Make a ...
Dancing Lumberjack
Thumb Piano

Elizabeth Cotten
Mountain Dulcimer

Song Sheets
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Satisfied Mind

Make a Banjo

Finished banjosMaterials
9" cardboard circle
9" heavy paper plate
1" x 1/2" x 32" board (the fretboard)
wooden coffee stirrers (the frets)
#11 guitar string
1 eye screw
1 U shaped nail
2 thumbtacks
sand paper
tape measure or ruler
masking tape
crayons, markers or paint
ribbon or string (the strap)


1) Glue a 9 inch cardboard circle to the top of a 9 inch heavy paper plate.
Glue a 9 inch cardboard circle to the top of a heavy 9 inch paper plate.

2) Sand the fretboard to keep from getting splinters.

3) Cut wooden coffee stirrers into 1" lengths. These are the frets. You will need 18 of them.

4) Mark the fretboard with a pencil at the following intervals: 
Mark the fretboard at the these intervals.

5) Glue a fret at each place you marked. Glue three frets on top of each other at the nut (the last mark at the top end). Glue five frets on top of each other at the bridge (the last mark at the bottom end).

6) Color the cardboard circle that is glued to the plate.

7) Use masking tape to cover the edge where the plate and circle are joined.

8) When the frets have dried, hammer a U shaped nail on the back at the bottom end of the fretboard  leaving enough room to thread a string under it. Screw the eye screw 3 or 4 turns into the top end of the fretboard. A few taps with a hammer on the screw will get it started. The bobby pin will give you some leverage for turning. A piece of masking tape will hold the bobby pin on the eye screw.

9) Thread the end of your #11 guitar string under the U shaped nail on the back. Pull the string around the bottom and across the frets on the front. Stick the string through the eye screw from the front. Push it through the masking tape. Stick the loose end of the string through the eye screw from the front. (Just push it right through the masking tape.) Pull the string snugly across the fretboard and wind it clockwise about four or five times around the eye screw. Stick the end again through the eye screw. Turn the eye screw clockwise to tighten the string to a good pitch for singing. You may need to raise the height of the bridge with additional sticks if all the notes do not play or if there is too much buzzing.

10) Glue sound chamber (cardboard circle and plate) to the back of the fretboard and secure with thumbtacks.

11) Tie a ribbon or string at each end for a strap. Pass it under the string.

Song Sheets


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