Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Banjo and the Ruler

Almost a full year in the making and I still messed this instrument up. Well actually it sounds pretty great, but the action is a bit to high, with no way of lowering it. I am thinking about shimming the fret board, but then that goes against my once it’s done its done policy. It’s not like there are five others in line for being completed. I’ll just take what I learn from this one and apply to it the next.

Some of the interesting pieces that went into the instrument are of course a chicken cooker, which I love to use as much as I can, but seem to be unable to find them of late. I think I may have depleted the stock beyond repair. The neck of the instrument was made from a piece of oak, and the fret board was designed from an old yard stick from my father. On the right hand side of the instrument I placed seven strings tunes to an open G. I think I did this more the visual then the audio. Who knows, hopefully day they might come in handy.

1 comment:

Matt said...


I also used yardsticks in the construction of two of my instruments. One of them failed; it was a to-scale guitar using the following materials:

1 salad bowl
1 clipboard
several pieces of fishing line for countertension (these are ran around the salad bowl, around the back, and down the neck through a series of eye screws)
God knows how many eye screws
wooden dowels.

There were two yardsticks involved, cut to the scale of a regular guitar neck, which left enough of one of the yardsticks to run across the back as a spine. The other yardstick was used in another project that actually worked, but was very elementary.

I think the wood is just too weak. Perhaps it would have worked had I used fishing line for the strings instead of actual guitar strings (but, as we know, that would sound like crap).

On the other hand, it works great for small-scale instruments. I made an Acoustic Halftar using a cardboard box, wooden dowels, nails, fishing line, eye screws, the other piece of yardstick, and foul language. Its strings are tuned to E, A, and D (the top half of a guitar) and it works great. Since the cardboard is... well, just cardboard, I stuck a couple nails in to help with tuning when necessary (they're easily lost, so I keep two in the body at all times). I was pretty surprised at the sound quality I got out of a mere cardboard box.

I couldn't have done it without the inspiration from this site. You're a crazy, loony, wacked-out genius and quite an inspiration.