My father-in-law and I are making/assembling a custom mastertone Banjo for me. We bought the pieces and are putting them together, despite numerous mishaps and errors. One more trip over to their house and it “should” be done.

What we have so far.

This is where we left off yesterday. As of now, we need to attach the resonator on the back, hopefully receive the correct tailpiece to replace what is currently there, insert the hobby railroad spikes for the drone string capo, and cut the grooves into the nut and bridge for the strings.

The bridge (the black thing on the drum head) is graphite, which should be interesting. The clear drum head has been on back order so I’m not holding my breath on that part any time soon.

Beautiful head inlays.


I really like the neck inlays too.

Naturally I wanted a 5 string Banjo. The drone string is really useful. Plus I’m having hobby railroad spikes put in to act as a natural capo for the drone string (you don’t ever directly fret the drone string really). I do want to mess around with a 4 string later in the future, because it’s the same as a tenor guitar.


The wood was stained with tung oil, something I did myself.

Dad had some extra hand rests lying around, so I picked one that seemed to set the mood for the banjo.


I’m really eager to play this Banjo! Can’t wait to head out there again to finish it. I think this was the third trip, but it’s turning out quite nice.