Hi all, on Wednesday I was asked to give banjo lessons to a lady, she was very insistent, but I told her I did not have a banjo, that was then. So I thought that with all the bits I have around the shop I must be able to put one together quickly. Thursday mid morning I started processing pallet timber Friday morning I was tuning up my new 5 string Box Banjo.
.Its made using a box I started for a 3 string CBG and used some pallet timber that had an unusual grain pattern for the top, then a neck from an old Gibson Mastertone banjo and old tuners. The rest of the parts were cobbled together from my " it'll come in handy one day" stash.
The armrest, bridge and truss rod cover I made out of North Queensland Cooktown Ironwood. Three coats of shellac and finished with teak wax cover the box and peghead and other wood parts. The black Gibson peghead overlay was removed and replaced with one that matches the top. I had to fill the 5th string tuner hole in the side of the neck and rework it so as to take a different size tuner.
I am very pleased with the sound quality and the volume, especially with fingerpicks, and with a cost of zero I'm more than happy, and I must say a little surprised.
I have photos of the build process if you think it worth posting....but in the meantime:
Hi, Just thought I'd post the start of the build of the matching CBG to this banjo, same materials but not so fancy.
I gave the lady her banjo lesson and when she tried this one she wanted to buy it, but how do you price something that is a "One Off " unrepeatable instrument. So I had to decline. I can make her one but the making of the neck adds so much time to a normally quick build. But I'll give it a go. I have a nice piece of Oak with a great fiddle back grain pattern.
That is an amazing result for a single day. It looks like it took a good deal of forethought and the patina is really great. Sweet banjo brother
Thanks Tim and Mike. Tim most of the forethought was done on previous cbg builds and adapted to this banjo build. Believe it or not I spent more time changing the size of the 5th string peg hole in the neck, than most other tasks.
Mike, I'm not a banjo player so any demo's would be very basic, but I'll try. As you would expect it's tone is more akin to frailing style banjo than a bluegrass one.
It looks great. I have a "farm fresh" banjo some friends gave me. The tuner knobs are almost completely dry-rotted. The neck has a slight twist in it, but still sounds and plays decent (though I am not a banjo player): https://youtu.be/7h-T56kBXD8
Sadly, two years later I haven't spent the money (they are expensive and I am cheap) to replace the tuners or the strings (not as expensive).
I still have several boxes and tins that I want to copy the neck for. The neck is surprisingly thin (only about as wide as a 1x2). Seeing your banjo gives me that much more hope I can do this (and should).
Nice! The shellac and wax on the pallet wood worked out great...