A few weeks ago Tori picked up a “Travel Banjo” from our local music store. She has been playing the Banjo I Built a number of years ago for some time now…and I’m happy to say its nice to hear it being played. She has gotten pretty good with it and switched over to “claw-hammer” playing.
The new travel banjo is something that we can take to the cabin and on camping trips without too much worry about bringing the fancy one. The new banjo uses hooks that set on top of the tension hoop, while the hook and hoop configuration of the one I made has cut outs in the hoop. The first hook on the travel banjo was troublesome with the claw-hammer stroke.
I pulled everything apart and notched the hoop to allow the hook to set down a bit. During this process I also noticed that all of the hooks were a bit long in the thread..which caused the nuts to bottom out and limit the tensioning of the hoop. So as part of the process I cut down all 18 hooks, cleaned up the threads with a 4 mm x .70 die and reassembled every thing.
To help with a more mellow sound we set it up with thicker set of strings, The new set is tuned with 16 ga as apposed to more traditional .09 or .10’s. It felt good to be working in the shop on this repair/ upgrade. Cutting down all of the hooks was a bit of a pain but at least now the hoop can be properly tensioned.
Next up in my luthier adventures are finishing up the little ukulele, and starting a Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer. I picked up some african Mahogany last week when I was at the fancy wood store getting some Hard maple for a clients desk project.