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Thread: Paul Buskirk's HOT PICKIN' and the mystery 5-string

  1. #1
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Paul Buskirk's HOT PICKIN' and the mystery 5-string

    In 1975, Paul Buskirk released an album on Stoneway Records called HOT PICKIN', featuring a 5-string electric mandolin. It must be heard to be believed.



    This was several years before Tiny Moore's two albums on Kaleidoscope. So unless I'm greatly mistaken, HOT PICKIN' is the first U.S. album with electric mandolin as a lead instrument on every track.

    What I'd like to know is, who built the wacky 5-string (long scale, 2 pickups, tremolo bar) Paul is playing here?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    It's a known fact that Houston violin maker F.A. Thorp admired Buskirk's playing and built some electric 5-strings modeled after his famous Jim Harvey doubleneck guitar. But the 3 Thorp instruments I've seen don't look much like this.

    What's really wacky is that on the cover of another Buskirk album, THIS TIME...BANJO, there's a color photo of a very similar 5-string, but it's red, not white! Paul may well have owned a pair of these things.

    Any clues?
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  3. #2
    Americana in France? Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: Paul Buskirk's HOT PICKIN' and the mystery 5-string

    Hmmm...
    Red or white (or maybe mahogany?) it looks like the same maker.

    Can't help even a little! But I'm hanging on an answer, and enjoying Hot Pickin'!

    Daniel

  4. #3
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Paul Buskirk's HOT PICKIN' and the mystery 5-string

    Another likely suspect is Huey Wilkinson, a Houston luthier/repairman who was a close friend of Buskirk and the executor of his estate.

    According to Deke Dickerson, Buskirk owned his Bigsby 10-string well into the '90s, until it was sold to raise some dough. He also had a '54 Strat that had been renecked as a 5-string tenor, but the whereabouts of that one are unknown. But you can see it in this photo of Buskirk and Freddy Powers.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Michael Kang and Ron Oats popularized the "baritone mandolin" for the 21st century. Jonathan Mann and Sierra Hull are on the bandwagon as well. Lowell Levinger plays what he calls a "5-string tenor" by Alberto Giacomel. But they're just doing what Buskirk was doing sixty years ago.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Donaldson Wood Thormahlen Andersen Old Wave Bacorn Yanuziello Fender National Gibson Franke Fuchs Aceto Three Hungry Pit Bulls

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  6. #4
    Americana in France? Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: Paul Buskirk's HOT PICKIN' and the mystery 5-string

    Nothing new under the sun.
    Cool stuff.

    Daniel

  7. #5
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Paul Buskirk's HOT PICKIN' and the mystery 5-string

    The headstock looks a little like a Dean, but I don’t think they were around then.

    Great tone on it though.
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  8. #6

    Default Re: Paul Buskirk's HOT PICKIN' and the mystery 5-string

    It looks like something Bozo Podunavac would have made during his more "colorful" building periods. Just a swag on my part. Thanks for posting mrmando.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

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