The banjo is a stringed instrument that is part of the lute family. A banjo's body is made with a wooden hoop. A vellum is stretched over the hoop leaving an open back. Banjos have long, narrow, fretted necks with five strings. The banjo's written history begins in the 1600s.
The first written record of a banjo is credited to Richard Johnson. Johnson wrote of banjos in his diary starting in 1620 while exploring in Africa.
Early banjos had gourds for bodies. A varying number of strings were used in the first banjos.
Banjos in America
Banjos were first seen in American in the 17th century. Africans, who were brought to America as slaves, created the first banjos.
The banjo has been called many different names over the centuries. Early musicians called the banjo by names like banjar, banjil, bangoe and bangie.
Throughout the 1700s and early 1800s, the banjo was seen as an instrument for the lower classes. In the mid-1800s, the banjo gained popularity. S.S. Stewart began mass producing banjos in the mid-1800s that were popular and affordable for all economic classes.
What Is the Origin of the Banjo?
Wrongly believed by many to be an American instrument, the banjo dates back centuries with its earliest origins found in the Middle...
How to Identify the Year an Alvarez Banjo Was Made
Founded in 1965 as a result of the partnership between Japanese luthier Kazuo Yairi and American investors, St. Louis-based Alvarez guitars has...