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Download This Tracing of the Little Joe Instrument to Design Your Own

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

The other day, I posted a feature on the 1903 Little Joe Novelty Banjo. Several people reached out to me and said the instrument was inspiring them to make something similar. I decided to trace the instrument across three blank pieces of paper and scan them into a PDF.

Download your copy here. Make sure to print it out at 100% to get the correct dimensions.

Little Joe Outline Sketch by Shane Speal
Download PDF • 375KB

Note: This tracing isn't perfect. I approximated the location of the sound hole and did my best to get the fretboard correct. Use your best judgement for locating the tailpiece, bridge, nut and partial fretboard. You might also want to use real guitar tuners, which would require tuning peg holes different to the locations of the zither pins.

Refer to the original article for more details.

Here are some fret measurements you'll need:

The instrument has a 15.5" scale. The Little Joe only has the 5th fret and 7th fret. Using the fret calculator, I've added the measurements from the nut to the first seven frets. You'll only need to cut and insert the 5th and 7th fret to faithfully reproduce this little freak instrument.

If you have any other questions or need more measure, comment below.

Good luck!

Shane Speal

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Unknown member
Feb 01, 2022

Awesome! This is proving out to be a great & authentic dissertation help for me in terms of the information available here for us to learn about the designing of instruments & more.


Chris P.
Chris P.
Jan 18, 2022

Frets 1-4 and 6 are


Jan 09, 2022

Awesome! Thank you.

Chuck Kensinger
Chuck Kensinger
Jan 09, 2022
Replying to


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