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1800’s Tin Can Banjo from Saxapahaw, North Carolina

This primitive homemade banjo was found in a barn in North Carolina. The strings and bridge are long gone and the tin can body is rusted all around. The body appears to be an old syrup can and features a hand cut trapeze tailpiece nailed to the butt end of the through-neck.

Sporting an unusual eight strings on the headstock, only one tuning peg remains intact. The builder used a thick metal spike as the pegs. Some of the holes are filled with mud from the barn.

It is assumed that the banjo was set up with double-coursed strings like a mandolin due to the 1.5” width of the neck at the bridge position.

Holes on the side of the neck show that it was intended to be a banjo-like instrument with a half-string. There are four different holes drilled for the side peg (possibly to change the length and tuning of the string) along with a bent nail on the side as a string holder.

The overall length of the banjo is 32” and the scale was probably 23”.

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