This is Not a Banjo

Pete and I went to a concert on Friday night and something happened that I feel compelled to post about.  Partway through the show, the lead guitarist pulled out a banjo-guitar (or banjitar) and people lost their minds.  I heard a lot of gasps of joy.  I heard people all around saying “oooh, a banjo!” and applauding.

I felt the need to tell Pete “that is not a banjo.”

Photo via Folk of the Wood

A banjitar looks a lot like banjo, with its round head.  It also sounds similar to a five-string banjo in some ways.  But it has the neck of a guitar and is strung like a guitar.  Anyone who plays the guitar can play the banjitar.

Pete could tell I was a little huffy about all this applause over a banjitar, and told me that people just like the sound of the banjo, even if it’s not quite the real thing.

5-String Banjo; photo via Deering Banjos

Point taken.  And the guitarist, who was amazing throughout the concert, was using the banjitar to enhance a song that, in the words of the lead singer was “fasty-folky.”  Fasty-folky music is all the rage right now.

If I seem a little defensive, it’s because I haven’t been playing much lately.  I’ve been trying to prioritize, and banjo-practice has fallen by the wayside.  My poor banjo has been neglected, and I almost feel as though I can’t properly call myself a banjo-player, since I haven’t played in months.

So I’ve decided that to combat this, I’m going to learn a new song once a month and post about it.  I’m hoping that someday I’ll even become technologically adept enough to record myself playing them.

In the meantime, here is a video of Steve Martin and the late, great Earl Scruggs playing one of my favourites:


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