Make a Banjo
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
tape measure or ruler
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
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
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
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 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.
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