Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fiddle (IW#052)

The peg head with a friction peg.

I have been reading a book called "One Man's Trash," which a history of cigar box instruments.  The first, apparently, were fiddles, and the earliest image of one is from the Civil War (though it was published later).  Of course before people could make cigar box instruments there had to be cigar boxes, which did not really start to be used until 1811, which is one of the first mentions of a 100 count box of "Spanish Segars."  Not that people were not making their own instruments, rather that the first specifically cigar box instruments had to wait until there were boxes readily available.

There are a surprising (well, surprising to me, anyway) number of one-string cigar box fiddles mentioned over the years, starting in the Civil War and going right through to about World War I.  So clearly I needed to make a fiddle.  Now that I have a peg shaver I am off to the races, and was happy to be able to put this little box to use that i had come across.  It is too small for anything else, really, but perfect for this.

Here is what I am able to make it sound like, but I wish i had someone here who actually plays fiddle.  I am able to scrape some notes out of it, but I would be interested to see whether a fiddle player could get decent music out of it.  So no apologies for the lack of skill, but maybe more of a warning.  You get the idea though, the sound is tolerable:

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