The banjo in an interesting instrument. Many histories take the instument back to Africa where instruments were created by stretching skins over gourds or turtle shells. By by the time there were slaves in America, the banjo began to become popular. At that time, banjos were fretless, four stringed instruments with open backs. Today the four stringed or plectrum banjo usually has frets and is played with a style called frailing or clawhammer, a type of melody mixed with a strum. Joel Walker Sweeney is credited with creating the five string banjo. He wanted additional melody sounds and put a drone string on the top side of the neck. It starts and the tuner is places at the 5th stop up the neck. Earl Scruggs made the three finger bluegrass style of picking popular. Usually, these banjos have a resonator attached to the back. There are many designs of banjo and styles of banjo picking. The banjo has a great and varied history.\

Marsha usually plays banjo in the Firewood band, though Ray has picked it up and intuitively picked out tunes. She plays a Nechville Phantom tunneled 5th, 2006. She maintains she is still a beginner but now and then puts out a good tune!! She also wants to learn clawhammer so she picked up an Ome open back five string. Besides the sound of the banjo being stunning, it's blue!!! Joanne is doing a fabulous job playing the clawhammer style on her Stagg. It had a resonator on the back but she took it off to play old time style.