Forum Replies Created
It’s still a long term goal for carverbanjos. I imagine having a large workshop and space for about 10 people for a long weekend retreat. I think it will be within the next 5 years. I’m not planning to stay where I currently live, so I don’t want to build a shop here. I’d like to find a property where I can make this happen, there are lots of things that will have to line up before then.
I’d like to do a few “camps” throughout the summers, emphasizing different banjo constructions: gourd banjos, rim banjos, mountain banjos. I’d like to provide space to sleep/camp with option for hotels nearby. I’d like to provide meals and invite musician friends for entertainment in the evenings.
I see all this being the final product of my life work with banjos. Finally making banjos in person and interacting with people face to face.
I know Jeff Menzies hosts banjo building camps as well and I don’t want to copy or take anything away from his events and success. I make similar banjos to Jeff but I don’t see what we do as in competition in any way. I think we have some overlap in customers but mostly we reach different audiences.
Kirby and others,
What would you like to see from a banjo building workshop?
What are reasonable price points for such events?
How long does the typical person have to spend at an event like this?
I’m located in central indiana, how many people are local enough to join?
Any other suggestions?
Hi Kirby, welcome to the forum!
If you are looking at the 10” full scale minstrel model here are my recommendations:
Option 1: use the provided strings and use the high set to tune to E.
Option 2: use the provided strings and use the low set to tune to low A (almost a full octave below standard G. If you go all the way to low G the strings are going to be maxed out and they won’t intonate very well).
Option 3: purchase a set of banjo nylgut, gut, or nylon strings that are intended for G tuning and tune to standard G.
My provided string set allows you to choose from a wide range of tunings, but to get up to standard G they don’t quite allow it or want to hold tuning. I make the sets from classical guitar nylon sets. I discuss this in a previous thread about strings here on the forum.
Hope that helps out and hope to make a kit for you.
Good job Thomas! Excellent pictures and review. Great to see these kits being put together. I like the added fret dot markers.
I can address the not so good points you made. They are valid points and I understand it is constructive feedback, which is always appreciated.
The frailing scoop is a little short, I put it there in all these necks though it could be longer on the fretless necks. I wanted a full 19 frets, so the scoop had to be shorter, it begins right after the 19th fret and that doesn’t leave a whole lot of length. You could extend the scoop easily since it’s a fretless neck.
The tacks will pass through the rim, you could test and trim the tacks before assembly. I talk about this in a lot of my previous assembly videos, I can’t remember if I mention it in the specific video for this kit.
The neck is what it is for thickness. I work with 1” lumber, so I understand but that’s not something we can change. As for roundness, you can shape the neck to your liking. I talk about this in my other assembly videos, but I left it out of this specific kit video.
The dowel is a bit wonky on yours. If it’s my error I sincerely apologize. It can happen because I was drilling the holes by eye, I’ve since developed a jig to help with the process. I’m not sure if it could have been glued into the neck at an angle to correct the offset or not. I’m glad the strings still line up and the banjo looks like it plays as intended.
I appreciate your feedback and pictures!
Alrighty, got my calipers out.
For standard g tuning, I recommend using a set of nylgut banjo strings that are made for g tuning.
I provide strings that are made from nylon classical guitar sets. Mainly because these strings are much cheaper, last a long time, and sound nice on the kits.
E tuning is recommended for most of my kits- this is a few steps below g. The guitar strings like e tuning, so I work with that. We take the top 4 strings from the guitar and add another top string or simply use a 50lb fishing line so you don’t have to buy extra guitar strings. Heavier fishing line can be suitable for the other strings. I think it’s best to use the guitar string for your 4th banjo string though because this string is wound.
4…silver wound 0.035”
5…50lb line, 0.025”
For the low octave tuning or “cello” tunings we are using the bottom five strings from the guitar set. An octave below standard g is a bit low and the strings don’t have enough tension to intonate very well, so I say tune up one step from that to low A.
5…0.030”(you could use another 0.040 guitar string here if you want).
If you can find strings +/- 0.001” or so you should be fine.
Please don’t feel limited by your strings. Try different gauges to find the sounds/tuning ranges you are looking for.
Welcome to the forum Patrick, thanks for posting! Your banjo looks great. I’m seeing a few customers are staining the rim to match the neck and I think that’s awesome.
A few threads below yours, there’s a member asking about staining the rim. Maybe you could pop into that thread or share a picture here of your rim? Specifically, the question is concerning the scarf joint taking stain as well as the rest of the rim.
The classic minstrel is my flagship kit and I have refined this kit over the years. I started making banjos just like this one almost 20 years ago! The price is a little higher than most other kits I offer, but I try to deliver on the quality. Thanks again, hope you enjoy your banjo for many years.
(I merged your threads, trying to keep the forum simple to navigate.)
I like how you color matched the rim to the neck, looks really nice
Hi Alexander, thanks for posting
You can remove the small brass string guide with a flathead screwdriver, it’s just a wood screw.
I’ve already rough sanded the fingerboard and flattened it before sale. Just a quick hand-sand with a folded piece of 220 followed by 320 grit will have it ready for varnish. You could wrap a small flat block of wood with the sandpaper if you want to insure the fingerboard stays totally flat, but it’s not required in my opinion. Please post pics when you are all assembled!
Thank you to everyone that has participated in this thread.
I enjoyed reading the posts and hearing how you’ve all gotten into the banjo.
It’s my hope that you all continue to check into the forums and post again in the future.
I know some people have had trouble signing up for this forum and that is something I am working on figuring out. If you have tried to sign up but we’re unable to post please email me and I will try to resend confirmation emails. I will do another giveaway in the future when I have all of these technical issues sorted out so that everyone will have a fair chance to participate.
Now, the winner, drawn at random from a hat: tpierc
Please email your neck/fret choice for your 12” rim kit and shipping address to Brian at email@example.com
Lots of videos out there, I’ll bump this thread occasionally
Thanks for the question ThomasH, you’re not overthinking it. I account for the zero fret or lack thereof and cut the nut slot so the scale still lines up with the ogees. I do this on both the minstrel and Americana necks.
feel free to post videos, if you are not able to, let me know< trying to figure out what this forum is capable of thanks everyone
a favorite version of soldier’s joy
This is a cool topic.
A favorite (modern) old time player has been Frank Fairfield. He plays finger style and clawhammer on old and cheap banjos, which I can relate to and appreciate.
Nine pound hammer