Introduction

I have started another banjo building project. This time I am going to build a minstrel style banjo from the ground up. The design of this banjo will be different from the usual minstrel in several ways. For one thing, it will have a very deep pot. The pot will be 3 1/2" deep instead of the more customary 2" to 2 1/2" deep. The reason for this is that I want to make a banjo that sounds like a gourd banjo, but with a wooden hoop instead of a gourd for a pot. The gourds I have used for my banjos are very large, and I want to duplicate the volume of those banjos on this one. You can see how I built my gourd banjos by visiting Brian's Home Page and clicking on the links that are on the left hand side.

I have alread made a hoop for this banjo. It took me a long time to figure out how to do that, so that part of the projet has been described on a different page, Bending Banjo Hoops. Get ready for a long read if you go there.

Another difference is that I am going to construct this banjo in the same manner as I made my gourd banjos. The neck will be extended to a long tailpiece that will be skewered through the banjo hoop at the proper neck angle. The usual way of attaching the neck to the pot is to use a round dowel stick that is set into the heel of the neck at the proper angle, and then the dowel goes straight through the hoop parallel with the head. I am going to attach the neck in this odd way because, well.. I don't know how to do it the traditional way.

This will be a tackhead banjo because I do not have the tools and skills yet to make metal tension hoops, shoes, hooks, nuts and all that other stuff. So I will be simply stretching a calf skin across the top of the hoop and tacking it to the wood.

The intention of this web site is to chronicle my (mis)adventures while I attempt to build this banjo. I am sure that there will be some gotcha's and oopsies along the way... so far that is what has happened each time I have done this. But I keep doing it anyway. So that is about it for the introduction. The next step is to get the project under way.

But before we start, here are some tips about how the site is arranged.

Click on [Next] to get started or use the Site Map to go directly to any of the pages.

Original post date February 2, 2013

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Last updated December 9, 2013