I recently (early 2003) purchased a Goldtone Maple Classic banjo kit because I wanted to try playing a resonator banjo, but they tend to be a bit expensive. Building a kit gave me the opportunity to try one with a price that seemed acceptable for such an experiment. The kit also gave me a chance to learn more about what goes into building a bluegrass banjo (I have previously built country banjos).
Before I go any farther, I must point out that I have no financial interest in Goldtone Banjos. I do not represent the company in any way, and I make the following statements only as a satisfied customer.
After I got started on this project, I thought that it might be helpful to others if I published my experiences as I built the kit. I have built several musical instrument kits from various vendors over the years, and I have found that there is usually more to building them than is evident at first blush. The instructions which come with the kits tend to be a bit.... um... optimistic... about the course of events which must transpire on the way to the completed instrument. So, these pages are filled with my adventures as I did the project. I have not candy-coated the story and I have tried to show what happened, skinned knuckles and all. I have added some tips and suggestions which I wish I had known when I started out making this kit. I hope that these may be useful to you.
I took photos of my progress as I built the banjo, so this document has the potential of causing long download times. Therefore I have broken the story down into several pages to keep the size of each reasonable. I have also made small thumbnails of the images for inclusion with the text in order to speed up the display time. To see a photo in full size, just click on the photo and then use the Back button on your browser to go back to the text. Please be a bit patient if you are on a slow connection.
Each page is set up to describe my approach and what it took to get the job done. Each page contains the following sections:
The pages are:
So, without further ado, I will begin with some general information about the kit.