Electro-Acoustic Banjitar

by alan_one, published

Electro-Acoustic Banjitar by alan_one Jan 3, 2013

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3-string uke banjitar. It really plays (if you set the bridge right) though not very loudly. Designed to easily add a piezo pickup and a 1/4 inch jack.


Remove pads from neck. The neck is epoxied and snaps into the body... try to give it a little relief if you can i.e. angle it away from the front of the instrument. The head is epoxied onto the other end of the neck. Extended bridge is superglued to the front plate to set the intonation. The front plate with attached bridge then snaps into the body and is held in place by string tension.

There's a hole for a 1/4" jack in the side, and you can glue a piezo element to the backside of the front plate (under the bridge) for amplified or processed banjitar madness.

You can try different strings, I used the D, G, and B steel strings from a set of electric guitar 10's I had lying around, but you may want to try nylon or other types of strings.

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I was considering the I-beam angle, if you'll pardon the pun... something like a bunch of vertical corrugated flanges could interlock the neck to the fingerboard... It would be nice to minimize the non-printed parts.

Love this instrument - took a fairly comprehensive first pass at getting it up to spec for performance. Will post a photo ASAP.

quick design suggestions -- the nut at the top of the neck needs deeper
notches -- I actually reversed the string direction on the tuning pegs
which helped pull them into the notches (which I also filed down deeper -
I actually had to buy a special file for filing nut notches with all
the instruments I've been printing!)

Also, IMO the supergluing
of the bridge onto the plate should be done last, after the other pieces
have settled and the instrument is strung up. That way, you can
actually set the intonation and string action correctly up and down the
neck with the bridge (found this out the hard way and had to reprint!)
Also, might want to tell people not to glue the plate down until you attach the pickup to the plate
back and feed the 1/4" jack out (this one I avoided but might want to
put it in the instructions so people don't make simple mistakes. I had bought a cheap piezo pickup on Amazon, think it was 8 bucks, so I didn't
have to leave it unglued in order to swap in/out one of my expensive
acoustic pickups.

Re: neck stabilization/rod conversation --
printed my first few passes at 100% infill on the body and neck and have
had this strung up at tension for a week or so. This is a
three-stringed electric instrument that doesn't have a proper tuning,
and which sounds a little better when tuned a bit slack as you can bend
the strings and take advantage of the extra resonance. Therefore, it doesn't
need a truss rod as much as, say, the acoustic Banjolele or Makerlele
(both of which have necks that have bowed over time, and which now I
don't leave strung up at proper tension).

The Banjitar neck and
body assembled quite nicely and snugly; in fact, I felt like I didn't
even have to glue the neck onto the body (although I did anyway). he
headstock fit right onto the top of the neck and the front plate only
needed 5 or so min of sanding to pop perfectly into place. I found some
secondhand tuning hardware in the East Village (First Flight Music) and
drilled new holes for the tuning peg plates to match their sizes (think
they were from three completely different instruments but they had the
"large post" design needed for this headstock).

Looking forward to another rev and some more discussion!

If you print your neck and finger board separately, you could pint a channel to except a truss rod (single action, double action, carbon fiber, steel tubing). This could help with the neck deflection, reduce neck profile, and possibly eliminate some of the the tuning issues.

Yeah, even a piece of aluminum rod added as you describe would probably be more than sufficient to compensate for string tension.

Nice Banjolele! Any video of?

I like this thing, very cool. When I have the time, I will try making one of these; I've made cigar-box guitars before, so this should be a fun instrument!