The classic banjo is a fretted instrument fitted with five nylon strings tuned to G C G B D. (Note: this is the normal tuning for the classic banjo) The instrument is played with the bare fingers, this method of playing is known as finger style.
NOTE: The classic banjo has in the past been called finger style banjo also classical banjo, but the preferred name is now classic banjo.
Classic banjo is a type and style of banjo playing, not to be confused with the playing of classical music on the banjo. Any type of music can be played on the classic banjo.
The banjo had been in existence long before it was rediscovered in America at the beginning of the 19th century. During the 19th. century the classic five string banjo as we know it today was developed in America and Britain, by various players and musical instrument makers. (For a detailed history of the banjo see the links listed on the classic banjo links page.) During the late 19th. century and early part of the 20th. century, the classic banjo became one of the most popular musical instruments to play, hence a large amount of music was composed for it, by performers and composers, such as Joe Morley, Emile Grimshaw, Olly Oakley, Alfred Cammeyer, Vess Ossman and Parke Hunter etc. (For more information about Classic Banjo Composers see the links page.) By the second part of the 20th. century, the classic banjo had started to decline in popularity, and by the end of the 20th. century it would have disappeared for ever, had it not been for the efforts and enthusiasm of a few people worldwide who still listen to, and play the classic banjo. (Information about classic banjo societies etc. can be found on this page and the links page.)
American Banjo Fraternity
For more information go to the American Banjo Fraternity website
The British BMG Federation
For more information go to the British BMG Federation website
The Fretted Instrument Guild of America
For more information go to the Fretted Instrument Guild of America website
More information about classic banjo societies etc. can be found on the links page.
For more information contact
Clifford Essex Music Co. Ltd.
7, Rose Walk
Wicken Green Village
"The British BMG Federation Newsletter"
The British BMG Federation Magazine
Published by the British BMG Federation
American Banjo Fraternity Magazine
Published by the American Banjo Fraternity
More information about classic banjo magazines etc. can be found on the links page.
The zither banjo was developed from the open back classic banjo at the end of the 19th century, by Alfred D. Cammeyer. It was designed with a deep resonator and fitted with a mixture of steel and gut (nylon) strings to give the classic banjo a more sustained ringing tone. Today many classic banjo players, play both zither and open back classic banjos, and consider the zither banjo to be just another type of the classic banjo. For more information about the zither banjo Click here to go to a website devoted to the zither banjo, or go to the Classic Banjo Links page on this website.
( Listed in alphabetical order)
James Allgrove is a performer and teacher of the Classic Banjo. For more information Click here to go to the James Allgrove website.
Douglas Back is a performer and teacher of the Classic Banjo. For more information Click here to go to the Douglas Back website.
Chris Sands is a performer and teacher of the Classic Banjo. For more information Click here to go to the Chris Sands web page, on this website.
Probably one of the youngest professional classic banjo performers in the world today is Elias Sibley, who started playing the banjo when he was ten years old. In the Millennium year he made a recording of some of the classic banjo music he performed during that year. For more information about this CD see the CD Recording pages on this website.
For more information Click here to go to the Elias Sibley website.
For information about other outstanding Classic Banjo performers, go to the Banjo Links page on this website.
For more information about playing and tuning the classic banjo, also books and CDs etc. Click here or go to the Classic Banjo Links page on this website.