American Four-String Fretless Banjo


This banjo was made by an unknown maker in Marengo County, Alabama around 1850-1884. It is a Four-String Fretless Banjo. 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.

Date Made: 1850 - 1884

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Alabama, Marengo county

See more items in: Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments, Music & Musical Instruments, Banjos


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: MI.075008Catalog Number: 75008Accession Number: 14145

Object Name: banjo

Physical Description: wood (overall material)metal (overall material)animal skin (overall material)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


Record Id: nmah_605670

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