canjo building and tuning

Hi, We have a little pop can canjo someone gave me.  My grandkids love it so we have decided to make them all one for Christmas.  I bought the ebook how to make it and all the supplies from CBGitty.  My husband wanted to make them out of a Danish Butter Cookie can 12oz.  It sounds deep.  We are trying to tune it.  I am not sure a can that size will work since it is so big.  Does anyone know if it will work?

Also when I have tuned the other canjo in the past I use my guitar tuner to key of C.  Is that the right way to do it?  I don't know much about all of this and am a beginner guitar player.  

We wanted the kids to learn a little bit of music.  A few of them play the piano.  We hope they can play the music notes they are playing on the piano on the canjo.

Thank you for the help in advance.


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  • No right or wrong tuning, unless you want to specifically align it with another instrument for playing together. Once you decide on a particular scale length, and have your frets installed, just tune it up until the string sounds clean on all frets and don't go tighter than you have to so it's easy for little fingers to fret it.
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  • Hey Brenda, you can use any string & tune your canjo to any key you want, we make our own rules? FYI nylon strings have less tension, making it great for beginners? Also, you can use anything that’ll fit on a stick for a resonator, providing it doesn’t cut into the fretboard layout? Is the can an oblong  or round? Either way, you can use both, just adhere to the same scale length formula you used from the book? There’s a Canjo group here, scroll around to see what the members have built? :)  

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