I invented a new instrument!

For years I have had this instrument in my head. I've always loved Sitars and Hardanger fiddles because of their sympathetic strings. This is is the best way I could relate these concepts to my love of the banjo. In November of 2019 I approached Jeff Menzies with the idea of making this into a gourd banjo. After many design changes and revisions we came up with this. The banjo body is closest to that of an Ekonting. Beyond the fifth fret is a sympathetic mandolin. The bridge has 2 rows of strings. The lower houses the mandolin strings while the upper row houses the banjo strings. There are so many possibilities with this new invention. I aim to experiment with different open tunings of the mandolin and banjo strings to build up layers of harmony. There is a much larger playing area for the right (picking) hand compared to the left (chord) hand. That's because we wanted to give much more attention to the vibrations of the sympathetic strings. When you pick or strum closer to the bridge, the sympathetics are warm and low. When you play closer to the mandolin nut, the sympathetics are high and thin. The master craftsmanship of Jeff Menzies is the very reason this dream came to life. If you ever need a unique ethnic stringed instrument, go to Menzies stringed instruments.

See it in action

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