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Civil War era antique 7 string – FRETLESS BANJO

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Item Number: 5994
 

 



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This outstanding unsigned 19th century seven string fretless banjo has been strung with modern nylon strings with a natural skin head and is ready to tune and play or will make a wonderful display item in any Civil War / early minstrel musical grouping. Featuring a 11 ˝ inch diameter rim with lots of nicely aged original finish, this period clawhammer banjo sports a well-shaped walnut fretless neck with its original friction tuning pegs and tailpiece. The body offers 12 stout, all original brass brackets and tension hoop. With its early development largely in the American South, the California Gold Rush moved the early fretless banjo West as it could be heard aboard ship bound for the Horn and up the Pacific coast where it became the most prolific musical instrument of the Western gold fields. The instruments flow into the Civil War military camp was a natural one, Union and Confederate. The most widely known application was by a fellow named Sam Sweeny whose only job during the war was to play the banjo for Confederate General J. E. B. Stuart his officers and guests. As a boy his younger brother, Joel Walker Sweeney of Appomattox Court House, learned to play the four string banjo from his father’s black workers and was later credited with the development of the standard five string banjo as he traveled through central Virginia in the antebellum period. When Joel Sweeny died in 1860, brother Sam stepped in and with the outbreak of war became famous for playing his banjo for Gen. Stuart and his Army of Northern Virginia headquarters staff. Difficult to find today even in relic condition as most saw lots of hard service in the period, a nice original playable example of a period fretless banjo in the scarce 7 string variation is a treasure.
Buy with confidence! We are pleased to offer a no questions asked three day inspection with return as purchased on direct sales! Just send us a courtesy e-mail to let us know your item will be returned per these provisions and your purchase price will be refunded accordingly. Thanks for visiting Gunsight Antiques!



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Standish, ME 04084
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