Lee Connah's Instrument Photo Gallery <
Scroll down to see photos and videos of a selection of my fun and functional stringed musical instruments built largely from salvaged and recycled lumber, construction debris, found and repurposed objects, stock hardware, and other unorthodox materials. All necks and tops are made and shaped by hand. Many of the instruments have been featured in exhibits of green-themed art and craft. Some are in private collections, and commissions of custom instruments are welcomed. But in general, I build them just for fun.
As a carpenter and construction worker I see lots of useful and beautiful materials go into dumpsters every day. I salvage antique wood from demolition, newer "waste" wood such as tropical hardwood flooring cut-offs and rejects, as well as electrical wire, stove knobs, hinges, and other interesting bits and pieces. When combined with other repurposed materials, Mardi Gras beads, and glitter paint a unique instrument is born.
Historically, folk music was made on folk instruments--instruments made by hand by the player or someone the player probably knew. Factory-made instruments did not exist until recently. One of my goals is to explore and identify simple methods of construction that might enable anyone with basic skills and tools to successfully build an inexpensive, good sounding instrument."
JUST POSTED: Alexa Richardson plays the new cello called Femme Fatale HERE.
RECENTLY POSTED: Phenomenal guitarist Greg Barber playing two of Lee's guitars HERE on Youtube
May 2013 at The Filling Station Cafe and Gallery in Sparks Maryland.April 2011 at Noon Whistle Pottery in Stanardsville, Virginia.
Other News: "Silver Girl" upright electric bass recently received an "Honorable Mention" (ie. shared 2nd place) in Cigar Box Nation's MacGyver 100% Recycled Guitar Building Contest.
Click here to read What Weekly's review of Lee's Instruments at Baltimore's DIY Festival 2010.
Click here to see and hear the Tamboura played by Matt.
Click here to see and hear this guitar played.
"Chick Feeder Fiddle" (2008)--galvanized "chick feeder" found in abandoned hardware store; all woods are from scrap: neck from plywood laminated to a core of heart pine flooring; Jotoba flooring fingerboard and bridge; cork flooring chin rest, antique poplar fine tuners. Stock hardware tuners and spoon tail piece.
Watch and listen here.
The tailpiece is cheese slicer, peg is a paint roller extension handle; miscellaneous scrabble pieces, yardsticks, chopsticks, mardi gras beads, glitter paint, etc.
"Fretless Walnut Banjo" (2007)--The wood for this piece came from a damaged piece of antique furniture believed to have been used for church ceremonies. Note the unusual rectilinear engravings in the neck and head. The delaminating walnut burl veneer and the original routing profiles can be seen in the photos below.
"Walnut Banjo 2" (2009). A traditional-style walnut banjo commissioned in the likeness of the earlier piece from 2007. The wood for this instrument came from the same damaged piece of antique furniture, which was thought to have been from a church. The buyer requested this instrument be fretted, however.
Click here to see and hear this banjo played.
The two Walnut Banjos together.
"Purple and Orange Jumbo 5-String Ukulele" (2009). All recycled and salvaged woods. Beautiful vintage cookie tin resonator.