|00:46A fretless banjo is one that has no frets. Usually they are open back banjos that are played in the clawhammer style. The earliest banjos in the eighteenth and nineteenth century lacked frets. The earliest factory made banjos after the Civil War were also made without frets, although sometimes "flush frets" -- frets set in level with the fingerboard -- were installed as position markers.
By the 1870s, most factory made banjos were supplied with frets, though factory-made fretless banjos continued to be made into the early 20th century. A "folk" tradition of hand-made fretless banjos continued in isolated rural areas, and continues to the present day.
Also See: Proffit Style
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LAST UPDATED 10-03-2014 05:17