Sunday, December 7, 2008

Quiet Mornings & Unheated Workspaces

The winter chill is making it difficult to enjoy the pleasures of woodworking. In the mornings as I wait for the temperature to approach something close to bearable, I have been designing a new instrument, my take on the obsolete mandolin-banjo, sometimes referred to (incorrectly) as a banjolin.

Late mornings and afternoons are spent jigging up, then it's back inside for hot tea.



Anonymous said...

Funny, I heard it was a Mandjo.

Randy said...

I always called it a banjolin, but apparently a banjolin is just like a mandolin-banjo, only with a single set of four strings, tuned like a fiddle. The mandolin-banjo has a double set of strings (8 in total) just like a mandolin. Don't get the bonjolin confused with a banjo-uke, which also has four strings....

There was a time in the late 1800's/early 1900's when a lot of colleges had banjo clubs, and banjo bands. Everyone played a banjo, even if it just resembled a banjo. And the bands were large too. I'll try to post a photo of an old banjo band if I can find one.

I've never had the privilege to hear an all banjo band, but I guarantee it was a glorious, glorious sound.

Anonymous said...

It's an mandolin. It's a banjo. It's a mandjello! I'm excited about my mandjo, banjolin, mandolin-banjo!!!

Nice work on the sketch Randy. Have fun with the project. Remember you have complete artistic freedom.

Wood carvings are cool, but no elaborate inlays. I'd prefer not to be the string band's answer to Liberace.

I can't wait to play my mandolin-banjo!

By the way, Kudzu String Band is my kind of "regressive bluegrass".

Bass banjo... Need I say more...

Jason Townsend

Randy said...


I'm glad that you are excited about the mandolin-banjo. I started on the prototype yesterday. I got the neck roughed out and a fingerboard ready to go. Waiting on clamps to make the pot...they should be here next week. I'm rolling along steadily, but the forecast calls for snow on Thursday, so I may have to take a short winter break. But, hey, it's Alabama, so it will probably be in the 70's next week.

Thanks for the links, they were fun.