Glass Bottom Banjo:

This banjo began as all good things do… as an idea that you can’t let go of. It was (and still is) an experiment. I didn’t know that some banjo heads are clear. As soon as I saw one I knew I had to print something in the back of it. A number of years ago I did a whole series of works in a circle format (you can see them HERE) and I suddenly saw the banjo as a functional frame, something to enhance the image and for the banjo to literally resonate with the image. Around the same time I had the idea to make a banjo with a glass tone ring. The tone ring the material that is in contact with the head of the banjo. Some are made out of wood, some brass, some steel, but its material and shape impacts the sound and tone of the banjo. The hardware of this banjo is made to be easily removed (as easy as it can be) so I can change out the tone ring and see the change in sound. In the images shown it has a brass tone ring on steel posts. I thought the clear head would be great to have so you can also see the tone ring directly.
I called this the Glass Bottom Banjo for a couple of reasons, the first being the obvious intention of the glass tone ring. But also the clear image of the woman in the rowboat. When I was younger I took a trip on a glass bottom boat. It was so interesting to be in the water but not in the water all at the same time. To feel apart of something by being able to see through it. I have long been interested in the idea of borderlands. Areas of our human experience that exist in tension. Like being on the water, being at its edge, being in church, or standing with your feet the ground and feeling the air around you. Knowing that you actually have a tension of pressure from the air and a force greater than us all holding you in place. I enjoy the idea of this banjo being clear like that glass bottom boat so many years ago. To be in and apart of the music that comes from resonating in the tension of the image.

The plan moving forward is to try the different tone rings as I make them. As of now there will be a brass ring, wood ring, porcelain ring, and a glass ring. For more updates make sure to follow @LCB_Instruments on Instagram. For purchasing information please use the contact page or Direct Message me on instagram. Thanks for looking.

Materials:

Body (also called the pot) is made from Walnut and Cherry
Neck is Walnut and Cocobolo with Acrylic fret markers
Headstock is Cocobolo with steel and leather insets.
Head is a clear Remo head with a linoleum cut printing on the inside
Hardware is all hand fabricated steel
Tailpiece is Steel and machined Brass
Bridge and nut are acrylic (but also I have versions out of Holly)
Adjustable damper is frosted mylar