World War I Photos of Homemade Instruments

Here is a collection of photos from the World War I era (1914-1919 or so). Most of them are from Europe, and show soldiers on both sides of the fight who have formed impromptu bands, which include at least a couple of homemade/handmade instruments. In addition to box guitars and other oddities, a favorite of the time appear to be longer-scale cello-like instruments, having a tin can resonators (Hugo informs us this is likely a “Vozembouch”, a traditional Czech instrument – see comments below).



4 thoughts on “World War I Photos of Homemade Instruments”

  1. This is my first look at this sight great to say the least. Thank for the hard work of putting this together.

    I moved to the Philippines last year. In Baguio City (the coolest area weather wise) and it is mostly country music here and that is a plus. I got to play my CBG the 1st one I made in 2011 still my favorite and crudest, a 3 string dulcimer tuned A# F A# GBE strings, 25 1/2 scale at a convention Center, invited by the local talent. You can’t get cigar boxes here in the store like you do in USA. I had some shipped to me with a few parts etc.
    I look forward to building more I di my first slide guitar love it also it has GDG tuning A-D-G medium strings.
    Take care keep up the good work.
    Terry L. Strasheim fb & fb messenger

  2. Hello, maybe this information is notoriously known, but the instrument, which is very often seen in these photos and which looks like an upright bass is a sort of a walking drum-stick called f.e. here in Czech Republic “Vozembouch” – freely translated as “Smacktheground” or “Bangtheground” 😀 its played by banging it against the ground (sounds obvious :-D) which makes the “hi-hat” on top of the instrument sound and hitting different parts of the instrument with a stick (mostly the rim of the attached drum, the string and many different attachements). Here in Czech Rep. it is a quite traditional instrument in the countryside (polka folk music) – some photos of modern “Vozembouch” are here –

    video –

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting this form, you are granting: C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply, 10 Main Street Suite 201, Rochester, NH, 03839, permission to email you. You may unsubscribe via the link found at the bottom of every email. (See our Email Privacy Policy ( for details.) Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.