Heads Up Penny

RTT Head penny

Creating custom designed stringed musical instruments specific to the wishes, desires, tastes, as well as matching personalities and characteristics of the owners of their personal instruments is all about what the CanJoe Company, of Blountville, TN, does best. Occasionally, very absorbing challenges are requested, and more interestingly are that, on occasion, very engaging individuals who these instruments will belong to comes along with the order requests. One such situation occurred when the mother of a very giving young man called in to order for her son, a new instrument as a special Christmas gift.

Thaddeus Bryant, also known as Tad, is a 12 year old young man who has had a history of physical difficulties since birth that have required extensive physical and occupational therapy sessions throughout his young lifetime. In his published biography is noted, “his sweet nature made him a favorite playmate of other children in therapy with much bigger uphill battles. Through his own hard work and grit, and through working one-on-one with other kids, his silver lining was realizing that everyone has a challenge at some point in their lives. He created a strong work ethic for himself, made a habit of using his innate sensitivity and kindness, and developed a desire to help others.”

Tad is a very special human being. He discovered and put into action how with using his personal interests, he could help others. One of his interests began when he was growing up in New York City during his first nine years of life. He was inspired by his dad with the notion that found heads up coins hold auspicious favor; the “pennies from heaven” idea. While living in New York, Tad found many heads up pennies. His mom began to worry that Thaddeus might think that money “literally fell from the sky, so she taught him to divide his findings into categories: savings, spending, kids-in-need, the environment, etc”. Tad took these interests and began helping others, first with a bake sale to generate funds to donate to the non-profit, “Smile Train”, an organization that helps kids needing cleft palate surgery. His effort paid off in gaining enough funds to benefit two children in getting their surgeries. His next venture in helping others came about in getting personally and directly involved with the Bowery Mission, another non profit organization that helps feed homeless people during Christmas. There, Tad utilized his bake sale method to generate enough funds to feed 210 men at Christmas, but, not only donating the generated funds, Tad personally shared his time as he “handed out trays, shook hands, ate with those attending, and participated in prayer” at that event. This encouraged him to start his own foundation.

Having been born into a very music oriented family, his world renowned grandparents as prolific song writers wrote the tune “Rocky Top” among many other # 1 hits, which inspired Tad to write a song, too, about a “Heads Up Penny Night”. It was that song that inspirited him to create and name his non profit organization the “Heads Up Penny Foundation”. The Heads Up Penny Foundation now “changes children’s luck, one penny at a time”. This twelve year old child is realizing his dream of helping others and folks can learn more about how to support his loving, grand efforts of giving by visiting his web site at wwww.headsuppennyfoundation.org.

Now, when Tad’s mom called to order a special, custom designed one-stringed musical canjoe instrument, she indicated that Tad had requested that he wanted only the authentic, original, real deal, hand crafted, specifically and exclusively created by CanJoe*John, himself. In the initial conversation involved in discovering the details relevant to Tad’s history whereas his instrument would be befitting of his personal character and tastes, the choices of materials for his instrument were offered and discussed. One request was that a penny was to be imbedded into his instrument. At first, she requested a common root beer can as the instrument’s resonator, but she quickly learned that in the CanJoe Company shop is a huge collection of unusual cans available and the decision followed that a “Rocky Top” root beer could be used. In researching more details specific of Tad, CanJoe*John noticed that his published photographs often showed him wearing orange clothing, such as shirts with the University of Tennessee’s orange with logos, so instead of root beer, the orange drink “Rocky Top” can was decided. As for the instrument’s finger board, his mom requested the “Premium” level design which is of a select hardwood, in this case she chose mahogany. However, CanJoe*John more than often upgrades the level of his creations, just because, so as a contribution to the soon to be Christmas gift, CanJoe*John chose to create Tad’s instrument by laminating a gorgeous piece of premium grade Chinese cherry with a finger board of beautiful curly maple. The cherry wood originated from a local casket company that uses the extremely exotic, flawless woods as dowels to make the casket handles. The curly maple wood used was indirectly sourced from the Gibson Instrument company as “rejected” material, not perfect enough for a Gibson banjo or guitar, but superbly fit for a super fine CanJoe Company instrument. Inlaid in the instrument’s head stock is a bright, shiny 2014 penny that was literally found heads up in a bank parking lot, and on the face of the head stock is permanently attached a beautiful cut crystal glass star, another trademark symbol used by CanJoe*John since day one of the now over 23 years of being in business. Photos of Tad’s instrument are seen with this blog post:

RTT c CJJ book

RTT c Book 2

RTT table

RTT train 2

RTT Tree

RTT Head 2

For information and all inquiries call the CanJoe Company at 423-323-0174, or 423-612-4320

Posted in All ABOUT CANJOES | Leave a comment

Tour of Smiles-jo, 2017

Still in progress, this specific instrument is currently being created and hand crafted to commemorate the “Tour of Smiles”, a now 23+ year and still ongoing journey that began with a declaration to my wife as she lay dying from cancer. The moniker, “CanJoe*John”, was bestowed by her on one of her toughest days during her illness.

Herschel R. Brown (deceased), the official originator of the earliest design of these instruments, had given one of the very first of his then newly created instruments and that he’d personally made, to me. Using that same instrument to entertain her on that very tough day she was experiencing, it was noticed that even in the worst of times of her suffering, the music from that instrument automatically brought a smile to her face. It was upon that discovery that both the name, “CanJoe*John”, and the “Tour of Smiles” originated. The many embellishments added to this specific instrument are symbols commemorating the journey. Updates and more detailed descriptions, as well as more of the related history surrounding this instrument being created will soon follow. ~ CanJoe*John

tos-jo-head-w-rose

tos-jo-l-side-2

tos-jo-cross

tos-jo-tos-stock

tos-jo-cjj

tos-jo-head-rose-2.

Posted in All ABOUT CANJOES | Leave a comment

Always Custom Created

5 Year Old Custom

Dinosaur Canjoe

Every genuine CanJoe Company instrument is created specific to whoever will own it. Each is expertly hand crafted in every detail using the finest materials possible; real frets, real tuner key, real guitar/banjo string, completely musically accurate, every single one, regardless of what level is made or chosen. No one alive in this world has more experience, or has even come close to making anything like or even resembling them at near the numbers of these cool, one-stringed musical instruments than has CanJoe*John. Having nearly 25 years experience in creating or crafting them, and most of those years without anything as even closely comparable as emulations offered by anyone else, anywhere in the world, his authentic, original instruments are simply the best in the world available. The CanJoe Company of Blountville, TN has produced thousands, upon thousands over the years and never, ever, received even one single complaint by anyone who has ever received or purchased one or more of them, so far.

The “Dinosaur-jo” created for a 5 year old boy as a Christmas gift from his grandmother, as seen in these posted photographs in this blog, is an example of the lessor priced instruments offered. It is made of poplar wood that began from a tobacco stick. The little guy who will treasure it loves dinosaurs. He is also the grandson of a now deceased 40 year veteran of the US Army. His great grandfather, too, is originally immigrated from Spain. The red and gold colors in the finger board are symbolic of the Spain’s national flag. The green spots on the finger board specifically mark the key notes of the instrument’s diatonic music scale. The large pearl imbedded in its head stock is to represent a dinosaur egg. The new owner not only loves dinosaurs, he loves the T Rex as his favorite, and the pterodactyl is his second favorite, thus the reason they are now a part of his finished instrument design.

A smaller version instrument, the “Christmas-jo Junior”(not pictured, yet), was created for the nearly 3 year old smaller little cousin of the 5 year old, and also as a gift from his grandmother. It is just 3/4 of the size of a full sized canjoe instrument, and too, is made of poplar wood that began from a tobacco stick. He also is the great grandson of a now deceased 28 year veteran of the US Army and the grandson of a 40 year veteran of the US Army. His great grandfather immigrated from Spain in 1917. The red and gold colors stained and presented in the finger board of his little instrument are also symbolic of the Spain’s national flag. Additionally, there is a beautiful glass star imbedded in the head stock of each and both instruments. The CanJoe Company has used the star image as part of its logos since its origin, now for over the past 25 years.

No two CanJoe Company instruments are ever alike. Everyone of them is made to match the character and personality of whomever owns them. They are the most unique items, ever, as Christmas gifts, or for any occasion. For more information please call 423-323-0174, or 423-612-4320 for all inquiries, details, ordering, pricing options, etc.

Posted in All ABOUT CANJOES | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The History of Canned Stringed Instruments

The history of stringed musical instruments using metal cans, tins, any and all metal based canisters, including fuel cans, oil cans, cookie tins, metal boxes or barrels, bread boxes, or even all sizes of food storage and beverage cans, regardless of the metal compositions used, dates back to the earliest origins of these items. The first use of metal canisters for food storage began in the mid 1860s during the US Civil War. Their designs and the metal materials they’re now made from have been improved upon and have continued to be as used in various applications ever since. Some of the first foods having been stored in metal boxes or canisters include cakes, crackers, breads, and prepared meats. Many non-food products, including the early metal cigar boxes dating back to the late 19th century, too, have been shipped, stored and sold to consumers from the very earliest history of metal containers, as well.

Historically, the first marketed use of storing and selling beverages in cans began in the year 1932 when the Kruger beer company, as an experiment, introduced their beverage products in them. The idea was obviously an excellent one as the public embraced the concept quickly and, soon, many beer producers shifted from bottling to using metal cans to ship, store, and market their beverages. The Anheuser-Bush company, began canning their Budweiser product in the year 1936. The earlier designs of beverage containers include the cone tops, the flat tops, the crown tops, and in the 1960s, the easy pull tab tops were introduced which have since evolved to those aluminum cans used today that keep the tabs attached. The first company to adapt the use of metal cans for soda beverages was the Coca Cola company in the year 1960. Quickly, other soda beverage companies also adapted the use of cans for their products. The value of canning beverages vs bottling was discovered to be far more economical for the benefit of both the producers and consumers as being safer, cheaper, much easier to store, ship, chill, and they quickly became the most preferred method as use by the consumers. Earlier metal compositions used in making cans included and began with such metals as steel, tin, and, eventually, aluminum.

Upon the very earliest introduction of metal containers, especially of the mid 19th century and early twentieth century, folks immediately realized that they were most suitable to be adapted to use as resonators for stringed musical instruments. There are several examples found of round lard cans, for instance, and dating back to the mid 1800s and as having been used during the US Civil War period, for making banjos. Small metal cigar boxes, also as early as the Civil War period, but especially more commonly used during the US Depression era of the 1920s have been applied to the making of stringed musical instruments, such as for banjos, guitars, and fiddles. Cigar box guitars and other stringed instruments using the more common wood cigar boxes as their resonators became very popular during the US Depression era, and are still the preferred material used for the majority of the modern versions of these mostly home made instruments.

When the CanJoe Company of Blountville, TN officially began in 1994 as a licensed commercial venture of making, marketing, and selling, and at first as being of the original Herschel Brown one-stringed musical instrument design, and as the specific instruments that are based on those classically attributed to and having already been a couple of years prior to and initially introduced to the market, as well as were officially branded by him as the “Can-Joe”, the officially recognized specific instrument’s creator, Herschel Brown. The public use of the similar trade name, the “CanJoe”, and from their first public introduction in 1994, became the official and world recognized brand identity of those corresponding to Herschel’s creations that have also, since, been introduced and sold by the CanJoe Company (by Hershel’s personal permission and full approval). Still, variations and designs of many other various multi-stringed musical instruments using metal cans had long before already existed, but again, were rarely ever identified using the term canjo. Anyone using the term “canjo” as a generic reference to any of these various stringed instruments made from using metal containers as their resonators was not until recently been as common. From the beginnings, when most identifying the instruments made by the folks using metal containers as the instrument resonators and, for instance, might be intended as being specifically a banjo design, it was also referred to by near everyone to be called as just that, a banjo, or if it were a guitar, it was referred to and called as being a guitar, not a “canjo“, regardless. Not until the most recent past few years has the term “canjo” now become more commonly applied as a generic reference to virtually any or all stringed instruments that use any type of metal tins, cans, or containers as part of, or as its specific resonator of these various instruments.

In the year 1996, the curator of artifacts for the Australian Museum in Sydney and who deals more specifically with artifacts of the aboriginal bushmen of Australia, sent an email to the CanJoe Company detailing an artifact in their museum dating to the year of its origin as 1955. It is a guitar-like stringed instrument using a kerosene tin as its resonator. Below is a description from the web site of one expert from Australia on these instruments:

http://wongawillicolonialdance.org.au/page/traditionalaustralianbushinstruments/:

Kerosene Tin Dulcimer

“When John Meredith was collecting folk lore in the Mudgee area, he came across this instrument, made by Cyril Abbott, a local bushman and bush musician. Made from the once ubiquitous four gallon kerosene tin (similar to tins in which olive oil is bought in bulk) and a broomstick. The tin bears no strain and needs only be lightly nailed to the broomstick which has a nail or screw to attach the strings which pass over a bridge at each end and are fixed around crude tuning pegs made from screws and wing-nuts. The strings are Steel Guitar strings and are played like the Hawaiian Guitar, with a ‘steel’ to stop the strings and a plectrum. The strings are tuned with two in unison and the third slightly sharper to give a ‘Tremolo’ effect. Sound holes may be cut into the kerosene-tin, either at the ends or in the surface below the strings.”

There has never been, nor will ever there be any claim by anyone in business as associated with, employed by, or owned by the CanJoe Company, nor likely by anyone associated to Herschel Brown’s legacy as either identifying as, or as having claimed exclusive recognition pertaining to the creation, invention, or making of the first ever historically known stringed musical instruments that have used, or are now using metal cans, boxes, or containers as part of their design function. As this blog post should clearly indicate, there are many other stringed instrument designs and known by factual evidence to have prior existed to the specific one-stringed version as first designed and crafted by, as well as initially introduced to the market by Herschel Brown, and/or of the CanJoe Company, as being, too, the first commercially branded and openly sold to the public item using the name “Can-Joe”, or “CanJoe” to identify them. Any confusion by anyone in the public not affiliated with either Herschel Brown or of the CanJoe Company is due the recent to public wide spread use of the now newly accepted generic term currently referencing any and all stringed musical instruments using metal cans as their resonators.

For all inquiries, price information, or to purchase a genuine CanJoe Company product, please call 423-612-4320.

Posted in All ABOUT CANJOES | Leave a comment

Early Days of the Genuine, Original ‘Canjoe’ Instrument

CD

Meeting Charlie Daniels

Some of the earliest days when the one-stringed canjoe instrument was barely heard of by virtually anyone in the world, much effort and money to get it popularized was expended. Herschel R. Brown (deceased), the official creator of the instrument was a building contractor at that time. He was far too busy building buildings to put much effort into marketing canjoe instruments. The instrument’s origins began out of Herschel’s shop in the very early 1990’s and some of the production of them was assisted by John L. VanArsdall, Herschel’s friend. Then, in 1993, John had to relocate back to Tennessee, so moved away from the coast of North Carolina where he and Herschel shared their time. When in his new home in Tennessee, John continued, with Herschel’s assistance, to build and market the instruments. From the earliest days of their beginning, everywhere John was seen, or heard about, there was a canjoe instrument in his hands, either being played and promoted, or being assembled and sold.

The photos in the included gallery are a few showing examples of early newspaper articles, live performances, and a few influential people that CanJoe*John met while on the steeply uphill journey of getting these instruments into the foothold of becoming recognized and widely marketable. (Very apparently, too, the herculean efforts have proved quite successful with many, many others who have now followed the trail to take up producing and marketing their many varied and/or similar products).

Y’all stay tuned, more of this story and more photos will follow in upcoming posts.

For more information, details, ordering or inquiries, contact CanJoe*John or the CanJoe Company via email at canjoe@canjoe.com, or 423-612-4320.

Click on “Download File” to listen to “Redwing” from CD, “One String, One Can, One Man, One Band”(BMI), by artist, “CanJoe*John

Posted in All ABOUT CANJOES | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“King of the One String Thing”

Big Frog

Poster of the Big Frog Bluegrass Festival, 2000

The CanJoe Company of Blountville, TN officially began operating as a licensed business in the year 1994, but prior to the legal beginning of the operation of the public commercial sales of these instruments by the proprietor, now known worldwide as “CanJoe*John”, Herschel Brown, the instrument’s creator, and CanJoe*John were very close friends who, at the time, both lived in the same town and who associated closely in the earliest manufacturing of them. The history of that association is found in nearly every one of the stories as available to any and all who read these blog posts, as well as, but more importantly, is fully documented and published in dozens of newspaper stories, magazine articles, on television newscasts and in extended news stories, or literally in hundreds of other published documents accessible to public view, and that date all the way back to the very beginning. Much more often than not, though, many now come along who have decided they are true authorities on the history, the facts, the origins, and are as self appointed ‘experts’ on how the instruments should be made, giving assundry and opined accounts of where the instruments supposedly got their start, etc. Recently, it was pointed out from yet another self designated authority and on his relatively new web site that the instrument is based on a “zither”. Also, that “they began with soda pop cans, but once they became popularized, now use bean and soup cans”…

There is a real history of these instruments. There is significant, documented evidence, too, of the history that when by indisputable documentation is presented, regardless, will still be attempted to be disputed and discredited. Nevertheless, the truth does always rise to the top, eventually. This post is about the true master craftsman of these instruments and who began by physically helping make them with the instrument’s genuine creator, Herschel R. Brown, from the very beginning, and who continues still to this day designing, creating new ones, hand making these instruments, and now with over 25 years experience. As officially and literally living the living history of these instruments one has no need to contrive or obfuscate the truth. Many have viewed and often peruse the many stories posted, but the photos of the instruments that are posted of each hand crafted by the artist, CanJoe*John, as well, tell a detailed story of themselves.

The poster at the top of this blog post has a history, too. It is of a festival in Cleveland, TN that brought “CanJoe*John” on as a headliner act to perform in the year 2000 (a date that precedes all other contemporary ‘canjo’ makers by nearly a decade). The story that follows, though written by CanJoe*John, is one not only witnessed by thousands, is clearly a testament of how these instruments grew to become known.

“King of the One Stringed Thing”

In the year 2000, I was invited and booked to headline the first “Big Frog Mountain Bluegrass Festival” near Cleveland, TN. I attended the event, was very well received by those gathered for the affair, gave a children’s workshop on ‘how to play a canjoe’, and on the Saturday night’s main stage closing act, I and Sonny Smith, who was the 1998 National Banjo Champion, had a pickoff as the grand finale, after our separately performed stage shows.

The reason I thought of this event, though it was quite memorable, I had someone who posted a comment on my official CanJoe Company blog site recently offering miscredit to its history. This individual touting himself a specialist on folk instruments has a photo of an early Herschel Brown made “canjoe” on his site, and with a sorta’ piecemealed, very brief “history” of the instruments. By his account, the instrument is based on a zither. Well, not quite … No, it’s always been based on a mountain dulcimer, but ‘whatever’… he’s the “expert”!

Anyway, as Sonny and I are together on stage preparing for the grand finish act, we were to choose a tune as a duet, totally unrehearsed, to prove for the audience who could out pick the other. As Sonny had appointed himself the MC for the act’s introduction, we were both front and center stage in the spot lights and I asked the sound engineer for a pickup cable and direct input box to plug my canjoe through the sound boards, into the main stage speakers. Sonny then being a smart alec commented to the crowd, “hey, sound man, pass me up a cable, too, so I can hook up my electric zither”… the crowd laughed. Like two professional wrestlers mouthing off before a match, the musical barbs flew back and forth as we prepared for the contest.

So, once ready, Sonny with his banjo, me with my canjoe, he asked, “well, Mr fastest, greatest canjoe picker in the world, what tune do you want to choose as you and I try to pull this off”, as he snickers with incredulity. I replied, “how about “Dueling Banjos“, and Sonny with a tone of jocular affability in his voice, “Oh boy! let’s kick her off”. He began with the intro, I followed. As the tune progressed, it got faster. Of course, I’m playing on just one string, Sonny’s picking with three fingers on a five string banjo. The tune grew faster and faster until it was blazing, but we stayed note for note throughout. On the very last note, after a blistering final stanza, we both simultaneously tagged the tune to a finish that brought the huge crowd to a spontaneous, roaring, cheering standing ovation that literally echoed off the Big Frog mountain, throughout the valley, and Sonny then immediately turned to me, stuck out his right hand to shake mine and jubilantly exclaimed, loudly and excitedly, “Mister CanJoe*John, you are TRULY the world’s greatest canjoe picker!!!“… and the “man on the can” was treated by all who witnessed, and from that point onward, as officially declared, crowned and titled, “king of the one-stringed thing”… lol. ~ CJ*J

For ordering details and prices, please call 423-612-4320.

Posted in All ABOUT CANJOES | Tagged | Leave a comment

Another Fine, Custom Designed CanJoe*John Exclusive

Owner

Proud owner of a custom, hand crafted, electric instrument by CanJoe*John, of the CanJoe Company.

Some folks know and highly appreciate the quality, authenticity, and the factual history of these fine, hand crafted instruments. The man in this photo, Gene, is ecstatic with his beautiful new, fully electric, custom created CanJoe Company of Blountville, TN. This fine instrument is designed and hand crafted exclusively by CanJoe*John, with assistance of Jack Bradshaw.

Posted in All ABOUT CANJOES | Leave a comment

Menagery of CanJoe Company Instruments

This gallery contains 19 photos.

The photos shown are as examples of the craftsmanship standard of each, every, and ALL CanJoe Company instrument(s) offered, and as exclusively designed, created, and handcrafted by CanJoe*John For ALL inquiries, prices, details of information, or to place orders, call … Continue reading

More Galleries | Leave a comment

The Alaska Boys

When three young men who live in Alaska were looking for something interesting to do while visiting Tennessee, their Mom found the CanJoe Company web site on a search for interesting things in NE Tennessee. A few weeks prior to their scheduled trip to the TN region, their mom called and inquired about the authentic, original, cool, handcrafted musical one-stringed things. She was so excited about her three aspiring musician sons having opportunity to tour the original CanJoe Company shop, to pick out their own specific cans, and select woods for their instruments.

After arriving to the CanJoe Company shop located in Blountville, TN on a brisk, Saturday morning, the Alaska boys, first, were introduced to the original, authentic canjoe instruments by the master canjoe picker, himself, followed by a tour of the original canjoe instrument museum and private personal canjoe instrument collection of CanJoe*John, as well.

Check out the photos of their ‘tour’, then as they’re in the shop selecting parts, then one last shot taken before heading back to Alaska to wait… and just two weeks later, the finished works of art (as shown) shipped and received.

For information on ordering, prices, details call 423-612-4320

Posted in All ABOUT CANJOES | Leave a comment

Merrill’s Marauders/ Honoring a Hero

Head Stock MM 1

Patch emblem of Merril's Marauders

“Merrill’s Marauders (named after Frank Merrill) or Unit Galahad, officially named the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), was a United States Army long range penetration special operations jungle warfare unit, which fought in the South-East Asian theatre of World War II, or China-Burma-India Theater (CBI). The unit became famous for its deep-penetration missions behind Japanese lines, often engaging Japanese forces superior in number.” ~ Wikipedia

A ninety year old man from Soddy Daisy, TN recently was introduced to the cool one-stringed musical instrument, the authentic, original CanJoe Company created instrument called, The Canjoe“. He fell in love with it and wanted one for himself. Being that the CanJoe Company creates these instruments as musical works of art, and that each one made is only custom created for the individual owner, personal information was supplied about this ninety year old that could be incorporated in his instrument. Details of his life include that he served as a member of the elite US Army unit of Merrill’s Marauders during WW2 and that he received the Bronze Star award, and the Purple Heart award for his part in that historic event called the “Burma Campaign”, as a soldier fighting in Japan.

This specific man who now owns this custom created Canjoe musical instrument is a true American hero, so it was quickly decided that his instrument should reflect his sacrifices and his gallantry as having served with the Merrill’s Marauders. This specific instrument is symbolic in every way, in by its choices of materials used to fabricate it and in its design, to honor his service.

The body of the instrument is comprised of the finest of mahogany in the world with a most beautiful curly maple finger board laminated on. The mahogany was sourced from what was originally made for use to become a dowel for a casket handle. A company that makes caskets, nearby, supplied the special mahogany dowel. This dowel symbolically represents the hundreds of the members of the Merrill’s Marauders who lost their lives in the line of duty from wounds acquired during the 32 ground battles that they engaged with the Japanese forces, or those who lost their lives from the many diseases contracted from the severe environments that they encountered. The stunningly beautiful piece of curly maple used as the finger board came from the Gibson musical instrument company, as a piece that would be too small for use in their products, but just right for this purpose. Combining the two pieces by methods of laminating them together in the shop after acquiring them began the process of physically creating this exquisite finished work of art.

Researching about the history of the Merrill’s Marauders, a necessary requisite for designing an appropriate memorial, was not only very informative but a real pleasure in discovering the profound sacrifices of those who served this elite unit and of their superhuman accomplishments that helped win the war for the allies against the Japanese in the World War 2. First, before doing internet searches and a lot of reading, my own brother, an avid amateur historian of WW2, was contacted and during the initial phone conversation with him about this project, upon hearing of the fact that this 90 year old man was a member of the Merrill’s Marauders caused him to nearly fall on the floor from astonishment. He was beside himself in hearing that a member of this legendary unit was still alive. His first words upon hearing this was, “do you know who the Merrill’s Marauders were?”, and, with less knowledge than him, of course I said, “not yet”. He then went on to “school” me on their history and after that conversation, I was intrigued and amazed. Here, I’ll post a link for those reading this to use in case of further desire to learn about the most incredible feats of human effort that any armed forces members from anywhere ever pulled off…

Just reading the source from Wikipedia will enlighten the curious: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merrill%27s_Marauders#Legacy.

After the research phase, it was decided to place the Merrill’s Marauders unit patch on the instrument’s head stock. The photo introducing this page is of that symbol artistically rendered. The official Merrill’s Marauders unit patch incorporates a sun in the top left quadrant and a star in the bottom right quadrant. In making this instrument I, the artist and instrument creator, took some artistic license and imbedded a diamond as exchange for the sun, and a gold foil star in the bottom quadrant. The diamond, though representing the sun, also represents the unbreakable, un-scratchable, super hardened, sparkling drive and fortitude of these men. The gold foil star represents, too, that absolutely every one of those who served in this elite unit not only were awarded the Bronze Star but were also as men of men representing the scintillating, shimmering stars of what America represents as being among her finest of heroes.

The designs on the curly maple finger board became from his military awards of the Purple Heart, which is rendered by the purple ribbon design between two frets, and his awarded Bronze Star as represented by the single star between two other frets. In between these emblems is placed the modern day unit patch of the US Army Rangers; the reason, the Merrill’s Marauders as made up of 3,000 volunteers who became trained to become the United States Army long range penetration special operations jungle warfare unit, and whose value and honorable service eventually led to the formation of the modern day US Army’s Rangers, since.

The red, white, and blue that trims the instrument’s finger board should be self explanatory. The new owner loves root beer, so, a vintage 1939 logo design of a collectible “Frostie Root Beer” can was chosen as the resonator.

These men, and especially the 90 year old who now owns this special instrument, should ALL be remembered and honored for their extreme sacrifices and service to this country and the world, for what they endured and for what they did for all free nations in that campaign. Too, it is of the highest honor for me, CanJoe*John, to have been chosen to create this fine instrument, and as a US Navy veteran, myself, the honor is even greater magnified for me, personally, in that my contribution by creating this simple token of art as rendered in this cool, one-stringed musical instrument, and that this man will undoubtedly cherish, is also to honor a fellow veteran of whom I salute as a true American hero.

MM 1

In honor of a true American hero

Military symbols

The "Bronze Star", Ranger's patch, & "Purple Heart ribbon"

Vintage Frostie

1939 Vintage "frostie Root Beer Logo can

MM!

Laying in my fiddle case!

For all orders, inquiries, prices, and options, please call the CanJoe Company at 423-612-4320.

Posted in All ABOUT CANJOES | Leave a comment