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Apr 13, 2021 - 9:15:06 PM
12 posts since 4/9/2021

Salutations,
The bait store down the road regularly cleans Alligator turtles. I asked after a shell which they are willing to give me in trade of tomatoes, beans and some squash when they come in from my garden. Can one make a banjo from a turtle shell?

Apr 13, 2021 - 9:17:14 PM
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12 posts since 4/9/2021

Oops! Though the 1st one did not go through. Delete one plz? Sorry....
Sorry

Apr 13, 2021 - 9:24:35 PM

55 posts since 1/11/2020

You could. I have seen stringed instruments made from whole shells before so its definitely been done.
Where are you able to get these shells? I'd pay just to own one outright

Apr 13, 2021 - 9:40:40 PM

66 posts since 12/19/2017

I would check with the local authorities. Some states or countries might have a law about the use of the shell. I believe that you can check with the wildlife and fishing department for the best input. I would love to have one if they are legal.

Apr 13, 2021 - 10:16 PM

12 posts since 4/9/2021

Cannot sell them, but can trade/give them. I am trading veg from my garden for one "banjo" sized in hope to make it into one.

Apr 13, 2021 - 10:20:43 PM

12 posts since 4/9/2021

@woodchips above message to you.

Apr 13, 2021 - 10:39:13 PM

3 posts since 3/6/2008

well in the case that the alligator turtle you mention is an alligator snapping turtle, a big one could potentially provide a 16” pot (cello maybe). that’s not to say one has to completely shade out a common snapper who, if old enough could provide up to an 11” pot. course either would would comfortably feed a family of 6+ if there’s enough carrots onions and taters.
but don’t disregard the younger specimens cause a picollo or young ladies version could do a fine job. now if you are looking for something clawhammer-esque, a little more plunky or even funky, best consider a nice size softshell. that’s mighty fine eatin too!

Apr 13, 2021 - 11:23:30 PM
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57105 posts since 12/14/2005

If it's good enough for Kirk Douglas, it's good enough for you.

Just make sure it's not currently illegal to use the shell.

Apr 14, 2021 - 2:50:46 AM
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241 posts since 5/25/2015

There's a North African instrument called a Gunibri, that's often made from a tortoise/turtle shell with a skin stretched over it, so its a similar idea.


Edited by - gentrixuk on 04/14/2021 02:56:23

Apr 14, 2021 - 7:36:34 AM

3716 posts since 3/28/2008

In ancient Greece lyres were sometimes made from tortoise shells.

Apr 14, 2021 - 7:38:37 AM

1448 posts since 2/9/2007

now there is a good idea.
ought to make one baaddass lookin banjer

Apr 14, 2021 - 7:54:55 AM
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Jim Yates

Canada

6718 posts since 2/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by mike gregory

If it's good enough for Kirk Douglas, it's good enough for you.

Just make sure it's not currently illegal to use the shell.


You beat me to it Mike.
It's right at the end of this video.
Whale Of A Tale
 

Apr 14, 2021 - 11:58:07 AM

44 posts since 4/26/2018

When I was in school at Berea there was an old guy who would come to the craft fairs. He made mandolins out of turtle/tortoise shells. He was old in the 1980's, so probably not alive any more. I believe that he was from Georgetown, KY. No banjos, though.

Apr 14, 2021 - 2:11:49 PM

johnedallas

Germany

162 posts since 2/18/2005

FWIW, South American churrangos used to be made with an armadillo shell as the back of the body. As far as I know, this is now strictly outlawed. All the churrangos you see in Europe these days are of all-wood construction.
Cheers,
John

Apr 14, 2021 - 4:57:03 PM

3465 posts since 4/29/2012

quote:
Originally posted by johnedallas

FWIW, South American churrangos used to be made with an armadillo shell as the back of the body. As far as I know, this is now strictly outlawed. All the churrangos you see in Europe these days are of all-wood construction.
Cheers,
John


Not strictly true. A guy who used to attend our session, but is in real life a 'proper' musician and talented multi-instrumentalist turned up one night with a real armadillo charango taht he'd just acquired. It's got a fearsomely weird re-entrant tuning but by the end of the evening he sounded like he was born in Bolivia. One of us even said 'I hope he brings that rat with a stick up its arse next time'. Almost as gruesome as the Polish  bagpipe played by another friend where they didn't bother to remove the head from the goat when they inserted the various pipes.

Edited by - AndrewD on 04/14/2021 16:57:20

Apr 14, 2021 - 5:04:40 PM

1448 posts since 2/9/2007

quote:
Originally posted by luthier65

When I was in school at Berea there was an old guy who would come to the craft fairs. He made mandolins out of turtle/tortoise shells. He was old in the 1980's, so probably not alive any more. I believe that he was from Georgetown, KY. No banjos, though.


Just a bit smaller than a standard mandolin, a "prim" tamburitza was traditionally made with a turtle-shell back.
Apr 14, 2021 - 6:07:13 PM
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8430 posts since 8/28/2013

A banjo made from a turtle shell is only good for playing slow tunes.

Apr 15, 2021 - 2:33:11 AM

johnedallas

Germany

162 posts since 2/18/2005

quote:
Originally posted by G Edward Porgie

A banjo made from a turtle shell is only good for playing slow tunes.


So if you want to play really fast fiddle, you should get a bow strung with hair from a racehorse's tail?

Apr 15, 2021 - 1:08:18 PM

4673 posts since 2/24/2004

If you feel you have the ability to build a cigar box banjo -/you could probably build a turtle banjo . Why not just plant gourds in your garden & try that first? It's bound to smell better :)

Best Banjo wishes,

www.maryzcox.com

Apr 22, 2021 - 12:10:59 PM

3 posts since 3/6/2008

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