COLLECTION: Musical Instruments

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ca. 1960
Origin: America, North Carolina, Watauga County
OL: 33 1/2"; OW: 9 1/4"; Depth: 5"
Poplar (?), butternut (?), fruitwood (?), animal skin
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 2010.3000.1
A banjo made by Frank Proffitt in the "mountain banjo" style, having four strings. The 6" x 7 1/2" oval skin head is tacked to a thin oval frame which is set into a 7/8" thick rim nailed to a round-backed resonator carved from solid wood with a 2 1/2" diameter hole in the back. A heavy neck is carved of poplar(?); the peg head slants back with four large wooden tuning pegs.
Provenance:The banjo was commissioned by Alan Lomax to represent an eighteenth-century African American banjar for the 1960 film "Music of Williamsburg." The instrument's maker, Frank Proffitt, was a folk musician, and the banjo followed the style of design he often used for banjos. The instrument represents a Frank Proffitt banjo and is not considered a reproduction.
Mark(s):none observed
Inscription(s):none observed