Smithsonian Collections

Five-String Fretless Banjo

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Smithsonian Museum
National Museum of American History
This banjo is made by an unknown maker in North Carolina around 1875-1925. The instrument has a wooden neck and rim. Fragments of an untanned skin (possibly groundhog) head are still nailed to the rim. Although in derelict condition when acquired by the Smithsonian, the deep grooves worn into the fretless neck attest to the many hours of music this instrument gave to its owner.
Currently not on view
Date Made
overall: 32 1/2 in x 10 1/4 in x 2 1/2 in; 82.55 cm x 26.035 cm x 6.35 cm
Object Type