Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

Banjo Lovers Online

Antique parlor guitar/banjo goatskin conversion!

Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!
Dec 5, 2019 - 6:57:34 PM
like this
52 posts since 10/23/2016

It's been a while since I've posted anything here, but I've been having fun and doing some interesting things that relate to the banjo universe. This 1892 Martin 2-21 parlor guitar was a basket case. Sadly, it was in such bad shape that a restoration to anything like "original condition" was not feasible. I decided, instead, to add a circular brace to the underside of the heavily damaged top, and tack a stretched goatskin to it. And, I did a LOT of other things to it to make it actually playable...too many to innumerate here. It's a really cool little guitar, now, but it's an absolutely great, unique-sounding banjo, when I swap the 6th-string out for a thin, high-tuned, thumb-string/drone. Here's a short demo video. The tune is "Flying Indian"; I do it in both "uppicking" and frailing.

Dec 5, 2019 - 7:13:57 PM

53257 posts since 12/14/2005

Looks good, sounds good.
While the old Mr. Martin may be saddened by the unavoidable fact that one of his babies was beyond restoration to ORIGINAL condition, I'll hazard a guess that  he'd be happy to know that it is still making good music, much as I was happy to see my niece-in-law  walking down the aisle of St. Hedwigs, with other than her original legs, just a few months after surviving a car crash.

Now, is there any video of you playing the stainless steel popcorn bowls, in the background?

Edited by - mike gregory on 12/05/2019 19:18:10

Dec 5, 2019 - 7:26:19 PM

7486 posts since 1/7/2005

Hi Fred. Good to see you back. The little parlor guitar sounds mighty sweet.
I love bringing old instruments back to life. It often involves hours of work that are beyond the resale value of the instrument, but it pays off in the satisfaction of rescuing the old ones.
Years ago I found a similar basket case at our local Santa Cruz flea market. It was a late 19th century Martin model 2-17. I bought the poor old thing for $10 and spent way too many hours bringing it back to life. But it was rewarding work, in it's own way.


Dec 6, 2019 - 5:54:15 AM



2716 posts since 10/23/2004

Love to see your stuff, Freddie. know what I mean.

Dec 6, 2019 - 6:19:48 AM

440 posts since 4/13/2011

Very cool and sweet sounding conversion.

Dec 7, 2019 - 3:45:29 AM

4757 posts since 5/14/2007
Online Now

That was fun. Thank you!

Dec 10, 2019 - 7:13:12 PM

52 posts since 10/23/2016

Thanks, y'all! Mike Gregory, regarding the stainless steel "popcorn bowls", I'm sorry to disappoint, but no recordings available. They do sound very cool, though, both struck and "bowed", and I always suspect would make fine banjo pots, too!

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories