Banjobio: A Plectrum Banjo

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.

One thought on “Banjobio: A Plectrum Banjo

  1. I am enjoying your blog so much!! I remember the five-string banjo we kids were given one Christmas, along with Pete Seeger’s book. What fun we had learning the basics! I guess our attention spans weren’t very long, though. Good that at least part of it got a chance at reincarnation.


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