We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
There is currently a revival of "cigar box" guitar making. This is partly due to the fact that an electric guitar doesn't need such great resonance - but also due to a folk awakening. Some of these homemade instruments have a great sound.
The use of metal pie plates or biscuit tins yields a homemade version of the steel guitar/banjo.
The case in which that guitar rests is an antique. I have one just like it, custom fitted to my Martin 3/4 size classic guitar, which my uncle found for me in New York City in 1945. I worked all that summer as a hospital ward aide before I went off to college, to pay him for the guitar. [This is a very good way to get to appreciate things given to them by devoted family.] The guitar, by the way, was made by Martin when he first emigrated to the States, and is marked inside the sound box with the legend "Martin - New York." Which means that it was made by him before the Martin factory moved to New Jersey, and therefore the instrument is over 100 years old. It plays like a Stradivarius of guitars, by the way.
That's an interesting guitar. You don't see many instruments with quilted maple bodies and necks with spruce sound boards. It looks like an iron wood fretboard to boot. The fretting is kind of curious - I've never seen a guitar with anything similar. That combination fretboard is also interesting - I'd bet good money it was tuned in open chording - probably E or G given the short length of the neck.
I few years back, I became fascinated by Maraichi music - in particular the guitarrón mexicano . My buddy Dick Erickson of Re-Tunes found one for me and I played it for all of two weeks - I didn't have the hand or arm strength to deal with the constant damping of the strings - that's a tough instrument to play.
With respect to the banjo, eh. As a solo instrument, it gets on my nerves. As part of a bluegrass band, I can dig it. :>)
This is my current love affair - an Ibanez AK95 DVS with custom WB hand wound pickups - Heaven and Hell edition. :>)
That's a nice little history of the banjo. Thanks for posting.
I've never thought of the banjo as ominous or menacing (certain scenes from Deliverance not withstanding), but it is loud. I've recently begun plunking around on one, and it's not an easy instrument to play quietly. Quite the contrary, it's an instrument that insists on making its presence known.