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When was the banjo first used?

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Answered 2011-09-20 21:34:05

The banjo originated from a variety of West African instruments that amplify the sound of the plucked strings by use of a resonating chamber (often a hollow gourd) covered with a skin membrane. The distinctively African American form of this instrument, however, came from blending this folk instrument form with a neck against which the strings could be fretted, probably an adaptation from the Spanish guitar. The earliest such instruments seem to come from the Caribbean; on Barbados and Jamaica circa 1740 there were accounts of such instruments, referred to as the "bangil," and by the end of the 1700s the banjo is documented in most of the Middle and Southern seaboard states of North America.

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