Ancient Music

The Four-string Banjo


    The four-stringed banjo is the first mass produced design. It is simpler than the bluegrass banjo in that it has a shorter neck and no fifth string peg on the side of the neck. Also these banjos were usually without a resonator, that is they were open backed. The drum-head was large however so that it lacks nothing in volume.

    Without the fifth string, frailing had not yet been developed and the instruments popularity came from chording alone. And yet a good player could find a chord topped with any melody note he desired and these instruments are still popular in large professional banjo bands that perform around the country.

    This example was made by the Harmony Company in the 1920's and came through the shop to have the neck adjusted for string height.

Back to Banjos
Home Page