Banjo #4 – “Josie” from Board to Banjo

Today Josie (I’m really not sure why she has that name) was strung up and played her first note.

Josie got her start about 6 weeks ago… cherry from nearby, purpleheart from South America.    I chose cherry due to its reputation for warm, rich tone.  This cherry wood is beautiful, and a joy to work with.  Purpleheart is very hard and stiff like black locust, which I’ve been very pleased with for tone rings, *and* it’s strikingly beautiful. (And a bit of a bear to work with!)

Slice, dice and glue…

12 identical cherry blocks ready for glue.

…glued and clamped to make one layer of the pot.

Fingerboard comes from a piece of purpleheart with a beautiful whirled figure, headstock and heel cap from a flat sawn, straight grained piece that displays an almost iridescent sheen.

Neck blank on the right is cherry, with a center laminate of purpleheart.

Turned around a time or two…  I love the grain figure of the cherry.

Everything almost ready for assembly.  Most of the hardware (exception: Japanese tuning machines) are made by craftsmen in the USA. 🙂

And it’s all together.  Dowel stick comes from extra neck blank material… chery & purpleheart.

After a day or two and a few hours playing, Josie is settling into her new skin.  Warm, focused, precise sound.  String spacing is a couple mm wider at nut than my other banjos. And strung with light gauge strings (25″ scale tuned to A/D) it’s easy to spend all day playing.

(Video is in Double C with med gauge strings)  🙂


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