Canjo Build


One of the truly tripped-out things I make when building a guitar is a little thing called a canjo (sometimes spelled “canjoe”).

So far, mine are all 1, 2 or 3 string instruments meant to play with some sort of slide, that is, a piece of copper pipe, glass pill bottle, 1/4 inch copper T connector or whatever. I will being working with frets or at least paper-clip frets (!) soon.Image


The can itself becomes a small resonator and it’s amazing how -even without a pickup, these little things sound cool!ImageImageWhenI can’t get my fave diet soft drink (diet Vernor’s Ginger Ale) I dig diet Mountain Dew. No endorsement money coming my way, I just love ’em 🙂ImageImage

A longtime friend named Ron asked for me to make him one and in that it only takes an hour or 90 mins. and is pretty basic, I did. I’ve 4 friends waiting for cigarbox guitars from me… sorry guys but my schedule has been crazy recently. I’ll get ’em done soon as I’m able.

Ron lives right across the street, I had to get this one out fast… and still between one of my grandson’s hospital visits (home and doing well now!) and etc., my friend still had to wait several days.

Anyhow here are pics as I was able to finish and get it to him tonight.

It’s a little 2 stringer, gave him a copper slide and a pic with it, looks cool and sounds great. No pickup but not all that hard to put one on these. Two wood screws near the top and bottom of the can hold it to the oak neck, both strings help as well. The oak bridge is epoxyed in place. The strings are .036 and .026. Didn’t check the tuning but I normally (as this time) tune them to what would be (think “doe ray me”…) “DOE” for the low string and  “SO” for the higher one. Simple 2 string chord really.

Amazing what you can do with very little!

Thanks for stopping by 🙂 -Glenn



  1. Alright, looks great.
    Did I miss it? How do you attach the bottom of the strings? Is it like a violin string with little nubs that lock in somewhere?

    1. Hi Michael, yes, something like a violin string. See the last pic at the bottom of the post. All steel guitar strings have little brass nubs at the bottom. You just drill right through the bottom of the neck material and keep drilling carefully through the bottom of the can only. Then you run the string or strings through the hole/s, out the top of the can in the normal can hole and over some sort of “bridge” be it wood, a bolt or whatever and up to the “nut” (again, glued wood or bolt as you see in the pics) and into the eyebolt “tuners”. Have fun! -Glenn

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