Posted on January 11, 2010March 2, 2022 by Dale Phillips Review: Ring the Banjar! The Banjo in America from Folklore to Factory, by Robert Lloyd Web Review: Ring the Banjar! The Banjo in America from Folklore to Factory by Robert Lloyd Web Reviewed by Woody Vernice Originally published in American Lutherie #58, 1999 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Five, 2008 Ring the Banjar! The Banjo in America from Folklore to Factory Robert Lloyd Webb The MIT Museum, 1984 ISBN 0917027019 In 1984 the MIT Museum sponsored an exhibition of banjos that focused on the companies that existed in and around Boston. This book is a catalog of the instruments exhibited, and the essays sort of explain why such a prestigious organization spent so much energy on such a humble instrument. Contemporary luthiers think that they are leading the way for the factories. Webb maintains the reverse, that individual builders were basically hackers who kept the instrument alive until the large factories brought it to its zenith. The banjo began life as a stick and a gourd. It evolved rapidly into a recognizable configuration and the Victorian banjo craze that followed the Civil War made it a hot-ticket item, bringing a rush to make better and fancier models. Venues changed from parlors to large burlesque halls, and louder and gaudier banjos filled the need. The jazz age and the banjo were both put to death by the Great Depression, and Webb credits Pete Seeger and Earl Scruggs as the men who resurrected the latter. It’s a thumbnail sketch, but a good one. Become A Member to Continue Reading This Article This article is part of our premium web content offered to Guild members. To view this and other web articles, join the Guild of American Luthiers. Members also receive 4 annual issues of American Lutherie and get discounts on products. For details, visit the membership page. If you are already a member, login for access or contact us to setup your account.