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Jan 24, 2021 - 10:29:09 PM
177 posts since 10/18/2020
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I am going to attempt to build myself a gourd banjo and have a question on building the neck
does a gourd banjo need a truss rod in the neck I will use nylon strings

when I searched for the answer it would only come up with open backs

I am doing this mainly for the experience of building one

Thanks in advance

Edited by - Don Smith1959 on 01/24/2021 22:45:25

Jan 25, 2021 - 3:05:47 AM
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568 posts since 3/9/2013

Short answer is no. But some may still choose to use one. Some may use a stiffener like carbon fiber rod. As long as your wood is fully aged and you only use nylon you will be fine without.

Jan 25, 2021 - 4:03:14 AM
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2 posts since 2/16/2020

The gourd, rather than the neck, is the limiting component. They are most often tuned down a couple steps to keep the tension low.

Jan 25, 2021 - 4:22:32 AM
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1095 posts since 8/10/2005

I fit all the goud and tack heads necks with a carbon fiber rod, may not needed but doesn't hurt

Jan 25, 2021 - 8:30:20 AM
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397 posts since 3/26/2009

I'm no expert,  but I have built 5 gourds.  All of them are fret-less, walnut, one piece neck with stacked heel.   I use fishing line string, but up to 80lb...the tension seems about the same as the nylguts I had on my old Supertone.   Never had the least bit of problem with the necks.   I lay down the bridge usually when I'm not playing them.  Seems to help with the head sinking in high humidity.    

I agree that the weak point is the gourd.  I've had no luck growing them.  A few that I have found look great till you cut them then they ar thin and brittle.   I got lucky and found some that are good big thick ones.  Tried different things but this last one seemed to work the best.   I scraped it out, then wet down the foamy inside with plain Krylon clear spray paint.   Took three or four coats before it stopped soaking it up.  Thing was hard as a rock when I got done.




Jan 25, 2021 - 8:26:18 PM
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177 posts since 10/18/2020
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@steveh_2o nice gourd banjo

Jan 26, 2021 - 7:00:25 AM
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56647 posts since 12/14/2005
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Plain old fact: For the first couple thousand years, gourd banjos had no truss rods.

Modern fact: One may conceal a truss rod inside a banjo neck, and nobody would know, unless they really CARED to look VERY closely.

MUSICAL fact: The vast majority of humans don't care about the finer points of how an instrument is made.
All they care about is "Do I like the music I'm hearing?"

Making banjos is fun, and I wish you a great success with this project.
Made a couple, myself.
Even tried grow my own gourds, once!
Epic fail when I tried dry them out.

Jan 26, 2021 - 12:44 PM

177 posts since 10/18/2020
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@mike gregory
Nice Build
I will leave the gourd growing up to the experts I live 15 miles away from one of the largest Gourd growers in the US in Arizona Wertz gourd farm so I will be purchasing a couple gourds from them have already been in contact with wertz but their gourds are about a month out from being ready so I am just trying to get all my ducks lined up in a row before I begin my adventure building one, again this build is strictly for my personal knowledge of building one personally, I think anyone with any kind of interest in banjos should attempt building one, for me i just am curious about some of the frustrations builders go through LOL, I have always been into working with wood and already pretty much have all the tools to build one except for a couple of smaller tools like the peg shaper's and the peg hole reamer which I have ordered, so I figured why not it will give me something to do.

Jan 26, 2021 - 12:50:48 PM

177 posts since 10/18/2020
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can anyone direct me to somewhere that can tell me what the spacing of the holes on the tale piece is supposed to be or do you just space the so they look good

Jan 27, 2021 - 8:44:07 AM

158 posts since 5/16/2016

A truss rod is not necessary with nylon strings.

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