'll have to take care of on an ongoing basis:
1) Rosin the wheel - the wheel acts like a violin bow. As with a violin bow, you must periodically apply rosin to it.
2) applying / changing cotton on the strings- the strings are wrapped with little wisps of cotton where the intersect the wheel. The purpose of this is twofold- it sweetens the sound a little, and it helps the strings last longer.
While these things aren't that difficult, they must be done just right to get the best tone. Check out the video to the right for a quick demo on rosin & cotton.
Hopefully this gives you an idea of what to expect. Our lesson book and help videos cover these and all other maintenance items in full detail, to make sure your instrument sounds it's sweetest at all times.