Backpacker's Banjo (or Panjo)

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Project by darkhollow posted 06-28-2012 06:01 AM 3650 views 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well, I’d been wantin’ a banjo that was light enough and sturdy enough to take on backpacking trips for a while now, and when I came across this bright red, teflon-coated thin steel pan in a thrift store, the solution came to me! It is pretty simple. the neck is from some scrap oak, and the nut and saddle are from maple. I added the tensioning wedge and wire band later, to account for any bending of the post while under pressure. The whole thing is just 26” long, about ten inches shorter thank my others. This is so that I can strap it onto the back of my pack and not have it stick up or down past the pack, where it might snag on brush. At this point it is not really finished, as I will scrape it and maybe embellish it a bit on my next few hikes with it. I do plan on leaving some hatchet and drawknife marks on it, to show the mark of the hand. The hardware was mostly scavenged stuff, with the exception of whatever the thing is that the strings attach to at the base of the instrument, which I fashioned out of a scrap of brass. I think it sounds pretty good, but i may be biased… The dog doesn’t leave the room when I play it at least!

-- You say Luddite like it's a bad thing ...

8 comments so far

View Ken90712's profile


17743 posts in 3699 days

#1 posted 06-28-2012 09:09 AM

Ahhh the things people think up! Nice work and very cool.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View murch's profile


1380 posts in 3135 days

#2 posted 06-28-2012 09:44 AM

That’s a conversation starter if ever I saw one. Well done.

-- A family man has photos in his wallet where his money used to be.

View Roger's profile


21011 posts in 3314 days

#3 posted 06-28-2012 11:36 AM

I’m hearing the Beverly Hillbillys theme song in my head. I luv that show. This looks to be quite the panjo. Nicely done.

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

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1778 posts in 2699 days

#4 posted 06-28-2012 02:15 PM

I love it! It looks so easy to make.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View LittlePaw's profile


1571 posts in 3588 days

#5 posted 06-28-2012 05:17 PM

A metal and wood Banjo – sorry, panjo! What does it sound like?

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View darkhollow's profile


60 posts in 3027 days

#6 posted 06-28-2012 06:22 PM

@Littlepaw – A little tinny, Bwa ha ha ha ha ha! Sorry, couldn’t pass it up. It sounds more banjo-like that the aluminum one i posted a little while ago, though it is quieter than the one I made a long time ago and recently posted, which has a skin head. Being so short, it also seems to sound best when I have it tuned higher, closer to my mandolin tuning.

@Dave Rutan – It was pretty easy to make, for the others i have made, I used the plans and drawings found in the 3rd Foxfire book for all three that I have made…this one less so than the others, but that book has given me better understanding, which applied to this piece to.

-- You say Luddite like it's a bad thing ...

View carguy460's profile


807 posts in 2846 days

#7 posted 06-28-2012 09:24 PM

Thats awesome!

-- Jason K

View tamboti's profile


207 posts in 3652 days

#8 posted 06-29-2012 08:31 AM

Brilliant Do enjoy your backpacking and have fun leaving only foot prints. Regards Roger

-- Africa is not for sissies

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