Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

The first time you string up a new banjo

As a banjo builder, I can't help but feel like an expectant parent when I am getting close to finishing a new banjo. All that excitement springs to the surface as I get that new set of strings out and start tying the knots to hold them on the shiny new tailpiece. Then, as I tighten them up for the first time, nerves on edge , POP! One of the knots lets go and I carefully tie it back on with an extra twist to make sure it stays. Now I am feeling a bit jumpy. I cringe as I tighten those last few turns of the peg, never really knowing if there might be some catastrophic failure in the works. Noooo! The twine on the tailpiece wasn't strong enough and boom, it shot up the neck like an elastic band on the rebound. Looks like I'll use some wire until I find something better. Then, finally, I get it strung up as tight as I dare go tonight and set it aside to start the stretching process. Another one of my babies is starting to breath a new life. In a few days I will get to hear its voice for the first time and as time progresses, the two of us will learn to play together. Now for the next banjo.........

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