Smithsonian Collections

Four-String Fretless Banjo

Image 1 for Four-String Fretless Banjo
  • thumbnail for Image 1 - Four-String Fretless Banjo
  • thumbnail for Image 2 - Four-String Fretless Banjo
  • thumbnail for Image 3 - Four-String Fretless Banjo
  • thumbnail for Image 4 - Four-String Fretless Banjo
Smithsonian Museum
National Museum of American History
Description
This banjo was made by an unknown maker in Marengo County, Alabama around 1850-1884. It was collected in in 1884 in Marengo County, Alabama by Dr. Edward Palmer for the Smithsonian's "frontier collection.” Although roughly made, with whittled tuning pegs and a tacked-on untanned animal skin head, the grooves worn into the fretless neck show that it was well used. The banjo is a typical example of many homemade instruments that used locally available materials to make instruments which could produce powerful results in the hands of a skilled musician.
Location
Currently not on view
Date Made
1850-1884
Measurements
overall: 35 in x 11 1/2 in x 2 3/4 in; 88.9 cm x 29.21 cm x 6.985 cm
Object Type
banjo