What on earth is this? A cross between a sawn off shotgun and a giant metal mushroom?
No! It's a Phonofiddle! Made by A T Howson in London around 1950, and of which I am now the proud owner. After watching him on ebay I scooped him up, and although he's a bit old, he still makes the crazy sound I was hoping for. There is a similar model at the Horniman Museum, London.
It has one string and one neck with a few harmonic notches like an acoustic guitar, and the horn amplifies what is essentially a string vibrating against a stick. Clever! My intention had been to post a video, but Im going to need some practice first - you play it with a bow in a cello position, and once you go up the string, there's only one way down. If you fancy looking on youtube then I recommend finding 'Bennet & Williams'.
Im hoping to use him in the future with a project that is currently under wraps, but which also involves musical saw, and a National Trust house in North Wales....watch this space!