For young Americans of the 19th century, the banjo was their electric guitar. Everyone was listening to it and learning to play.
String Stories
Photo of banjo with S.S. Stewart name plate
Chapter 1: Banjo Orchestra
From the mid-1880s to the mid-1890s banjo orchestras were a national phenomenon.

The Madison (WI) Banjo and Guitar Club performances were so popular that the city changed the streetcar schedules to accommodate concert goers.

On this site you can hear a banjo orchestra play, learn about the instruments, and find out more about the history of this now rarely heard American music.