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Home-made banjo.

Posted by Lorix on Saturday, October 25, 2008

Last month I whent to a kind of a festival for  oldtime -musicians and danceres in denmark. It was the first time I attented a jam-session on the banjo ( except from the jams i've had with Tobias ( also a member on BHO ) who introduced me to DAFF ( Dansk-amerikansk folkemusik forening; danisk-american folk musick assosiation ). There I met a guy: Steen hwo had played banjo for quite a long time. Actually- when he started out on the banjo you couldent really buy at 5-string banjo in denmark. therefor he decided to built one him self.
  When i saw it I just fell in love with. It had/has a quite traschy look- it's builder is obviously not a profesional ( Steen is a reteired school-teacher ) It has a normal scale neck the fret-markers is ordinary stickers. The pot is made of brass and is 11 inchs wide and apr. 6 indh deep. The head is made from an old drum-skin from a floor-tom of an ordinary rock'n roll-drum set. I Had the great honor of playing it and i just LOVED the deep warm sound and my first thought was: THIS is f*cking real!!! ( sorry about the F-word but i really need a strong word to express my feelings about this ) this is what it's all about- to love the music and if you can't afford an instrument or if you can't BUY one then build it your self!!.
   For a long time I have felt the earge to build an instrument myself and this inspired me to do so and this is what i'm doing at the moment. I'm working with very cheap materials. The pot i made from an old 8-inch ventilation-tube i found at work. The head is a skin for an 8 inch-tom from an ordinary drum-set. The neck is made from wood that should normaly had been used for a kitchen-table. The fret-board ( or whatever you call it when it is fret-less :-) ) is made from ebony  wich I bought in my local music store. I made a tailpiece from a piece  of brass  a blacksmith was kind enough to give me for free. For the knot I had to go to the butchers and buy a piece of bone WITH maet. The piece of bone for the knot is nice but the soup was delicious :-D. I made the bridge from a piece of african hard wood ( i've forgot its name ) one of my friends from my work gave me. the only  thing that was bought an installed  as delivered from the factory is the tuning-pegs. I want geared tuneres since life is just too short for friction-tuners.
   I want to build a banjo as great as Steens. and thats why I have chosen mainly cheep materials- I can't afford to make mistakes with expensive materials. I want to keep my first experimenting as cheep as possible so i can build up my skills with a relativly low cost. I don't want to waste money on a crappy home-made banjo but consernig time and banjo building there is no such thing as a waste of time only gain of experience.
   My father is a carpenter and has his own workshop. As a child i used to make a lot of toys myself and right now im am a theater-tecnician and that means that i am used to work with my hands.  If you have any experience concerning craftman ship you should really build your own instrument- it is a joy

2 comments on “Home-made banjo.”

mike gregory Says:
Saturday, April 25, 2009 @2:10:41 PM

It IS a joy!

Gluggy Says:
Saturday, May 2, 2009 @5:14:34 PM

what about some pictures Peter, I'm interested to see the results of your build. Your picking style is quite unique too, and sounds really old time authentic, great tunes on the vid forum. Cheers Glyn

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