Classic Banjo Classic Banjo Home Page


Welcome to the first site on the World Wide Web devoted exclusively to classic banjo. Once a very popular musical style, classic banjo (also known as finger-style or guitar-style) has received little attention from contemporary banjo players and music scholars.

However, there is a small, but active, group of musicians involved in preserving and playing classic banjo music. This site aims to be a resource for them and an introduction for anyone interested in learning more about the history of the 5-string banjo in England and America. Here you will find information on various aspects of the music: history, instruments, composers, recordings, performers, bibliography, organizations and publications, and links to related sites.

The 5-string classic banjo style evolved in the mid-19th century. By the century's end, the banjo had been adopted by the musical worlds of urban sophisticates and the working class in North America and England. Composers wrote elaborate pieces as well as lighter music for both professional and amateur banjoists. The banjo became a popular instrument for musical soirees and parlor performances. A three-finger picking technique was employed, but unlike the picking styles of bluegrass banjo, the classic banjoist played a gut-strung banjo and did not use fingerpicks.