High Point Museum to Host Cigar Box Banjo Making workshop

The High Point Museum will be hosting a cigar box banjo making workshop on Saturday, February 9 from 1 pm to 3 pm. Local luthier Bob “madurobob” Johnson (www.madurobob.com) will demonstrate the crafting of cigar box guitars from raw materials to finished product.

Starting with cigar boxes, lumber from a local hardware store, minimal guitar hardware and hand tools found in most garages, Johnson will craft two high quality and fun to play acoustic-electric cigar box guitars. The workshop will cover materials acquisition, tools, cigar box preparation, internal bracing, neck shaping, fretting, stringing, tuning and intonation. Discussion during the workshop also will cover the history of cigar box guitars, styles, tunings, and advanced building techniques. The workshop will be interspersed with live performances by local musician Wes “Moaning Mule” Yates, demonstrating various cigar box guitar playing techniques.

The cigar box guitars created during this workshop will be offered for raffle by the High Point Museum with all proceeds to benefit the Museum’s mission to preserve and share greater High Point history.

In conjunction with the workshop a new exhibit “Homegrown Harmony” will be open until mid-April in the lobby of the Museum. It features examples of handmade banjos from a local collector and one from the High Point Historical Society’s collection. It is a wooden cigar box banjo made by Levi White Johnson of Thomasville around 1900. He was a brickmason, carpenter and blacksmith until he lost his sight in 1935. He played music until his death in 1964.

The banjo as an instrument had its origin in gourd instruments made by Southern slaves. Early banjoes were simple – animal skin stretched over a hole in the gourd and animal gut strings added to make sound. Banjoes became popular after the Civil War and remained a primary performance and parlor instrument through the 1920s.

“Our exhibit is showcasing and celebrating the craftsmanship of the makers of these “homemade” instruments,” Marian Inabinett, Curator of Collections for the High Point Museum, said.

To learn more about the High Point Museum, call 885-1859 or visit www.highpointmuseum.org.

The High Point Museum is dedicated to sharing Greater High Point’s history, exploring the power of memory, providing perspective for current issues, and strengthening the sense of community. Our work is guided by our core values of connection, diversity, fun, and innovation.

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