01:15The Armrest of a banjo is usually a metal piece that keeps the arm from contacting the head and stretcher band of the instrument. This improves comfort and protects the head and stretcher band from wear and degradation.
Banjos have up to two dozen hooks for maintaining tension on the head. It's not surprising that there's an accessory designed specifically for protection against those little uncomfortable bits of hardware.
On bluegrass banjos, an armrest usually has a flat surface that covers the tension hoop and the edge of the head for about six or seven inches. On old time instruments it is often a hollow metal tube or wire that extends slightly higher than the head and hoop and just to the outside of it.
Recently, some luthiers have introduced armrests made from a choice of exotic woods, and combine ergonomic designs to increase comfort and reduce wrist fatigue.
Metal armrests are often customized with engraving which can add to the beauty of this banjo part.
Armrests are seldom found on other fretted instruments, although they have been available at various times. Guitar armrests, for example, really have no convenient method of attachment, so most players avoid them.
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LAST UPDATED 05-03-2016 17:36