The first of a couple of builds for which I collaborated with my father (ie, palmed off the hard work to).
The concept for this comes, of course, from KoL. The epic weapon of the disco bandit is a banjo crafted out of a disco ball. Serendipitously, just as the idea to create the thing came to me, a fellow student at life-drawing classes showed me some photos of instruments made out of food tins. I started googling around and found that banjos made of cookie tins are actually quite widely made by artists and traveling musicians (the can itself is a great storage device) and there are many guides to making them around the place.
Eventually, my internet travels led me to a site explaining how to create a banjo out of a gourd, and this became the basis of the disco banjo.
I bought a disco ball from Cheap-as-Chips and peeled off mirror sections until I found the seam along which the hemispheres of the ball were connected. Lots of photos from this stage, cos I had a lot of fun with it! Except when the thing first split open and noxious plasticy fumes filled my lungs.
Lifting off the first piece.
A stanley knife was sufficient to break into the plastic.
Leaving a bisected disco ball on a career-disco bandit’s keyboard is like leaving a severed horse head on someone’s pillow.
Testing the resonance of the ball using some fishing wire, a spare violin bridge and some newspaper.
Once the disco ball was dealt with, I purchased a drum head, banjo strings and guitar pegs and drafted some timber guides for my father to do the woodwork.
Disco bongo. An 8″ drum head fits perfectly over the half-disco ball.
A piece to go inside the banjo body in order to support the shape of the disco ball and provide a mounting point for the neck.
Preparing a hole for the timber to go through. I used a piece of paper of the same size/shape as the cross-section of the wood as my guide.
Sadly there are no more progress shots from here on as I passed everything over to my dad and he assembled the whole thing with expert craftsmanship.
Suddenly, it’s done!
I used the many left over mirror sections to decorate the drum head.
The tailpiece is a separate piece of timber, screwed from the outside of the ball to the bracer piece on the inside. It also sits over the rim of the drum to hold things in place.
The banjo is fretless and tuned in fifths as I played ‘cello way back when.