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    Not every stringed instrument belongs in an orchestra. In the case of mandolins and banjos, they're a staple of country and folk styles. With ukuleles, you'll hear them in various chilled-out genres of rock music.

    Considering the full spectrum of folk and popular music, Alamo Music Center's selection of string instruments includes the following:


    Although we associate banjos with American country, bluegrass and folk styles, its origins go back to Africa, where the stringed instrument with a round body and long neck then traveled to Europe before arriving in North America.

    Unlike guitars, the banjo utilizes a hoop-and-screw body: the tension needs to be adjusted before the player begins. Strings pass over a bridge and flat neck, where the player adjusts them with pegs to tune, similarly to a violin. Like a guitar, frets line a banjo's neck for notes and chords.

    Throughout its history, the number of strings used for a banjo varied from four to as many as nine to today's five-string combination. Four of these strings tune at the top of the neck; the fifth, however, is shorter and gets adjusted midway up the neck. Although fingers can be used, players typically pluck the strings with a pick.


    We tend to associate the ukulele with Hawaii, but its origins, in fact, go back to Portugal - specifically, the machete or braguinha instruments immigrants brought over when moving to the former Sandwich Islands to work on its sugar plantations.

    Through a few adjustments over time, the ukulele took shape. These days, this stringed instrument visually resembles an acoustic guitar, albeit on a smaller scale, and features four strings.

    Like other stringed instruments, the ukulele comes in several sizes that affect its range of tone. The smallest is the soprano ukulele - considered the traditional Hawaiian form and featuring 12 to 15 frets. Going down the scale is the concert ukulele with 15 to 18 frets, the tenor ukulele with 17 to 19 frets, and the baritone ukulele with 18 to 21 frets.

    Explore Other Stringed Instruments at Alamo Music Center

    Whether you're interested in the ukulele, banjo, mandolin or another stringed instrument, Alamo Music Center offers a choice of new and used options supported by an extended warranty. Get to know your instrument with trial lessons, and take advantage of multiple financing and layaway options, including 12- to 48-month no-interest options at times.