The banjo’s history is rich and, perhaps, unexpected to most people. Handmade gourd instruments that would lead the way to the modern banjo originated in West Africa. Enslaved Africans brought the “banjar” to the Caribbean where it then made its way to North America and was incorporated into traditional Southern folk and country music. Written references to the banjo in North America appear in the 18th century, and the instrument became increasingly available commercially from around the second quarter of the 19th century.
The banjo is a 4-6 string instrument that has a thin membrane stretched over a circular frame, known as the head. It also features a tall neck with strings. Similar to a guitar, these strings can be tightened and tuned, but the rest of the build is different, helping to create that unique sound. These days, the banjo is featured heavily in folk and country songs, Irish traditional music and even modern indie and alternative bands use them.
When selecting a banjo, there are many different elements to consider. Do you want a banjo made from grenadilla, mahogany, maple, plastic or a combination? Do you want a 4-, 5-, or 6-string instrument? Do you want a strictly acoustic banjo or do you like the idea of an acoustic-electric version? There are open back and resonator banjos and banjos with tone rings made of brass, bronze, steel or other metals. We even offer packages, so you can get everything you need in one easy purchase!
With so many choices, it can be easy to get bogged down trying to decide which banjo is best for you, especially if you’re a beginner banjo student. Our experts are standing by if you have any questions about our selection, so please feel free to reach out to our experienced customer service team. We'll be happy to help you find the best fit for your musical needs.