Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

329
Banjo Lovers Online


Apr 2, 2024 - 1:07:21 PM
likes this
1370 posts since 3/21/2013

I recently picked this up from a vintage seller, it's being shipped to me this week. It was sold as decor, but everything appears to me that this had a skin head over the gourd at one time. The seller often times picks estates and sells 1800's vintage, but they dont often have details on many of the things they sell and most definitely dont deal instruments, but home decor and antique clothing/quilts.

I am guessing too that something like this would be pretty difficult to date, but my eyes were noting the details I could see: mainly being the nail heads looked pretty old, the neck looked like it was done with handtools, crudely. I realize it lacks tuners and I wondered if perhaps the nails had served that purpose, or perhaps this was some hybrid primitive folk instrument with 2 strings or so and maybe played with a bow. I also realize the irregular oddity of the fingerboard and the coloration of the interior dowel VS the neck. (I sat looking at these pictures for over an hour last nite trying to figure out hand tool marks and zooming in on details, etc)

If nothing else, it may stay as decor. however I thought if it wasn't of historical significance, it might give me some insight into gourd banjo construction. so regardless of what it might be, I thought i would share it with the group and see if anyone had any further insight into this piece. Thanks in advance!








Edited by - jun3machina on 04/02/2024 13:12:20

Apr 2, 2024 - 1:36:14 PM
likes this

1776 posts since 3/1/2012

Sweet! No idea how old or how functional, but nice find.

Apr 19, 2024 - 7:04:10 AM
likes this

527 posts since 1/26/2020

quote:
Originally posted by jun3machina

I recently picked this up from a vintage seller, it's being shipped to me this week. It was sold as decor, but everything appears to me that this had a skin head over the gourd at one time. The seller often times picks estates and sells 1800's vintage, but they dont often have details on many of the things they sell and most definitely dont deal instruments, but home decor and antique clothing/quilts.

I am guessing too that something like this would be pretty difficult to date, but my eyes were noting the details I could see: mainly being the nail heads looked pretty old, the neck looked like it was done with handtools, crudely. I realize it lacks tuners and I wondered if perhaps the nails had served that purpose, or perhaps this was some hybrid primitive folk instrument with 2 strings or so and maybe played with a bow. I also realize the irregular oddity of the fingerboard and the coloration of the interior dowel VS the neck. (I sat looking at these pictures for over an hour last nite trying to figure out hand tool marks and zooming in on details, etc)

If nothing else, it may stay as decor. however I thought if it wasn't of historical significance, it might give me some insight into gourd banjo construction. so regardless of what it might be, I thought i would share it with the group and see if anyone had any further insight into this piece. Thanks in advance!


This looks more like an Akonting or someting similar, which is a cousin to the banjo

Apr 19, 2024 - 7:13:41 PM
likes this

350 posts since 6/23/2013

Probably did not have tuners but used a method of looping the strings around the upper part of the neck and then sliding the looped end up the neck to get the desired pitch.

Apr 20, 2024 - 12:31:04 PM

2436 posts since 2/9/2007

An interesting puzzle there! How big is it? Looks sort of small for a banjo. Reminds me a bit more of a West African one-string fiddle (njarka, etc.) than it does an ekonting or other plucked instrument. In the absence of any provenance, it's possible it's a fairly recent African tourist-trade decorative piece. It could also be a unique and very historically significant African-American artifact.

How about some macro closeups of any surviving tacks or other metal? I bet someone here (other than myself!) could come up with some idea of where and when those were made. A specific ID on the species of the neck wood could help place it. Also, is that a gourd or a calabash?

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Privacy Consent
Copyright 2024 Banjo Hangout. All Rights Reserved.





Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.1367188