Hi all...

I was wondering if there was a canjo group yet on Cigar Box Nation -- One dedicated to making better canjos. I know the solution to making a better canjo is to use a cigarbox, but some places in the world (as where I live) don't have easy access to cigar or similar wooden boxes, and building wooden boxes is beyond my wood-working skill level. I have made three canjos, and find they have some problems, some of which I have identified and fixed and others which I suspect others have encountered and found fixes for. It's this kind of information I'd like the group to focus on, and also other canjo topics like playing techniques and sharing tabs. I saw the Spam-jo Contest; that was interesting. I'm sure spam-jo and can-jo (and cigar-box guitar) makers have a lot of common interests.

Well. Any positive input on this topic would be appreciated. Thanks.

-R.M.

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START ONE!!! Let's see how awesome you can advance this instrument.
Yes, start one up...I'll join! I haven't built one yet, but have thought about the idea a lot and have looked at several and have a couple of ideas of my own to improve what iv'e seen.
I suggest you start it with a definition of what makes a Canjo a canjo and not a cbg (besides the lack of a cigar box). Thanks
I'll join I'm making one out of a film canister as we speak
OK the votes are in and it is definitely time to start this up

I built one for the fun of it and have fallen in love with them

I can actually ply the thing and tab is very easy to find or adapt

I'm thinking about using them as business cards some how
When you say can-jo, do you mean like soda and beer and cling peaches can?

or can as in tin as in cookie/biscuit tin?
Diane, I can't speak for Rand, but from the picture attached to his original post, I believe he means just the beer can/canned good type that has only one string and a diatonic fretboard.
There is now a group! I jumped in and just made one, because I'm suddenly on a mission to churn out 12 for my family's summer camp. So, find all the wood that is too small to use in your scrap bin, and let's get building!
When I think of canjo I think of this

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Although I reckon a soup can fits the description too
Both types, and not limited to a single string, and including fret-less, diatonic and chromatic fretting (and micro tonal if that's where your interests lie). We may have to define sub categories and terminology as we go, but that's part of the fun. The two of the three canjo I have built were with soda cans (one with the open end down, and the other with the open end up). From those experiments it seems the sound comes from the open end, so for my third canjo, I used a thin stainless steel bowl to project the sound more toward the (imagined) audience. This third canjo may be too shallow and wide and does not seem to project as much as I had imagined. The stainless steel bowl was mounted to the canjo stick with a single screw and nut in the dead center bottom of the bowl, and the "bridge hole" where the string comes through and contacts the bowl is about half-way up the side of the bowl. The string is anchored to the center screw/nut holding the bowl to the canjo stick. Maybe stainless steel bowls as compared to aluminum cans don't make as good resonators.


Diane in Chicago said:
When you say can-jo, do you mean like soda and beer and cling peaches can?

or can as in tin as in cookie/biscuit tin?
By "both types", I mean canjos build from soda/beer/soup (etc.) cans and canjos built from cookie/cake tins where the orientation of the can is such that it faces the audiance like a banjo. But I think the definition of a canjo should not be limitied to these two style of mounting the can to the canjo stick.

Rand Moore said:
Both types, and not limited to a single string, and including fret-less, diatonic and chromatic fretting (and micro tonal if that's where your interests lie). We may have to define sub categories and terminology as we go, but that's part of the fun. The two of the three canjo I have built were with soda cans (one with the open end down, and the other with the open end up). From those experiments it seems the sound comes from the open end, so for my third canjo, I used a thin stainless steel bowl to project the sound more toward the (imagined) audience. This third canjo may be too shallow and wide and does not seem to project as much as I had imagined. The stainless steel bowl was mounted to the canjo stick with a single screw and nut in the dead center bottom of the bowl, and the "bridge hole" where the string comes through and contacts the bowl is about half-way up the side of the bowl. The string is anchored to the center screw/nut holding the bowl to the canjo stick. Maybe stainless steel bowls as compared to aluminum cans don't make as good resonators.


Diane in Chicago said:
When you say can-jo, do you mean like soda and beer and cling peaches can?

or can as in tin as in cookie/biscuit tin?
Rand Moore said:
By "both types", I mean canjos build from soda/beer/soup (etc.) cans and canjos built from cookie/cake tins where the orientation of the can is such that it faces the audiance like a banjo. But I think the definition of a canjo should not be limitied to these two style of mounting the can to the canjo stick.

There are lots of different types of containers that get referred to as cans (even if some of them are more often called tins). A few quick Google searches will show you that the term canjo is already in common usage to describe stringed instruments with many of these types of containers as resonators. To me, canjo ought to imply some connection with, or influence from, banjos (as distinct from D-bows, CBGs or regular guitars). But I guess banjos are a pretty diverse family of instruments - 4, 5 or 6 strings, some with short drone strings, some without. I have no problem with, say, a 3-string canjo if it has some sort of banjo influence (maybe in its tuning or general appearance)...and, of course, there are a lot of different banjo tunings. So a broad definition is good.

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