Gourd Banjo III


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Before I get to the photographs and the bragging, I usually have a Confessions page where I bring to light the mistakes that I made while making the banjo. Since this site is intended to be educational as well as entertaining, it is good to air the dirty linen. So here goes.

The most egregious error seems to be the placement of the 5th string tuning peg. It is slightly too close to the location of the 4th string, and when played hard the 4th string buzzes against the 5th string peg.

Peg mistake

Wow, look at the figure in that wood! It's almost satin figure. That is why I was so intent on saving the warped finger board wood. You don't find wood like this every day.

I fixed the 5th string problem somewhat by twisting the tailpiece over to the right hand side. One benefit of using the baling wire on the tailpiece is that some adjustment is possible by bending the wire. But that didn't do much so I moved the nut to the right in its slot to move the four strings over a bit. Here is a closeup after I made the correction.


Here is a photo of what I did to the nut to move the strings over.

shifted Nut

It looks a bit odd with that overhang on the right, but it appears to keep its position well, and the string problem is much better. I suppose I could remove the part of the nut that overhangs the fingerboard on the right hand side, but I can do that later. It doesn't get in the way. This has left a large amount of space between the 4th string and the edge of the finger board, but once again that is a cosmetic issue. It won't affect the way the banjo plays or sounds.

The 4th string was still buzzing against the 5th string peg when I played it hard, but upon inspection I discovered that it was hitting the little pigtail of string sticking out of the 5th string peg. Just my luck that the pigtail would be facing the 4th string when the strings are up to pitch. You can see the little pigtail in the closeup above. I clipped off a little bit more of the string and the buzzing went away. It works well now unless I really hammer on the 4th string.

Another embarrassing mistake is the part of the head that got wrapped around itself when I glued it to the gourd.

Head wrinkle

That is about all there is to confess to. I didn't make as many bad mistakes on this one as I did on some of my past banjos. I am quite pleased with how this came out.

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Original post date September 12, 2009

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Last updated September 12, 2009