C.B.Gitty Concert Ukulele Parts Pack PETE1 Banjo

A PETE1 Concert Banjo Ukulele using the C.B. Gitty kit.

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Comment by Will King on September 16, 2017 at 11:12am

Thanks Uncle John, Richard and Snuffy.  This is the 5th PETE1 banjo I have built and they are all my favorites to play.

Comment by Snuffy Smith on September 16, 2017 at 3:17am

Hey Will, really cool build...very creative. Love the see-thru face on your git.

Comment by Richard Sundberg on September 15, 2017 at 9:56pm
I didn't see the video or audio, nothing there. But the pictures and building description very detailed and informative. Thanks Will!
Comment by Uncle John on September 15, 2017 at 3:22pm

Clearly big sound for a uke.

Comment by Will King on September 15, 2017 at 2:46pm

Java Corona Latte Box Banjo Ukulele made using the C.B. Gitty Concert Ukulele Parts Pack and a PETE1 skin.  Supplemental building instructions are below.

Comment by Will King on September 15, 2017 at 1:27pm

How to build a Concert Size PETE1 Cigar Box Banjo Ukulele

Using the C.B. Gitty Concert Ukulele Parts Pack

By Will King, Sacramento Area Cigar Box Guitar Workshop


Download the C.B. Gitty Uke Kit Guide PDF (found under the Cigar Box Ukulele DIY Kit page) and review the building procedures and the tools needed than order the C.B. Gitty Concert Ukulele Parts Pack.

With the PETE1 plastic skin you can build a true Cigar Box Instrument, because you tack the skin onto the cigar box frame and heat shrink it to get the drum sound.

The Orange Java Corona Latte or the Black Corona Maduro or Mint cigar box was selected for making this Banjo Ukulele because the wood frame has thick walls which are useful in nailing the PETE1 skin to the box and the boxes dimensions of 8 1/2 X 6 1/2 X 1 7/8 inchs allow for the proper bridge placement when using the factory made neck and fretboard supplied with the C.B. Gitty Parts Pack.


            Extra parts needed:  Two 1 ½” & one 1” drywall screws, two ¾ X 6” square fillers from a cigar box, Six ¾” long wood screws, #12 or #14 Carpet Tacks (Everbilt 1.75 ozs at HD is enough for nailing one skin).  A PETE1 container with a flat top area of about 9” X 7”. (store bought sheet cakes, cookies, sweet buns.  A large sheet cake is big enough for two skins)


            Remove the lid and save it for the resonator.  Remove the paper bottom and sand the surface to clean it up.   What was the bottom of the cigar box will now be the top used to nail on the PETE1 skin.


The boxes joints are only held together by a nail and glue and will need to be reinforced.  Cut the two ½” to ¾” square X 6” box fillers so that you have four blocks 1 ½” long and sand both ends of each off at a bevel to give them a finished look.  Use sandpaper and a file to clean out the inside corners of the cigar box frame and using lots of glue, glue and clamp the squares into each corner leaving then down about ¼” from the top and flush with the bottom of the box.

Comment by Will King on September 15, 2017 at 1:26pm

Now is the time to orientate the box.  When you complete the uke, you want the opening in the frame, where the lid bar was removed, to be toward the floor (for a right hander the Java Corona name will be facing up toward you).  So check twice and mark an F for front on the inside of a short side of the frame.  That is where you are going to mount the neck.


After finishing and mounting the neck to the frame per the C.B. Gitty instructions, take a ruler and place it along the neck and draw a line with pencil where the ruler intersects the back side of the frame.  Repeat on the other side of the neck.  This is where you will mount the string anchor, flush with the top of the frame.  Cut the C.B. Gitty Bridge lengthwise between the string anchor and the saddle holder.  Sand the glue surface of the frame than pre-drill for the screws.  Glue and screw the string anchor to the back side of the frame, aliened with the top of the frame

Comment by Will King on September 15, 2017 at 1:23pm

and centered between the two pencil marks.  Remove the neck.  Mark the top of the frame with a pencil, where any screws are used, so that you don’t put a tack there.


Place the PETE1 skin on the frame and using a 5/64 drill, taped to mark a ½” depth, drill through the PETE1 skin and into the frame on the back cross member.  Drive a tack in firmly.   Holding the skin firmly, repeat in the diagonal corner.  Drill and tack along the front and back frame using about ¾” spacing for the tacks.  In order not to break the joints on the two long sides of the frame, place two ¾” supports under the long sides of the frame when you do the drilling and tacking.  When all the tacks are in, turn the heat gun on ‘high’ and keeping it about 2 ½” to 3” away from the PETE1 skin and moving back and forth, side to side, back to front for about one minute.  When you see the edges, outside the tacks start to wrinkle, you are done….DON’T OVER DO IT OR IT WILL TEAR THE SKIN OR PULL OUT THE TACKS!  After about three or four minutes cooling time, you can thump the skin with your finger and you should get a good drum sound.  If the skin is soft or no drum sound, repeat the heat gun process and get the gun a little closer to the skin this time.


Reinstall the neck and string the uke up using the instructions from C.B. Gitty.  Install the bridge under the strings.  If the strings are too low over the 12th fret, cut a batten down to about twice the width of the bridge and slide it under the bridge to get the proper string height.  Sometimes I have to make two or more shims before I get it right.  Tune up the Banjo Uke and see how you like the sound before you install the original top as a resonator.  Some sound great as open back and others better with the resonator installed on the reinforcement blocks.  Use the marker to touch up the finish.


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