Electric Banjo Build #1: Intro

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Blog entry by CartersWhittling posted 08-30-2013 01:59 AM 6683 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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It has been a while since I last had a project build on this site, but I think my next build will make up for the silence. I am currently planning and ordering hardware for an electric banjo.

A few months back I started playing the banjo and have really been enjoying it. I have also wanted to make a musical instrument for some time now. After jamming with some folks on my banjo playing along to pop, rock and folk music I thought an electric banjo might make a nice fit. So I began looking around…

There really aren’t many options for electric banjos because not many are made. On top of that most look like weird guitar/banjo hybrids.

But after some searching I came across these videos on youtube…

Once I heard these banjos I loved the clean bright sound and simple look of the instrument. The sound was very much like an electric guitar, but still resembled a 5 string banjo due to its 5th string and playing style. Even the body design was unique and didn’t look like the deformed offspring of a guitar and banjo.

So after seeing those banjos I was inspired to make an instrument similar to it.

I am currently looking at and buying the hardware for the banjo so I can begin making some final plans and dimensions for it. My current ideas are to make an instrument similar to the banjo in the videos but with mahogany and a rosewood fretboard and possibly a solid body instead of hollow. I am thinking of a look similar to this Les Paul, but with a body shape similar to the banjo in the videos…

Until I get pictures of my final plans you will just have to use your imagination.

When I get the all the hardware and the design is finalized I will put up my next post with pictures and better design details. I will also do some videos throughout the build and when the banjo is done I will be sure to post some videos of how it sounds!

-- And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord... Colossians 3:23

5 comments so far

View FreddyS's profile


213 posts in 4232 days

#1 posted 08-30-2013 04:54 AM

Hi there!, can’t wait to see your progress, I have a banjo build in my long queue list ;)

-- Learning one thing at a time

View Brit's profile


8508 posts in 4301 days

#2 posted 08-30-2013 06:00 AM

Looking forward to this one Carter, although I’m not sure what you’re proposing will sound like a banjo. The banjo gets much of its sound and sustain from the skin and the tone ring. If you leave those elements out and make a solid body, it might sound more like a tinny guitar than a banjo. I know you want to build one, but if you want a louder banjo I think you would be better amplifying a traditional banjo. Either way, I’m sure it will look great with your skills.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4262 days

#3 posted 08-30-2013 12:01 PM

Look forward to it

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View CartersWhittling's profile


454 posts in 4132 days

#4 posted 08-30-2013 05:07 PM

@Brit Thanks for the comment and suggestion. I understand the instrument I am proposing will not sound like a traditional banjo, I am not going for a louder applified banjo. If I want that good ol’ banjo sound I will just play my banjo. I am going for a clear bright electric sound, it’s just with a 5 string banjo neck I can play it like a banjo.

-- And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord... Colossians 3:23

View Ed_Wilcox's profile


15 posts in 3357 days

#5 posted 08-31-2013 09:46 PM

I have always enjoyed the McNally Strumstick. The sound is a mix between banjo and dulcimer – very fun to play.

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