Friday, May 27, 2011

The Union Leader Banjo (IW#004)

It has become a little bit of a sickness.  Now when I walk through the flea market I can not help but look for things that might make good instruments.  This week I found this lovely little Union Leader Tobacco tin.





How could I not make that into an instrument?  I have been wanting to make a canjo like this, and it is May, after all, so this can be my May Day contribution.  I had two tuners left over from another project, so this became a two-string instrument, which is nicely symmetrical, I have now made instruments with 1, 2, 3, and 4 strings.  After a 5 string banjo I think I am going to stop adding to the number of strings.

Since there are only two strings, I decided to use screws for the nut (again, good joke there, the nut is screws), and for the first time I tried coping out the head to get the placement of the tuners right, a practice I think I will continue, as it seemed to work well.

No frets on this one, and it has a pretty good tinny sound, and is pretty loud, I have to say.  The top of the can, which is the back of the banjo, is open and as long as I do not dampen it against my body as I play it really rings out.  Nice low action and easy to play. Not too sure what to tune it, so it is currently tuned to C and G, which is ok but I have been trying other tunings as well.  Here it what it sounds like:

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