My American Banjo

by Katy

How I made my banjo is first I rode with Dad to Mt. Pleasant and went to the Home Depot. My Dad and I got a two foot piece of wood to use for the neck of the banjo, and blue and red spray paint. Next stop was Meijers to buy a tin pan to use for the resonator which is a container that produces sound waves. After Meijers my Dad and I went to Cook's Music to find the strings that makes most of the sound. Another stop was JoAnn Fabrics to buy the screws and material to cover the tin pan. Finally the last stop was at the IGA in Shepherd to buy White Out to make the white lines underneath the strings on the neck.

After coming home my Dad and I got everything out of the car that was bought and took it into the garage. Then my Dad and I started working on my banjo. I helped my Dad get out his electric saw and I got a pencil and I helped my Dad draw the pattern on the piece of wood. Also I helped my Dad measure the piece of wood to the right length. Next my Dad had to cut the piece of wood on the pencil line to make the shape of the neck. I watched carefully to make sure that my Dad didn't cut outside the pencil lines. After the pattern was cut out I took my Dad's electric sander that sands wood to make the wood smooth. Next I sanded it until the piece of wood was very smooth.
My Dad and I got out the red and blue spray paint and took the cut out pattern, which is called the neck of the banjo, outside to paint. I started spray painting the neck red while my Dad was holding the end of the neck. While I was spray painting the neck I accidentally sprayed my Dad's hand red. I had to spray the neck and the tin pan three different times to make sure no bare spots showed. Then I went inside the house and got the blow dryer so the paint would dry faster so the wet paint wouldn't slow things down. After drying the neck I hung it by a piece of wire to dry. After I spray painted the neck I got my Dad's hammer, the tin pan and nails and I helped him hammer three little holes. Then my Dad and I took the tin pan and the blue spray paint and went outside to spray the tin pan blue. My Dad held the tin pan and turned it while I was spray painting it blue. The brought the tin pan and the blue spray paint back inside the garage and put the tin pan on a box to dry.
After everything was dried I got three screws out of the package and handed them to my Dad. I held then tin pan while he hammered the nails through the tin pan to connect the neck. After the neck was connected to the tin pan I opened the white out and carefully made the white lines on the neck. Then I had to wait until the white out dried. When the white out dried I got the material out of the bag and my Dad told me to pull on the material so it wouldn't have any wrinkles in it. Then I held the material tight while my Dad got the zip tie. When my Dad and I was finished with the material I put the zip tie underneath the rim on the tin pan and I pulled it as tight as it could go so it wouldn't fall down.
My Dad had to put the string and the string rest that I spray painted blue on the neck and the tin pan which is called a resonator. He had to take four screws and screw them down with a screw driver. Then he had to tighten the strings as tight as he could.
My American Banjo took about four hours and thirty minutes to make. It also took my Dad and I about one hour to go to Mt. Pleasant to all the stores. My American Banjo produces sounds by strumming it with the tips of your fingers. How I make my pitch high on my banjo is to use the thinnest string and take the tip of your thumb and strum it. To make it low you have to take the thickest string and strum it with the tip of your thumb again. How you make the dynamics soft you have to strum it very lightly, to make it loud you have to kind of strum it a little hard by not too hard that you will break the string. The timbre of My American Banjo sounds kind of like bees buzzing and sometimes it sounds like a twang on different strings.
I thought of the name My American Banjo because I spray painted it Red, White, and Blue which are the colors of the flag in my country. I had lots of fun building My American Banjo I can't wait to play it in the music program.