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Open Back Banjo

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Project by TxSurveyor posted 06-29-2021 08:00 PM 481 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Open Back Banjo
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Made this banjo in 2013 in my shop class in college. Neck and the pot are made from Pecan (Hickory) and the fret board is red oak stained to look like ebony. Head is calf skin drum head that tacked to the body. Neck attached with a dowel road. Dowel rod goes through the pot and the tail piece holding strings goes through the dowel rod. Put copper cap on the end of the dowel rod to keep the rod from splitting when pressure applied via strings.

Hardest part is getting the fret board laid out and cut accurately. Very tedious! If you don’t get it right than the instrument will not play notes correctly. I used an AutoCAD program to get the frets spaced exactly as wanted, printed to scale and glued it directly to the top of the fret board.

-- Will, TX -- "You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas" - Davy Crockett





5 comments so far

View 987Ron's profile

987Ron

2019 posts in 537 days


#1 posted 06-29-2021 08:51 PM

Nicely done. Bet it sounds great.

-- Ron

View rtbrmb's profile

rtbrmb

810 posts in 3609 days


#2 posted 06-29-2021 11:32 PM

A stringed instrument is on my bucket list of projects.

Thanks for the information & all the pictures.

How does it play?

Thanks for posting.

Bill in MI

View mtnwild's profile

mtnwild

4364 posts in 4747 days


#3 posted 06-30-2021 01:36 AM

Totally skilled man !

That’s a beauty, made by a skilled craftsman . . .

Great to see . . .

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View TxSurveyor's profile

TxSurveyor

63 posts in 112 days


#4 posted 06-30-2021 01:23 PM



A stringed instrument is on my bucket list of projects.

Thanks for the information & all the pictures.

How does it play?

Thanks for posting.

Bill in MI

- rtbrmb

It actually plays really well! It was the first instrument I ever made. I have been playing guitar for years, but had never even played a banjo when I made this. If you build a guitar, go electric. Easier than building an acoustic (lots of thin wood and bracing). Banjo seemed pretty simple to build and it was. Just time consuming.

Cheated on making the “pot” (the round body portion) and mounted on a machine lathe in my college’s wood shop.

Very please with it. Would do a few things different I think.

1. I didn’t do an adjustable truss rod in the neck, but wish I had. I cut a long channel with table saw and put in a steel bar and filled in with epoxy before gluing on the fret board.
2. Wish I had gotten the head tighter when I tacked it on. May have just stretched some over time due to humid Texas weather.
3. Copper cap on the dowel end was a little down and dirty. Wish I had come up with a more aesthetically pleasing method.
4. Would have loved to have added a resonator

-- Will, TX -- "You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas" - Davy Crockett

View AJ1104's profile

AJ1104

1347 posts in 2879 days


#5 posted 07-02-2021 01:02 AM

Wonderful build!

-- AJ

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