Jeffu Warmouth

Dueling Banjo

Dueling Banjo Dueling Banjo, 2003, Maple, aluminum, strings, hardware, 15 x 72 x 6 inches

Created for BOOM BOX: The Art of Sound, 2003 at the Mills Gallery, Boston Center for the Arts, curated by Roland Smart. It hung as part of a suite of homemade musical instruments, together titled JeffuPhonia.

JeffuPhonia JeffuPhonia, 2003, installation view, Mills Gallery, Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA

The Dueling Banjo is designed to be operated by two simultaneous players. Both sides are tuned like a standard 5-string banjo: G, D, G, B, D. Since the strings stretch from one end to the other, each player will necessarily affect what the other is doing. Most effective when operated by one right-handed player and one southpaw.

I extensively researched the construction techniques of artisinal and folk banjos to create this instrument. The body, bridge, and tuning hardware were purchased from an instrument supplier; I built the necks and headstocks, installed frets, and inlayed fret dots and headstock designs. The string length is twice that of a standard banjo, so it was necessary to use specialized music wire.