Monday, March 21, 2011

Project Success and the Banjo Planjo really exists now

It is with a satisfying “twang” and grin that I declare my Banjo project complete. Now even though it’s complete does not necessarily mean playable. Keep in mind I remember nothing of how to play so it’s just plucking the strings.

Going through the full process of building this was an excellent learning curve and I think in some way even picked up a few lessons on how to play. The build process took a long time but I used it wisely to read, listen and watch everything I could about Banjos. Once I got the strings laced on this homemade project (after snapping 2 of them with my homemade pegs) I started giving my shot at the basic Scruggs rolls. My “Planjo” as I now call it actually turned out quite good considering I several lack in the woodworking skills department. It’s very light weight and has an open back. The neck is very thick, and the bridge and nut are super flimsy and I expect them to break anytime. Also, make no mistake that even though I don’t have an ear for what to tune-it-in yet I can tell you without hesitation it sounds like shit; the best part about all that is that I still LOVE it!

I set myself out on a mission and would not let myself get caught up in spending new money. I took whatever time I could get in between running, work, and errands to work on it and am glad that I stuck with it. The things I learned along the way were invaluable and at times eye-opening. It was really cool coming across new videos and information about all the varieties and possibilities of that sweet sounding 5 stringed instrument.

All together I probably spent about 20 hours building two “Planjos”. One broke a few times in different places and got glued together, while the other faired ok in the process and actually is what I used to play the basic rolls on.

Knowing that I stuck with this process to the finish and the duration was a little over two months it gave me a smile to show what’s capable when you are really motivated. I went from almost knowing nothing of instrument building and certainly barely anything of playing as you may recall from my last story.

For the curious ones there, I really did just use what I could find in the garage.  final parts included 5 eye bolts for tuners, 1/4" plexiglass for the head, and a 4x4 sheet of plywood that was cut, glued, and manipulated to resemble a banjo.  My only cost basis was about $6 for the strings.. WooHoooo

“Twang Twang, play on my Hillbilly friends”

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