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 –

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