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upright banjo The banjo is a plucked instrument consisting of a fretboard attached to a metal hoop over which parchment is stretched. It has from four to nine strings which resonate in the body of the banjo producing a bright sound when played.

Tuning depends on the amount of strings, the 5 string has four of its strings tuned to C, G, B and D (from the bottom up) plus a high string tuned to G which is positioned next to the lowest, shorter than the others it is often used as a drone string, although it can also be fretted. The Tenor banjo is tuned in 5ths.

small angled banjoThe instrument is believed to have originated in North West Africa and brought over on slave ships in the 18 & 19 centuries, where it was later used by minstrel, folk and jazz bands.

Played by strumming or picking the notes, the banjo is an alternative to the guitar and is most widely used in country and western, bluegrass, jazz and country rock music.

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animated frog playing the banjo