Paul Buskirk
A longtime associate of Willie Nelson, Paul Buskirk remained pretty much under the radar throughout his 60-plus years in the music business, but those in the know regarded him as one of America's best players of several stringed instruments: guitar, banjo, and mandolin.
     Buskirk was among the first American musicians to play a solidbody electric mandolin—he took delivery of a 10-string (depicted above) from Paul Bigsby in 1950.
Paul Buskirk
     The 1970s found Buskirk making a series of LPs on the Stoneway label, including Hot Pickin' (1975), which featured the unusual 5-string depicted above, and may well be the first American popular music album to feature an electric mandolin from beginning to end. I've yet to discover who built this instrument.
     Buskirk's primary instrument in his latter years was a self-designed mandola, which he played on his last solo album, Nacogdoches Waltz. He passed away in 2002.

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