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Should the string tail be inside the can opening or outside the can bottom?..Also where is the best place to drill the string opening on the can?
El Pato makes some purty darned gud enchalaley sauce and they are a gud sized can, too!
El Pato (the duck)
El Pato restaurants are all up and down the Valley (where we winter) (south TX)
Very nice on your Can JOs, Thomas!
The string can be set however you want it. To set the string highth on the ones I make with frets I use a straight edge and two little blocks of wood that are 4mm and 6mm. I put the 4mm block near the nuts closest fret and the 6mm on the last fret closest to the can and use the straight edge with a sharp object to mark where the string will or should go for that particular can jo. Each one is diffrent and we each make them a little diffrent so there is no right or wrong way. As we make more of them we get ideas and improve upon them so just have fun and enjoy tinkering around with the way you make them.
Hope this answers some of your questions .
I am Newbie ! :-)
I kinda select my stick to go with the diameter of the can. So a nice string height hits pretty close to the center of the can.
My thought is, this will let the can resonate best.
The I fasten the can to the stick using a couple screws.
After the stick is fastened, I reach down in there and make a small dimple, using a phillips screwdriver.
Then I poke the hole through, from the bottom of the can, using a sharp nail.
I tie a knot in the end of a string, and pass it through a bead, or button, then pass the string forward through the can.
So far this has worked for me.
Rusty Case, you have the right idea. Keep it simple and do what works best for you. My El Pato can was the small tomato sauce size and has great volume from a small package. I've given those first two canjos away as birthday presents and have since made two more, one from a polishing rag can and my latest, the "Twocan", a 32"scale with piezo and volume hooked up through the second can and a weed whacker string. Just have fun with these things, that's what it's all about.
Great, TP !
They R fun!
Have you experimented with piezo location?
R u having more fun with frets???
Wow! A thirty two inch VSL ! Does that make for a lot more quick hand movement when playing?
I'm using twenty three inch presently, because that's what the PK suggested a while back.
I'm about to try a longer scale...
and trimmer cord, too!!!!
I keep eye-ballin' the spool hanging up on the wall ! lol
Do you have any tips on using trimmer cord?
Right now the piezo is stuck inside the bottom of the can with doubleback tape. It seems to pickup every little touch and the weed whacker string makes sound anytime you touch it. I need to tone it down a bit, just haven't had time to mess with it right now. I've been fretting the canjos with zip ties ans they are quick and easy and you can slide them on the dowel for fine tuning. I did the longer scale to get more bass and it works pretty good. I used .041 aircraft safety wire for the string on the dust cloth can and it works real nice.
I was using zip ties for my early canjos, too. They work fairly well, but they dampen the sound somewhat. The main problem I had with them is that with a metal screw as a nut, the open notes rang out while the fretted notes were rather quiet. So, I started using a medium sized zip tie for the nut, calling it "fret zero" and continued using the small (thin) zip ties for the remaining frets and that annoying problem with loud open string notes went away. If you have a similar problem, this is the cure.
With regard to the excessive sensitivity with peizo pickups, I had the same problem until I took up the practice of using hot glue to fill a bottle cap and then suspend the piezo in the middle (first fill the bottle cap half way up, letting it pool to form a flat surface, lay in the piezo, and then another thick layer of hot glue, making sure the piezo does not touch the edge of the bottle cap. Then, once that has cooled, you apply a liberal dab of hot glue to the top side of the bottle cap to glue it to the underside of your sound board (or the side of your canjo can). I use the 20mm (2cm) wide piezos from C.B. Gitty, rather than the 27mm (2.7cm) piezos from Radio Shack buzzers because they fit well inside the bottle cap. This combination deadens the sensitivity enough that most the handling or fretting noise is eliminated. However, on mine, it seems to pick up the bass better than the treble, so maybe next I'll try a preamp with some kind of treble and mid range boost. However, for a canjo (which is usually too trebly to begin with), this type of piezo pickup dampening might be just what you need to get better mid-range and bass out of the instrument. Maybe I should build another canjo to test this hypothesis (added to my long list of project ideas).
At the moment, my piezo is wrapped in a bit of paper, and taped onto the neck, about in the strum position.
It's not too sensitive, in this fashion.
perhaps you might want to try embedding the piezo in a blob of silicon adhesive, in your position of choice????
Big score today!
I gathered up a string trimmer the neighbor tossed when it burst into flames... lol
cheapo trimmers just don't hold up.
So I stripped about three ft of line from the head, a few oddball screws, and the microswitch before re-depositing it. It's different diameter than what I've got here.
I think I'll need to break down and actually purchase an eye bolt to make a tuner for the heavy line...
(it hurts me! lol )