Tenor #1: Simple Beginnings


Banjo Egg
Originally uploaded by Usonian.
At the time of this writing, I call myself an aspiring luthier in the 'About Me' section at the top of this page.

I began to take a fairly serious interest in building instruments as a hobby in late 2002, a few months after acquiring my first banjo.

I've spent the intervening years buying books, tools, and materials, and bookmarking other luthiers' web sites. Over the last year I've done some work on a short scale banjo, but keep running up against the realities of how expensive a banjo actually is to put together... and because some of my work is admittedly fairly rough I've been reluctant to spend very much more money for nickel-plated hardware on a learning project.

Enter this 10 inch Remo hand drum that I picked up last month at Downtown Sounds in Northampton, Massachusetts... for about twenty dollars, I've got a complete low-brow pot assembly. No need to buy 12+ tension hook/hex nut/shoe bracket assemblies for $3-4 apiece, no need to buy a $35 tension hoop, or coordinator rods. (I'm not even going to touch the subject of tone rings. If you care about tone rings, you probably stopped reading as soon I announced my intent to use a pre-tuned drum for a pot.)

So I've decided to build myself a 19 fret, open back tenor banjo, concentrating on the neck and getting my feet wet with installing frets and some pre-cut inlay.

In an attempt to solidify my own commitment to this hobby and (I hope) eventual business, I'm splitting this weblog off of my main site.