VIDEO & PHOTOS: Jim Morris Re-Creates Historic Fiddle from Just a Photo

Several months ago, I posted this photo from the 1890's in a Cigar Box Nation email with the challenge for somebody to make a similar instrument.  The young man in the photo was from Savannah, GA and is playing a crude violin.

Jim Morris of Springfield, WV immediately took the challenge.  Morris, a fantastic old time guitarist and fiddle player, has been featured in previous Cigar Box Nation features, including Gus Cannon's Frying Pan Banjo (article link).  I must first mention that the photo posted in the original email was a lot smaller than the cleaned up version above.  

Here is his version along with builder's comments.  Great work, Jim!!!

Fiddle copied from Shane's pictureA lot of guesswork went into this one. Decided it needed a homemade twig bow too.

Fiddle copied from Shane's picture

It looked like a 3 stringer from the pic.

Fiddle copied from Shane's picture

Most of the details were hard to make out in the pic but I didn't see a fingerboard so I went without one.

Fiddle copied from Shane's picture

Fiddle copied from Shane's picture

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Wow very well done.

That's awesome, nice work Jim!

Thanks Korrigan

Wow! Very inspiring work Kim!

Thanks Q

Thanks Shane for putting this on the page. And thanks for posting the larger, cleaned up photo since I can now make out what appears to be a carrying bag complete with a side pouch for the bow on the ground at the musician's left foot. Now I gotta make one of those too!

Jim, you keep outdoing yourself. Very cool.

Thanks Bob. I had fun with this one!

 I feel like I just looked thru a time portal and watched a guy in the 1860's play 'Cotton Eye Joe' on a homemade fiddle. Beautiful absolute authenticity. We adore that voice too----pure American folk/country with a dumptruck load of gravitas. 5 stars for the build, 5 stars for the performance, 5 stars to Jim Morris for existing, and 5 stars to Shane Speal for all the excellent content he brings to this site.

Thanks Poopshoe. I think Shane deserves a ton of credit for his research and bringing these things to our attention. I'm pretty sure I'd never have made this , or several other instruments, if he hadn't posted pictures or other info about these old homemade things.

Takes a lot to impress me at my age but I'm impressed.

Thanks a bunch Milt.


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