Hello,

This is my first post. I hope it's cigar box enough for this space. I think it's pretty close and is certainly 100% inspired by cigar box philosophy!

I am planning a build of an electric banjo. I'm going to use a vintage neck bolted to a cheap banjo pot/rim with a 3/4" piece of oak glued to the top. I'll use a banjo tailpiece and a banjo bridge, and I'd like to use a humbucker type pick up.

While I'd be happy to hear any advice at all folks would like to offer, my main concern is the electric bits. I know nothing about it. I've never played an electric guitar. I've never even played an instrument with any kind of pick up on it. I know nothing.

My main (but not only) use for this will be for quiet practice with a Vox Amplug. I'm not concerned that it won't sound like a banjo. But I guess I'm looking for a "clean" sound.

I'm guessing it's fairly straightforward, but, since I know nothing, I'd love advice. What should I get, and how do I put it together?

My main source of info is this post on a banjo site.

https://www.banjohangout.org/archive/282028

I tried to contact the person who wrote it, but it's a five year old post and maybe they don't visit that site any more.

Basically they say they used a humbucker and a potentiometer. That sounded straight forward, but then I looked and there's lots!

Also, I'd love to save some bucks, so buying from eBay and not Stew Mac would be nice....

Thanks in advance!

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Hi Nate and welcome.

All what you said sounds good, I'll let those that know better comment on the electrics.

Pictured here are two banjos I built/converted with wooden tops, both cedar, they are thin so that they act like a banjo head. The small one is a current project. You could mount a piezo p/u in the back, now that's cheap.

In the banjo link you posted, I did not read it all, but the guy mentioned looking for lots of sustain. Just keep in mind that if you are considering playing a  5 string bluegrass type banjo the notes are normally quick an short, an over sustaining instrument may sound muddy or messy. Just a thought.

Taff

Thanks Taff. Good looking banjos. If love to hear them!

I'm actually really into sustain. I don't play bluegrass style. So I hope mine has sustain, too. :)

If'your using a top similar to what a banjo uses, I would recommend a low output humbucker. If your using a solid type thick material top I would go with something in the medium output humbucker.

Years ago I built an electric canjo and used a piezo disk glued under the top. This gives probably the most natural sound as it picks-up the vibration from the drum. Wiring wise, I put a volume knob on it and that's it.

The volume is wired in a regular fashion.

I got thinking about this last night and I'm wondering if banjo strings would work well with a magnetic pickup?

EMG makes a humbucker for Banjo's. Stewmac has them.

Thanks guys. I'll look for a medium output humbucker then.

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