Check out these two old homemade instruments that came up for auction recently in Chicago.
The first one is of a 1920's cookie tin banjo. It's a fretless banjo and appears to have been a well playing and well made instrument for its time.
I bet this instrument really played well when it was made, it has a lot of marks of quality Look at the simple build it follows, yet the sturdiness that its made with. This was a players instrument.
1920's Cookie Tin Banjo
It looks like a lot of effort was put into it, but if you look close the frets were just cut at even lengths or random spots. It probably gave the make a headache when he first strung it up and couldn't get it to play in tune!
It's wonderful to see ingenuity and necessity at work. This person probably didn't even have access to even see another guitar when they attempted this build it, otherwise they would have not cut the frets randomly.
That's a sign of the do-it-yourself attitude that can be dated back to the birth of America. If you don't have it, make it with what you have available.