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Dec 8, 2022 - 10:05:39 AM
like this
2632 posts since 6/19/2008

I define a banjitar as a banjo that has a guitar body (as opposed to a guitjo, which is a guitar with a banjo body). Others may differ in terminology, but I had to call it something!

I built this for myself with the help of others in my lutherie group, especially in bending the body sides and lending me a body mold. The sides and back are made from koa. The top is a Martin factory reject, which came shaped for a dreadnaught with the sound hole and rosette already cut and inlayed. I cut it down to fit the parlor sized body. It is X-braced. The neck is some flame maple. This is the third neck I've gotten from the same board. It has a two-way adjustable truss rod, accessed from the sound hole. The fretboard and bridge are wenge. I made it simple - no binding on either the body or the fretboard. It has a good sound. I'll include a couple of sound samples, but they don't really do it justice - partly due to my poor musicianship, and partly to inexperience in recording.

I should mention that the 5th string is doubled and I tune the two strings two octaves apart. The scale length is 25 3/8 inches approximately, and I have it tuned A2 a4 E3 A3 c#4 e4 (open A tuning).

Dec 8, 2022 - 10:07 AM

59985 posts since 12/14/2005

Looks good!

Dec 8, 2022 - 2:21:43 PM

15086 posts since 6/29/2005

Very interesting, and it sounds good too!

The doubled 5th string is unique to my knowledge. Years back I made a banjo lute (similar to your banjitar) and made one with paired 4 strngs, but a single 5th string, kind of the reverse of what you are doing.  I like yours better because the paired strings on mine were a bear to tune—2 are enough.

You did a very nice job on the guitar body, too—kudos for that. I love the curly maple neck.

Dec 10, 2022 - 8:41:15 PM

2632 posts since 6/19/2008

Thanks for the kudos.

As far as the double drone 5th string goes, I built two banjolas several years ago with that feature. I don't like to play them much because of other factors (primarily really clunky necks), but I think it's an interesting idea. This setup adds a bit of bass into the sound.

Dec 10, 2022 - 11:49:52 PM

6018 posts since 12/20/2005

It is a great looking banjitar, some really nice wood went into it. Comes together quite nice.
It sounds original and it sounds great.
I see a lot of practical versatility with this instrument.
Congratulations on this fine build !

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