Photo Title : Hyatt - First one - front  |  close this window


This is a banjo I made for my son John-Paul for Christmas 2001. Clarke Buehling gave me the gourd with its top already cut out - he did not plan to use it soon, or at all. Also, he gave me a cherry neck blank that had been band sawed to the correct profile. However, he wondered why his supplier had done that since there was a huge check running up the neck. I was going to connect it with walnut "keys" since I like doing that sort of thing. However, I bought a piece of maple instead and used the cherry neck for a pattern, and so started from scratch. The headstock I made different from Clarke's, which is Boucher style, and I got that look from one of Bob Flesher's minstrel banjos (Sweeney). This is a pretty large gourd with a rich sound; it has a larger skin head that Clarke would normally use. I decided I would prefer to make a wooden tailpiece, and on this one, I made an ebony key which slides through the stick, and tightens slightly against the gourd. I think that the scale length is about 27". This was fun to build and quite an experience. John-Paul saw me carving on the neck at our other son's home, but did not know the banjo would be for him. He was tickled.