It’s been a while and I wanted to share a story in hopes that you good people won’t make the same boneheaded mistake I just did.

I haven’t built a canjo in several years and decided to get back into it. So I used Fret2Find to print out a template of the fretboard -- 18” scale. Then, as usual, I taped the printout to the neck, scored each fret line with an X-Acto knife and proceeded to go on fretting.

I thought it came out great…nice and smooth, very playable. EXCEPT…. The intonation was WAY off. At first I thought the action was too high and maybe I could lower the action by filing the nut and fix it that way. But then I measured the neck again and realized that somehow the scale was not 18”, but closer to 17”. I was off by a full inch (30mm)!

What could account for the discrepancy? Apparently, I had the printer set to “fit image into printable area.” In short, the computer printout was smaller than actual size. D’OH!

Well, I didn’t want to waste this nice neck, so I measured the distance from nut to 12th fret and came up with 215mm, and doubled that to calculate that the scale was actually 16.9” (430mm). So now I’m thinking, if I move the bridge (or, Spam can) up about an inch, I might be able to salvage the neck.

I made a quick cut, moved the can up and voila. I now have a canjo with 17” scale and very good intonation.

 I have learned a lot from reading success stories here but maybe someone can learn from my epic fail. At least there was a happy ending and no else one has to know.   


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    Finally got around to a video. Here's a sound sample plugged into a Roland Micro Cube. 

  • Hi HG, I'm glad you found the problem and fixed it. But for future reference, I think you will find that one inch = 25mm not 30mm. Probably a typo but thought I'd mention it anyway.

    • You are correct, I was eyeballing it at the time. Including the gap between the can and the neck, the scale was more like 16.9 inches or 429mm. I'm no luthier but the tuner says it's more or less in tune all the way up the neck, so I'll take it. :) 

  • The same thing happened to me the first time I used FretFind2D, it was a fretless, so it didn’t matter much? I always measure in order to verify a template’s accuracy now.  good save, welcome back Greg :) 

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