Published on : 18 June 20203 min reading time

The instruments derived from the guitar are numerous. In this article, the aim is to give a brief description of the devices of the same family of this plucked-stringed instrument: the banjo, the mandolin and the ukulele.

The banjo

The Banjo is one of the most interesting instruments in American popular music, as it is a genuine cross between a string instrument and a percussion instrument. It is shaped like a guitar, with a long neck and a rounded body.

This base, which is actually a circle of wood, is covered with a membrane, like a drum, and very often the head or membrane is played like a drum. It is played mainly in bluegrass music, although most country music fans consider a banjo specialist in this kind of music to be indispensable.

The banjo reached the New World in the 18th century or even earlier. The theory of African origin is generally accepted. Used by black slaves, it was adopted by white musicians in the 19th century.

The original Banjo had four strings, but the American has five and others may have six. The inventor of the five-string banjo was a Virginian, Joe Sweeney, who lived between 1810 and 1860.

The instrument offers a powerful, lively and crystal-clear sound.

The Mandolin and the Ukulele

The mandolin is a musical instrument of the lute family. It generally has four rows of double metal strings, for a total of eight strings, which are tuned in unison.

Although there are many styles of mandolins, only three are common: the round-backed mandolin, the carved-backed mandolin and the flat-backed mandolin. The mandolin progressed in the 18th century and evolved in Italy and Germany from the 16th century mandolin. Each type of mandolin provides a unique sound and each is associated with a certain type of music.

The mandolin is an instrument that can be considered a descendant of the mandolin, which first appeared in Mesopotamia in 2000 B.C. Over the following millennia, this instrument would bear many names, before being called the lute. This instrument travelled throughout Europe and the Middle East. In a 14th century painting, a miniature lute is symbolized by an angel. This instrument is called the mandolin, by the Latins. The Italians, on the other hand, called this instrument the mandolin.

The ukulele originated in Hawaii in the late 1800’s. It is defined as a local adaptation of the “braguinha”, a Portuguese instrument similar to the guitar. It is made in four sizes – from the traditional size of a small soprano, increasingly concert size, tenor and baritone – and produces sound with four nylon strings stretched over a hollow body. The banjo ukulele, or banjolele, uses elements of both of these instruments.

Points of difference

These plucked string instruments have things in common, such as being able to play them perfectly in a matter of seconds. However, there are variations such as the origin or the materials used to make them.

In particular, there are several differences between a mandolin and a banjo. The banjo is used in country and traditional music, while the mandolin is a vestige of the Renaissance and used for secular songs.

A big difference between the banjo and the ukulele lies in their optimization. Banjos use many chords based on the musician’s musical style and preferences, but are often harmonized on an “open string chord” in G, A or D. The banjo, including the ukulele banjo, produces a brilliant sound that can be altered by arranging the head of the banjo drum.