Unusual Instruments

Apache Fiddler
1885
Arpeggione
As played by Berndt Bohman
Swedish Principal Cellist of
Tokyo Symphony Orchestra
(Guitar Damore, Guitar+Violin_Cello)
Made by Osamu Okumura
President Arpeggione Society
Japan


The Arpeggione is a
six-stringed
musical instrument,
fretted and tuned like a guitar,
but bowed like a cello,
and thus similar to the
bass viola da gamba.

The Modern -Arpeggione is a
string instrument built by
Osamu Okumura.
 It is an acoustic, upright -fretted,
seven string instrument
tuned from a bass G up to E
(half-step below the high E on a guitar).
The body is larger than an acoustic guitar,
with an arched fingerboard
and bridge for bowing or picking.

TogaMan GuitarViol
Jonathan Wilson
Sylmar, California
 (Greater Los Angeles Area)
YouTube


Hybrid of Guitar and Bowed-String Instrument
Bowed Guitar Etude

Bowed Guitar Loop

"La Bravura" (non cutaway)  and "La Bastarda" (Cutaway)

Preserve America
A Story of Love:
A Master American Craftsman, Inspired by the Beauty of a Tranquil Place, Invents a Musical Instrument with an Historic Past


Artful Violins

Rubber Glove Bagpipe
Australian Musician
Linsey Pollak


Canjo Bass

Foot Bass
"Basse aux pieds"
Popular Instrument Early 20th Century
Invented by Mr. Joseph Alexandry, Namur, Belgium and patented in 1894

Frankenstein Bass
 


Benioff Cello
The Benioff Violin

Digital
The Black Stone Violin


Photo: Jan Olby

Bohemian Violin


Photos Courtesy of Jon C. Mol
Melbourne, Australia
 
Fourteen pegs: seven playable strings and seven resonating strings
  This is probably a 'viola d' amore' - an 18th century south European
 stringed instrument belonging to the violin family (not viola) 

 
The bow shown is a modern bow and does not belong with this instrument 
   Judging from the fact that it has a scroll
 (and not a finial or stylized head, human or animal)
means that the dating is likely late 18th century

 
The complex sound holes probably mean that this instrument is of Bohemian origin
Bones and Spoons

©Photo by Lois Siegel


Chinese Bluegrass

Chinese musicians, melding their traditional instruments
with American bluegrass instruments
"
Katy Hill" performed by Mei Han's Red Chamber
with John Reischman and the Jaybirds.


Chinese Erhu - Bowed String Instrument

Chocolate Violin
Delice Royal

Ottawa Ontario

Cigar Box Fiddle

Creole musician Joseph "Bebe" Carriere of Lawtell, Louisiana, made this fiddle using a cigar box.
South Louisiana
Cigar Box and Wood
Photo: Thomas A. Wintz, Jr.


Joseph "Bebe" Carriere of Lawtell, St. Landry Parish
Photo: Nicholas R. Spitzer


Cigarbox Fiddle
The North American Fiddler's Hall of Fame

Clackers


Gecko

Crocodile Zither
Mi gyaun (long zither)
 Burma, 19th century

Salvador Dali's Violin





Epinette des Vosges


Fretted Zither of the Vosges Mountains

Jig Dolls


©Photo by Paul Jean
Le Bonhomme
Lois Siegel

Dancing Bill

Dancing Sam
Woody and Marcia McKenzie
Children's Show
Virginia

Jig Doll

Les gigueux
Jig Dolls

Jig Doll Duet by Val Knight at Reading, England

Dancing Limberjack

Dancing Limberjack
Martin Zak
Old Joe Clark



Limberjack
UK, USA, Canada, Australia

Chris Harvey's Jig Doll Circus



©Photo by Lois Siegel
Chris Harvey
"Pierrot"


©Photo by Lois Siegel

Pig

Pipe Grove


Frog
 

Jean Ritchie - Skip to my Lou
With Pete Seeger


10-String Double Violin
Bethanien Kunstlerhaus
1986

Jon Rose Web

Otto Erdesz
Violin-Viola Maker
with John Newton and Joseph Curtin
violin makers he helped at the
start of their careers

Cut-Away Viola
Allowed much easier access to high positions

Fish Fiddle


"Cornerless" Fiddle

 

5 String Chinese Viola (recent)
 in a Baroque "Testore" Style

From the Collection of Jim  Garber

Sievert Copy
by Nick Gent
Daventry,  UK

Philippe Guillerm
 
Wood Sculpture - "Love at First Sight "
Walnut, Maple, Mahogany

Sculpture & Art by Bruce Gray
Distorted Guitar Sculpture
 "Jimi's Nightmare"
Guitars


 Pikasso 42-String Guitar
Pat Metheny
YouTube


11-String Guitar
Jean Baudin Playing an 11-String Base Guitar
YouTube



5-Neck Guitar


HARDANGER FIDDLE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
The national instrument of Norway.
It's most distinguishing feature is
 the four or five sympathetic strings
that run underneath the fingerboard
 and add echoing overtones to the sound


Hardingfele
by Olav Lomundal Norway, 1966
National Music Museum



Hardanger Fiddle

Harp Guitar

The Knutsen Archives



        Image copyright and courtesy Jeff Carr
  
      

One Armed Violin




Chris Knutsen & Family 
Harp Guitar


Acoustic Instrumental Christmas Carol
 c.1915 Dyer Harp Guitar by Gregg Miner
YouTube


Stephen Bennett - Westphalia Waltz
YouTube


H'arpeggione
18-string fretted 'cello/guitar

Harp-O-Chord

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V68 - A Harp-Built-For-Two


©Photo by Lois Siegel
Artwork by Patricia Doyle

Random Sound Musical Instruments
Luthier Don Peddle
Ottawa

YouTube
"Acacia Lyra and the V68 Harp"
Video by Lois Siegel

Cigar Box Harp


YouTube


Esteban Antonio

HaShem
Pictured: The 17 string,
 double-necked guitar
with a harp section called ‘HaShem.'

The HaShem is the first Grand Concert Classical Harp Guitar in the world designed by Esteban,  built by renowned guitar maker, Stephen Hill + Electric model built later in Cornwall,
patented worldwide in September 08.

YouTube


Huiras Instruments Internationale

 


French Hurdy-Gurdy

Helmut Gotschy
Hurdy-Gurdy Maker

Hurdy-gurdy Concert
 Patrick Bouffard & Gilles Chabenat
Over the Water Hurdy-Gurdy Festival
YouTube

 


Viola by Carleen Hutchins
Montclair, New Jersey
 1953

 


Viola Da Gamba
Peter Hütmannsberger


Hyperviolin
©Photo by Eric Jensen

Icelandic Fidla
Intonarumori


Luigi Russolo (left)
Italian futurist painter and musical composer
and his assistant Ugo Piatti
1913

Listen to the sound of Intonarumori

Jig Dolls
 


©Photo by Kasia Korta
Lois Siegel
 Fiddle, Spoons
 Dancing Marionettes

Chris Harvey's Jig Doll Circus


Pierrot


©Photo by Tom Robertson
Lois Siegel Plays the Spoons

Spoons and Dancing Marionette:
Lois Siegel
Piano: Jake Charron
Fiddle: Gordon Stobbe

YouTube


Mr. Pig


Piper Grove


 

Dancing Bill

Dancing Sam
Woody and Marcia McKenzie
Children's Show
Virginia

Jig Doll

Les gigueux
Jig Dolls

Jig Doll Duet by Val Knight at Reading, England

Dancing Limberjack

Dancing Limberjack
Martin Zak
Old Joe Clark

 

Jig Dolls, Limberjacks or Les Gigueux
including:
Dancin' Dolls and Walkin' Mules

 

Jigger Toy

American Painted Wood Jigger Toy, with stenciled patent date of December 1863, figure in the form of black boy with jointed shoulders, hips and knees dancing on a stenciled paddle and blue base with red striping, ht. of figure 8.75, lg of base 16.25 in.




Limberjack
UK, USA, Canada, Australia

Jean Ritchie - Skip to my Lou
With Pete Seeger

Jug Band
Kamancheh
Chief Persian Bowed Instrument


©Photo by Tasic Dragan
Kayhan Kalhor


Aleksander Kolkowski - Portrait in Shellac

Laser Harp


Maggini Violin
History
Manzer Guitars


Pikasso I    
42-string guitar
used by Pat Metheny


Matchstick Violin
Created by Jack Hall
Courtesy of his son Tony Hall
Additional Photographs

 
Glen Campbell playing
the Guinness World Record 1937 Matchstick Guitar
followed by public performances
 by The Matchsticoustic Men
YouTube


American Musical Instrument Society Newsletter
Yehudi Menuhin
Page 17

Mayuri
 Northern India
 19th century
This peacock is a bowed, stringed instrument with movable frets, four principal strings,
 and fifteen sympathetic strings.

Woody McKenzie
Appalachian Alien Dulcimer
Lap Dulcimer


©Photo by Lois Siegel
Montreal World Film Festival, 2002
Performance by musicians
from Inner Mongolia
Moodswinger

Dutch Craftsman Yuri Landman


Mouth Bow
Buffy Sainte-Marie & Pete Seeger
Demonstration

How to Play the Mouth Bow

Musical Bow


Musical Leaf-Whispering Hope

Edleweise


Ornately Decorated Violin Attributed
 to Honoré Derazey
National Music Museum

 
Norwegian Folk Fiddle


©Photos by Lois Siegel
Martine Chiasson
Nyckelharpa



American Nyckelharpa Association


The Orpheon Foundation
Museum of Historical Musical Instruments

Pamela's Unusual Violins 

Paper Bag
Martin Zak

Laura Pharis
 


Tim Phillips
U.K.


Phonofiddle


 

Bennett Williams Play Phonofiddles
 "South of the Border"

1906 Phonofiddle Playing "Galway Bay"
(Yiddish Version)


Piano Stairs
Stockholm, Sweden


Pig Fiddle
Made in England c.1850


Pochette

A dancing master's kit, made c 1780

Menzies Stringed Instruments


Jeff Menzies
Pig Pochette
Pochette pocket fiddle

Guy Rabut Violin Maker
New York City

Recycled Instruments
Romanian Artistic Instruments

Gliga Violins USA

Photos by Peter Schug
Violin by José Sánchez, Germany


Asya Schween
"He's Mine!"
Kodak Endura Metallic Type-C
Print 12" x 17"


Shruti Box
Sruiti Box

C-Octave Shruti and Hang Drum


 Courtesy of  John McVey
Bottle Bell Shawm
Glynn Parry of Bedford Waites Medieval Music Group tests the new Bottle Bell Shawm
made after a carving in Beverley Minster Yorkshire.
He pronounced the instrument a success and added that it was a "nice instrument." 
It is in "D" at 430 Hertz.

Courtesy of John McVey
Shuttlefiddle
John McVey, Felmersham, England, noticed the similarity of pochettes (dancing-master's fiddles) and  the shape of a weaving shuttle. His friend, John Westland
had a smashed violin in his workshop and a weaving shuttle. John McVey put them together to create a Shuttlefiddle.
It sounds just like a violin if used with a pickup and amplifier.

© Keaphoto
The Singing Saw
Iner Souster
Toronto, Canada


Bowafridgeaphone

Listen to the Bowafridgeaphone & Bungee Bass


Bungee Cord Bass



The Fat Body Fiddle


Spoons

Spoons Improvisation by Tran Quang Hai

Meeting Of 2 Kings Of Spoons
Roger Mason Tran Quang Hai


Australia's Got Talent


Spoons


©Photo by Tom Robertson
Lois Siegel Plays the Spoons

Spoons and Dancing Marionette:
Lois Siegel
Piano: Jake Charron
Fiddle: Gordon Stobbe

YouTube


Strange Fiddle

Straw Beating
aka Fiddlesticks
(Chinese Chopsticks)
Straw Beating was found in Colonial America:
Georgia, Florida and North Carolina, Tennessee from about 1880 to 1920

Martin Zak & Radek Spindler - Beating the Straw - Old-Time Mus

Tim Eriksen: Fiddlesticks on Mt. Pollux
Featuring Tim Eriksen and Peter Irvine
"Sandy Boys"

Fiddle Sticks


Maggie Jane and Cassie
Straw Beaters

Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championships
2009


Stroh Violin


Stroh Violin

 


Stroh with Two Horns


 


Stroh Violin


© Photo Daniel Melander
Stump Fiddle

Chip Bailey - Duke Special

Ski Fiddle (Olympic Stumpf Fiddle)


Tamburitza
Croatia
Northampton Community College Luthier Studies
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Eastern and Central Europe
The instrument is never played with a bow but rather with a pick.  
It has strap buttons so it can be held like a guitar.  
It also has a floor stand.




Tamburitza


Hungarian Tambura Ensemble

Three Guitars & a Tractor

Trapezoidal Fiddle 
Felix Savart 1819

Tromba Marina

Trumpet Fiddle
Hammacher Schlemmer


Trumpet Harmonica


Twisted Sisters
by Joe Martin

 

    I have always admired violins that are
 non-standard. It may be they are a refreshing diversion from the glut of normal violins. For years I have been trying to come up with something unique myself.

 

            One thought was to build a violin with
 the neck attached backwards at the lower or wider bought end. The instrument would look drastically different. I speculated that it would
 be harder to play than a standard instrument.
Its string length would need to be shorter
 to place the bridge between
 the F-hole notches.

 

            While thinking about the possibilities of flip-flopping the directions of the boughts,
 I came up with the idea of only switching one side. The thought then came to mind, why not dismantle two identical violins and reassemble them with opposite sides. I do not recall ever seeing a violin constructed in such a manor. To me it seems obvious that someone must have thought of or tried this at one time.
Basically the design can be drawn using a standard half-violin template without
 flipping it over to draw the entire violin outline. 



Joe Martin

 

            I drew the instruments and found their
 f-hole configurations to be amusing.
 One violin would be a left and one a right.
 I thought one would need to be assembled
 as a left hand violin. The bridge placement
appeared to be a problem; one side would set exactly on top of an f-hole. This wasn't enough
 to deter me. I proceeded with the experiment.

 

            My first challenge was to find two violins exactly the same. We carry Samuel Shen instruments at our shop. I happened to have
 two that looked very similar. The only
 difference was that the wood of their backs
 have slightly contrasting grain characteristics.
I proceeded to dismantle the instruments.
Taking apart two perfectly healthy
instruments was an unnerving challenge.
 I was delighted to find that the four plates
 had consecutive serial numbers
 printed on them, which indicated they were made at the same time.

 

            After putting all of my violin repair
 abilities to the test I came up with two good sounding violins. I was surprised when they sounded normal. They actually sound
 as good as or better than the other
 regularly-shaped violins in my shop.

Mop Top Jane


©Photo by Tom Robertson
Ugly Stick
Created by Lois Siegel

with the assistance of Paul Jean

Lois Plays the Ugly Stick
Video by Lisa Connell
Filmed at the Grand Masters Fiddling Championship
By-the-Canal Fiddle Camp
Piano: Troy MacGillivray
Accordion: Joey Dziok

YouTube
Cumberland Museum Heritage and Power Show

 
©Photo by Lois Siegel

Traditional Newfoundland Instrument
Parts: mop, rubber boot, bells, bottle caps, horns,
aluminum pie tin, grooved stick or drumstick


©Photo  by Paul Jean
Lois Siegel and The Ugly Stick
"Mop Top Jane"


©Photo by Lois Siegel

Ugly Stick
Elmer From West Virginia
Band: The West Virginia Swamp Rats
Created by Lois Siegel
with the assistance of Roger Michon



©Photo by Lois Siegel

Ugly Stick
Rat Face
Created by Lois Siegel
with the assistance of Roger Michon


©Photo by Lois Siegel

Ugly Stick
Angel
Created by Lois Siegel
with the assistance of Roger Michon


The instrument is lifted and dropped on the floor
in time with the music, while the musician strikes the attachments
with a grooved stick or drumstick.

 


Photo and Ugly Stick
Created by Arthur McGregor
Constructed entirely using a Swiss army knife


Elaine Blandford
Toronto
Created by Bill Rideout
Twillingate, Newfoundland
Canada










Vasser Clements' Fiddle
Viola d'Amour


The instruments pictured above were made
 in 1772 (?) and 1783
 by Tomaso (Thomas) Eberle,
 an Italian maker of Austrian ancestry
 who is considered a follower of
 the Gagliano school

Viola di Pardone (Baryton)

Essentially, the Baryton is a viola da gamba with six or seven strings
  but with many thin metal strings running under the fingerboard.
 These can be plucked with the thumb of the left hand while the other strings are bowed.

Violano Virtuoso

The Violin Player
Leipzig 1912
National Museum van Speelklok tot Pierement
"Vioolspeler"
Utrecht, Netherlands



Henner Harders
& Susanne Küster

Washboard


David Holt and the Lightning Bolts: Washboard
"Raincrow Bill"

Doug "Little Brother" Jones
 Washboard Demo - Big Fat Mama - Honey Boy

Doug "Little Brother" Jones
 Washboard Demo - Big Fat Mama - Honey Boy


Squidoo


Washboard Hank
(Hank Fisher)


Photo by Patrick Walton
Sander Mommers


WipLstix


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