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CRAFT and MAKE pals Jessica Wilson and J. Stevens have worked up this cute “canjo” made from a tuna can:

The Tune-a-Fish Special

25 inches (63.5 cm) long with a 4 inch (10 cm) diameter can. This simple, two-string, fretless Canjo is handmade from recycled materials and includes a glass slide and a plastic pick. The Tune-a-fish Special is a real working instrument, easy and fun to play even for the novice. The two strings tuned to G and D produce a swell sittin-on-the-front-porch twang on the bottom of the empty tunafish can.

tuna_canjo.jpg

Becky Stern

Becky Stern

Becky Stern (sternlab.org is a DIY guru and director of wearable electronics at Adafruit. She publishes a new project video every week and hosts a live show on YouTube. Formerly Becky was Senior Video Producer for MAKE. Becky lives in Brooklyn, NY and belongs to art groups Free Art & Technology (“release early, often, and with rap music”) and Madagascar Institute (“fear is never boring”).


  • MadRat

    That sounds a lot like a Japanese shamisen (or however you spell it).

  • John Smith

    The Tune-a-Fish Special URL link above goes to a blank page. This is a very cool project. Please fix or post the instructions here. I have made a very similar guitar but I mounted the can on top of the wood (open end facing outwards resonates well), and then made the string come thru the wood, into the can, and then out of the can using a 1/8 drill bit for all of the string holes. And a 3/8 drill bill for the screw hole to attach the can to the wood. Thanks, and happy holidays !

    • http://profiles.google.com/jekinthebox jessica wilson

      Hi John! Sorry about that link not working, we sold out of the canjos and the link led to our shop page. Jeff hasn’t posted a diy as of yet but his first canjo was much like the one you described. For that, he used a rusty can picked up out in the mojave desert. Not satisfied with a single string, he began playing around with two and other sorts of cans until he hit upon the Tune-a-fish special. You can drop him a line through gmail where he goes by the name spazimal.