Hello all -

So far I've built a number of different "Cigar Box" instruments. 3 & 4 string guitars, ukes, a 4 string bass, and most recently a "cookie tin" guitar (see pic). I'd like to try building a "cookie tin" banjo next.

Can anyone supply me with the dimensions of a typical 5 string banjo neck? Or maybe a website where I could download a drawing from? I'm pretty confident that I can make one if I know what the overall dimensions are supposed to be. Then I can have the fun part of figuring out how to attach it to the cool (round) tin I have.

Thanks in advance!


   Chaplain Will


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  • http://circuitsandstrings.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/film-can-strummer/ here is a pretty simple but very effective way to build a cookie tin banjo. I used these and mine sounds awsome. It was pretty easy to do as well. I have a picture of it over on my page if you are interested. If you are going for a 5 string build you will need something more though. Good luck with it.

  • I found the stuff on the "Bluestem' site handy when planning "The Preacher" mountain banjo that I made for Hollowbelly. I ended up taking a few ideas from various sources, did my own set of drawings and built from that. I don't often do drawings, but because I'm relatively unfamiliar with banjos, I felt the geometry of the strings and neck had to be correct right from the start, hence the drawings. With a tin you want to use a thru' neckstick design so that tin won't take any structural load from the strings other than the pressure from the bridge.

    Make sure you understand the relationship of the bridge height and neck angle to ensure the action will be in the right ball park. Also, the weird thing about 5 string banjos is the neck is asymmetrical, so it's a little tricky trying to figure out where the notional centreline of the neck is.  It's best to understand these before you start making the thing as it's very easy to go wrong.

    Here's the finished banjo - I used a 6" cake tin for the internal pot.


    • Thanks for the info - and, your finished banjo is a real beauty!

      When you say the neck is asymmetrical, are you referring to the fact that it has the "5th" tuner" on the side?

      • If you try setting out a 5 string banjo neck you soon realise that the geometry is odd, with the change in width at the 5th string tuner position.

    • Thanks much!

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