String Cans

In 2018 my string-can designs were enthusiastically embraced by the instrument makers of Girgarre who turned them into reality. ​We built an orchestra of them and put on a show.

I was invited to Girgarre not to start something but to bring new dimensions to a a home-made instrument movement that was well underway, led by Pete Gibson. Calls had gone out for people to make instruments – ‘Junkstrements’ – and a junk orchestra – ‘Junkestra’ – assembled and played workshop sessions during the annual Moo~sic Musters in 2016 and 2017.
email from Pete Gibson, 11 October 2016: 
Amazing Junkstruments have already been made. I hope you get the attachment ok. This is one example. I want to “Muster The Junkstruments”!
Milodeum - Pete Gibson, 2016
Milodeum - Pete Gibson, 2016
Shepparton News, January 2017
Shepparton News, January 2017
Enter Wallace Williams, retired dairy farmer , accomplished violinist, singer and harmonica player and instrument builder extraordinaire. He brought an instrument along that he had quietly made in response to the call out – a hand hammered violin.
In early 2018 ​we made 15 instruments – WW 10, PG 3 and GL 2, but it was a collaborative effort all around, with each of us working on different aspects of all instruments.

Retired dairy farmer Wallace Williams, from Girgarre, hand-hammered and soldered this violin which is fully-functioning and has a unique and surprisingly beautiful tone.

​Guitars play the notes E, A, D, G, B and hi E. String Cans each have one of these and are named, accordingly, E can, A can, D can, G can, B can and hi E can. No there isn’t a toucan. The two bass instruments, or C bins. (made from the two halves of a rubbish bin by Wallace) are tuned to the C below that, which is the same C as the bottom string of a ‘cello. Each can has only a few diatonic frets, so beginners gain fast access to harmonic music making. When handed out to less experienced groups they are able to play two or three chord arrangements quite quickly. They are much easier to wrangle than ukes or guitars. In fact, four times easier than a uke and six times easier than a guitar!


Say hello to each member of the String Can family, created by Graeme Leak, Wallace Williams and Pete Gibson in Girgarre, 2018



String Cans data