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Jun 7, 2023 - 5:15:24 PM
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2707 posts since 6/19/2008

Hi all, I have finished the gourdie we discussed in this thread. Here are some pictures.

Note: the neck is from mahogany, the finger board is jatoba, and the peg head overlay is red gum eucalyptus. I used metal friction pegs for convenience and nylon fishing line for the strings for economy. I seriously doubt that "official" nylon strings would sound much different, but who knows?

Many thanks to those who answered my questions in the other discussion.

Jun 7, 2023 - 8:48:30 PM

37 posts since 1/16/2023

Interesting design. I see you're merging a couple of styles of gourd banjos plus some modern features. I've never seen a wooden plate on the neck of the gourd, which is an interesting addition. I imagine this may affect the sound. What do you mean by "official" strings? Fishing line sounds fine but a pack of nylguts is better in my opinion.

Jun 8, 2023 - 5:10:40 AM



9 posts since 11/9/2015

Beautiful woodwork and finishing ... congratulations. Put up a video/audio snip, please.

Jun 8, 2023 - 7:31:38 AM

2707 posts since 6/19/2008

By "official" I mean strings that are actually made for musical instruments - NylGut, LaBella, or Savarez. It's getting harder, it seems, to find these for banjos. I do like NylGut, and I have a set, but I think I'll save that for my next gourd banjo.

Yesterday I tuned it to Open E, 1 1/2 steps below standard Open G tuning. I'll see if I can tune it to Open G later today and see how it sounds. Right now I think the first and 4th strings, which are 20 lb. test fishing line, may be a bit too small. I could switch to 30 lb. test and see if that makes an improvement.

As far as the heel plate/plug, it was an idea that occurred to me as a way to provide some support for the neck extension so it won't twist around. I sort of synthesized various ideas on how to do the neck and what to do with the neck of a bottle gourd. I saw a Clifton Hicks video on building with the neck extension going through the stem end of the bottle gourd and out the blossom end, so I adopted that. But he uses some wedges, which he didn't show in the video, to fasten the neck in. I thought my idea would work as well or better. It's hard to say what affect it has on sound. It might be worth drill a couple of holes in the plug to see if it opens up the sound a bit. So far it seems muffled - but I'll wait til I have it up to full tension before I make a final decision - or a sound sample, for that matter.

Edited by - Jonnycake White on 06/08/2023 07:32:07

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