Simple 2-string guitar


86 Responses to “Simple 2-string guitar”

  1. kvh says:

    Tin two-string?

  2. Shady Lane says:

    The Spruce Moose?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I like it! Finally an instrument that I might play. Given that the 6 holes of my penny whistle have me baffled.

    A Canaanite

    Fine job!

  4. millrick says:


  5. chip says:

    That right there is a hobo plank-harp.

  6. vetnoir says:

    Flying “C”?
    B.C. Poor?

  7. Anonymous says:


  8. vetnoir says:

    Tin-pan rockin’ can

  9. Anonymous says:

    The Slim Pickins.

  10. AEIUOsometimesY says:

    The Jolly Green Giant
    Bean-jo (assuming of course a green bean can)

  11. Ito Kagehisa says:

    Why don’t you just look up what two-stringed plucked and strummed instruments are already called?

    Hint: they aren’t guitars

    Hint: they are found near the Killer of Hindus

    Hint: they are thousands of years old

  12. Anonymous says:


    (Italian, meaning “song” or singing)

  13. John G Bell says:

    That is clearly a Toucan, a rarely seen breed of Canjo.

  14. jeligula says:

    I am a classical guitarist, and although I say that an open-ended tin can as a resonance chamber is pretty brilliant, I just can’t get over the fact that something with two strings slapped onto a stick does not make a real guitar. Jack White, in “It Might Get Loud”, slapped a pickup and a string onto a board and hooked it up to a battery and a tweeter. He was showing how easy it is to manufacture something to make music. Elapsed time from raw materials to a playable instrument? Who knows? They edit these things, but it wasn’t long in any case. Yeah, I could play this instrument and make it sound nice, but it still isn’t a guitar. I can flamenco strum on an empty 24 ounce beer can and make it musical, but that doesn’t make it a guitar. If this guy wanted to impress me (which I am well aware he couldn’t care less about), then he would Make (capital M) a guitar that he would not feel ashamed to charge $2000 for. There is a reason that these projects lack frets of any sort. That would mean getting it right and not leaving it open ended. Yes, this thing can make music. Is it a guitar? No. The tonal availability of a two-stringed instrument is limited at the very best. Ideally suited for the Pink Panther, though.

    • barefootdesigns says:

      “The tonal availability of a two-stringed instrument is limited at the very best.”

      An overstatement, I think. Please check out this video:

      It’s Sean Frenette (lately of the New England Conservatory, a former student of Eliot Fisk). He could make real music on that device, I’m sure. Sean wrote and plays this piece, “Vienna Waterfalls” on a guitar with only three strings, though it was written and played originally on just two strings. FYI, he has also played his “El Class” (classical-electric guitar made by me, a luthier) at Carnegie Hall on his THIRD appearance there. Can’t play on two strings? That’s probably true if one can’t get off the page.

    • Headbone says:

      Jlgl, y’v gt sss…
      I knew what he meant when I saw the word guitar and I saw the picture.
      Bng rnd y mst b wfl.

  15. Homegrown Evolution says:

    Cantastic! What a beautiful design.

  16. Antinous / Moderator says:

    I’d go with Sound Saber.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I didn’t immediately connect the “can” with the literal can. I just figured “cantar” meaning an instrument that sings. It might be a better name than you think. Just tell people that it means “to sing”.

    • Billy says:

      Extactly, my mind immediately goes to Spanish “Cantar (v) – to sing”. I think it’s a great name. I think the other names in here are pretty dull by comparison, honestly.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Can we call it Frank?

  19. jeligula says:

    da dunt da dunt da dunt da dunt da dunt da dunta da dunt da dunta da dunt

  20. wgmleslie says:


  21. peligro says:

    CAN you play it for us?

  22. bwcbwc says:

    Actually, cantar is pretty good. It also means “to sing” in Spanish.

  23. Stefan Jones says:

    “Canjo” and “Candolin” both make me smile.

    Is there a reason, other than room, not to squeeze a third string in there?

  24. drawbot says:


  25. Anonymous says:

    It does look a lot like an Er-Hu…

  26. Anonymous says:

    I have an electric six string lap steel that is built to simulate the sound of a resophonic “Dobroâ„¢” guitar. The bridge lays against an actual cat food can as the resonator. Works pretty well to give a dobro sound without the usual feedback problems.

    It’s called a Mars RGS Cat Can.

  27. Anonymous says:

    does the can help resonate the sounds in anyway? think if it’s too stiff it won’t vibrate much.

  28. JackalopeGirl says:

    When my son was 13 years old, he was given a project to create an instrument. We made a “canjo” – a kind of two-stringed banjo made with a big coffee can and a wheelbarrow handle. (Everyone else was making drums – he wanted to make something different.)

    There’s no reason to limit the strings – you can add as many as you want – but two strings worked best – one on each side of the wheelbarrow handle.

    You can find instructions on making canjos online. He originally wanted to make a cigarbox guitar, but it proved a little beyond our abilities and tools on hand. My mother (born and raised hardscrabble poor in southeast Arkansas) remembers her father tinkering around and making something like this out of bits and pieces for her little brothers to play.

    By the way, although he never proved to be a musical canjo prodigy, the kid is now 18 years old, and plays violin in the school orchestra – so who knows where the “make your own instrument” thing can lead you and yours.

  29. MacBookHeir says:

    Workshop? To learn how to build this? Wood,two strings and a can? How many minutes is the workshop?

  30. Anonymous says:

    Is doutar, Traditional uzbek instrument!

  31. Anonymous says:

    I hate to break it to you all, but Less Paul didn’t really invent the Canjo.

  32. zuludaddy says:

    Doubletub or minitub, if those are bass guitar strings..
    Duo-wop (?)
    doublestring cannything
    tin can band
    canned tuner/twoner [hat tip to drawbot]
    (I could go on….)

  33. Anonymous says:

    Less Paul.

  34. Kimmo says:

    I’d use a fence picket to score a pre-styled headstock, and stick 3 or 4 string on it.

    Also, another +1 for canjo. You could call it a BC Poor or Less Paul as well ; )

  35. Cynical says:

    Canisen, in that it has more in common with a shamisen than a guitar….

  36. IgnatiusJReilly says:

    +3 for “Canjo.”

  37. Anonymous says:

    There’s an albanian (probably balkanian) instrument with two chords called cifteli, “cift” meaning couple and “tel” meaning chord.
    Here’s a video:

  38. Tao_art says:




  39. Anonymous says:

    Pork and Beans
    The Hobo Hammer
    The Ol’ Jake Leg

  40. genre slur says:


  41. Anonymous says:

    Canned Beat.

  42. hbl says:

    Beanjo – (cos it’s a can o beans, right?)

  43. grikdog says:

    In one syllable, call it can’t.

  44. doggo says:

    I bet if you stuck a bridge on there down near the can you’d get a nicer sound.

  45. l0g1c says:


  46. barefootdesigns says:

    How about “cangar”.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Caneck 2 (Caneck 3 for can w/three strings, Caneck 4 and so on)
    Canned beat

  48. Anonymous says:

    Dr. Frau-can-felder’s monster

  49. Ernst Gruengast says:

    I want a 4 string fretless bass version with a big can on the end.

    One pickup on the stick and a contact mike in the can, two volume pots, and you have a pretty nifty acoustic/electric instrument (whatever you want to call it).

  50. Anonymous says:

    This would be super sweet w/ bass strings, or just a standard soprano guitar (I THINK?? The one with four strings).

    Gotta love the fretless action and you should def. make a video playing it, with the right tuning you cant go wrong no matter where you hold it.

  51. Anonymous says:

    It looks so compact. I want one on my umbrella!
    (Or perhaps, “I want a pair on my umbrella!”)

  52. MrJM says:

    Lil’ Mr Guitar?

  53. george57l says:


    Obviously it’s called a twuitar!

  54. docsavage says:

    yes, the “hobo hammer” befits this creation.
    also, maybe the “dobrocan”, though a little pedestrian.
    OK then, the “stringcan alleyooper”……(tinpan alley & alley oop)

  55. Anonymous says:

    It looks like a can-cara sanshin which is very popular in Okinawa.

  56. SpaceGhost says:


    Mostly cuz its 95% stick, plus you can use a pick on it. Plus the mental image of rocking out on a toothpick is worth adopting the name alone.

  57. Anonymous says:

    Headbone, we all have issues, but most of us here refrain from the language of hatred.

  58. Anonymous says:

    Friend of mine picked up (heh heh) a similar instrument for me at a craft show probably 10 years ago. She said the maker called it a “canjo.”

  59. Anonymous says:

    +4 for Canjo!

  60. Anonymous says:

    The Frauenfelder Stratocanster

  61. zuludaddy says:

    CanTwo, or CanToo – “I cantwo, and you can, too!”

  62. chilero says:

    Cantwo is good, but why not twocan like the bird!

  63. hungryjoe says:

    I was going to suggest Tropocaster (one level below the Stratocaster), but I really like Anon’s “Less Paul” suggestion.

  64. Anonymous says:

    due to its wonderful twangy sound, i would call it a, or “the” hick-stick.

  65. YarbroughFair says:

    Canned Schtick

  66. Kaden says:

    Stratocanster? Telecanster?

  67. Anonymous says:

    We’ve referred to them for years as a Canjo. There’s lots of examples at the Handmade Music Clubhouse, plus many other types of homemade instruments.

  68. Anonymous says:

    Reminds me of the erhu (or nanhu as it sometimes is called), a 2-stringed Chinese instrument.

  69. KurtMac says:


  70. chris23 says:


  71. Anonymous says:

    Papa played the “Dough-broke“?

  72. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t a Chinese Er-Hu a two-stringed instrument like this?

  73. mr.skeleton says:

    My first thought was cantickle.

  74. Anonymous says:

    That’s not an axe, it’s a mace.

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