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!!!
A lot of guesswork went into this one. Decided it needed a homemade twig bow too.
It looked like a 3 stringer from the pic.
Most of the details were hard to make out in the pic but I didn't see a fingerboard so I went without one.
Wow very well done.
That's awesome, nice work Jim!
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!
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.