BANJERS: GOURD BANJERS 2

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As I was shaping another “singer” scroll I noticed a resemblance to George Washington. I burned his likeness into the peg head and his arms and accomplishments onto the gourd. The very first tune it played was “Yankee Doodle.” $500.

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These two instruments were made from the same beautiful pear-shaped gourd. One has a simple scroll with notches around the edge and the other has a fleur-de-lis [sold]. They both have 5-string necks in flame maple with tailpieces in oak. The notched banjer has a pair of small pin holes in a triangular pattern in the head (carrying out the notch motif), such holes being common from the Sahel to Central Asia and almost diagnostic of skin-faced instruments. $500. [It can be heard on my CD, track 3.]

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This gourd was very heavy so I cut only a small slice off the top. The shell was extremely thick so I decided to utilize it in a design to show through a translucent calfskin head. The resultant sound was so brilliant I pierced several decorative holes in the shell to mellow it somewhat. It is still, by far, the loudest banjer I have made. $500.

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Most modern makers utilize round gourds with only a slice off the top and though I generally prefer to cut more interesting shapes in half, I have made a few of the more common form. This is another one of those but not nearly as loud as the one to the left. The neck is beautiful spalted red maple with a slightly fan-shaped scroll. $500.

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