An Ed Stilley 5-string banjo has just been discovered by musician and Stilley historian, Kelly Mulhollan of Still on the Hill. It is one of only two banjos built by Ed Stilley.
As with all other Ed Stilley instruments, this banjo features internal springs, and most surprising of all, a full set of windchimes inside that ring when the banjo is laying flat on the player's lap. Mulhollan says of the banjo, "[it] has an utterly unique metallic setup. Perhaps his most adventurous idea ever. He actually mounted windchimes (or sorts) inside the instrument. They dangle in such a way that they chime only when the banjo is on its back. It make me think this may be the world's first lap steel banjo!" He added, "I do know that Ed supplied a steel slide with at least one instrument."
Here is a photo of the soundhole taken by Mulhollan. The windchimes and springs are visible.
Ed Stilley's life and works have been chronicled in the book, True Faith True Light: The Devotional Art of Ed Stilley, written by Kelly Mulhollan and photographed by Kirk Lanier.
Still on the Hill has just launched a Patreon page where fans can donate monthly to support their music, videos and art. Find out more here. The fascinating duo also runs the Ozark Ball Museum in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
That's beyond kool!!!