History and Information about the Banjo
The earliest forms of the banjo originated in Western Africa and made their way across the Atlantic to what is now the United States during the 17th and 18th centuries. The banjo is a plucked string instrument, consisting mainly of a frame with a membrane stretched over it (either with or without a resonance chamber, similar to a drum), a fretted neck, and between 4 and 6 strings. The most popular and widely-used type of banjo has 5 strings, one of those strings being shorter than the rest and often used as a drone. A 4-string banjo is sometimes called a plectrum (or plectrum banjo); a 6-string banjo is often called a zither-banjo. The banjo is used extensively in bluegrass and folk music, but when you learn how to play the banjo, all styles of music will be open to you.
When to Start on the Banjo
You can start banjo lessons as young as age 6, depending on a student’s dexterity and fine motor skills.
Getting a Banjo
Please call us for a recommendation of a store from which you can purchase or rent a banjo. For very young students, it is recommended to rent instruments for two reasons: 1) they will most likely grow out of instruments quickly and 2) they may lose interest (although we hope they don’t!). Most stores will provide repair services for instruments that they rent out.
Purchasing Books and Supplies for Your Banjo
Most books and many supplies are available online. Give us a call for a local store recommendation. Your instructor can tell you which books and supplies are appropriate or needed.
**Feel free to call us at 631-476-8946 with any questions you may have. We can help you find the best stores or dealers in your area and provide you with additional resources.