My tenor banjo was an unsatisfactory plectrum banjo for two reasons. The first was that it was shorter and had fewer frets than a real plectrum banjo; and plectrum banjo style uses every fret. The second reason was that I had lost the resonator a long time ago. A plectrum banjo is supposed to project a big sound.
I inquired at the luthier about buying a new plectrum banjo. He searched the catalogs and came up with a good one for $600. That was very much over budget for me, and set me thinking.
I had made some crude instruments many years before. And some time after that, we had bought a cheap 5-string banjo for the children. They had never taken to it; furthermore, the neck had warped unrepairably. I checked with the children, who gave me permission to do whatever I wanted with the unusable banjo.
I bought Siminoff’s Construction of a Five-String Banjo…. (See “Make Your Own Capo-ble Banjo?”) I bought the necessary suppIies from Stewart MacDonald. I modified Siminoff’s plans to make a 4-string plectrum banjo neck. Otherwise I followed his directions pretty faithfully. The combination of the new neck and the old pot resulted in a pretty respectable looking and sounding banjo, which you see above.
Question: Why is the arm rest where it is?
Now I was off and running, or so I thought.