Joshua and Ezekiel – the CV banjo twins

The Coppin-Volk custom banjo twins, Joshua, left, and Ezekiel, right.

Back in the summer of 2010, I introduced 1 1/2 custom banjos that I had recently completed. At that time the banjo project showed the fretless neck on the pot originally designed for the fretted neck.

Since I wrote that post, Henry Volk had worked up another pot of the same base canarywood used for the first one, the only difference being that the tone ring in the second pot was Osage orange, as opposed to the dark Brazilian ebony used in the first one. The two banjos are now complete, and like two fraternal twins, they are at the same time very similar and very different. “Joshua the Fretless”, named thus to reflect its softer nature, was fitted with a Renaissance top that perfectly compliments the sound and the look of Ezekiel’s more demure, more artful twin. Surprisingly, it has the bigger, more resonant sound than its brash brother. I’m not sure if the difference is due to the Osage orange ring, the fit of neck to pot, the Payung rosewood fingerboard, or all of the above, but its melodic qualities are quite beautiful. Pity I can’t play a fretless worth a damn… LOL!.

Ezekiel has more of the character of the traditional fretted open-back banjo, a little less resonant, a little “plunkier”, but still a comfortable solid instrument to play. Don’t read too much into the names; certainly, no Biblical reference is intended. The names were chosen because the sounds of them matched very well the personalities of the instruments.

I’m extremely pleased with the way the CV twins have turned out. Each is unique in its own way.

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