School of The Rock


Care and Choosing of Acoustic Instruments

Note: This article is being archived, as parts of this web site are being rearranged, and redundant articles are being eliminated.  The links below will take you to the current location of the articles we have moved or removed to avoid duplication.

When we founded this site, we planned for this page to list articles about choosing, buying, tuning, and maintaining acoustic fretted instruments, starting with guitar, banjo, and mandolin.  As it turns out, a sister site has generated a lot of interest, and we’re posting most of our articles about acoustic instruments on that page (see below).

Our Acoustic Instrument Articles, now hosted on include:

  • Whatever Happened to the Banjo? - Marginalization of an American Icon - Banjo was once every bit as popular as guitar in this country - why don’t you hear them on the radio much these days?
  • Are 6-string Banjos For Real?- Despite the false claims of manufacturers and the ridicule of 4- and 5-string players, they are real instruments with a respectable  history. 
  • Banjo Pickups - a review of aftermarket pickups that will work on most acoustic instruments.
  • Axes in my Life - Fretted instruments I’ve owned over the years, including what I learned from each.  Banjos, guitars, mandolins, bases.  Brand names include Kay, Harmony, S.S. Stewart, Ovation, Cameo, Deering, Hondo, Fender, Dean, Samick, more.
  • What is a Bluegrass Banjo?  You can learn Bluegrass styles on any playable 5-string banjo.  But if you want to play “out,” you’ll need certain features.
  • Dean Backwoods Six Shootout - Dean’s “electric-acoustic” 6-string banjo is not just an upgrade to their acoustic 6-string - it’s a different banjo with different pros and cons.
  • Beginning 5-string Banjo - the first of several planned articles to help folks trying to get started on this instruments.  We explain multiple styles so you can choose your favorite.

If you have questions, ideas, or articles you want to share on these or related topics, please contact us.  If you know of a link that would be helpful here, please send us the URL and we’ll evaluate it.

Paul Race playing a banjo. Click to go to Paul's music home page.A Note from Paul: Whatever else you get out of our pages, I hope you enjoy your music and figure out how to make enjoyable music for those around you as well.

And please stay in touch!

    - Paul Race Click to see Paul's music home page Click to contact Paul through this page. Click to jump to the Discussion Forum Page Click to see Paul's music blog page Click to learn about our Momma Don't Low Newsletter. Click to see Paul's music page on Facebook Click to see Paul's YouTube Channel.

Visit related pages and affiliated sites:
Heartland-inspired music, history, and acoustic instrument tips.
Best-loved railroad songs and the stories behind them.
Visit musings about music on our sister site, School of the Rock With a few tools and an hour or two of work, you can make your guitar, banjo, or mandolin much more responsive.  Instruments with movable bridges can have better-than-new intonation as well. Acoustic-based, traditional, singer-songwriter, and folk music with a Western focus. Check out our article on finding good used guitars.
Carols of many countries, including music, lyrics, and the story behind the songs. X and Y-generation Christians take Contemporary Christian music, including worship, for granted, but the first generation of Contemporary Christian musicians faced strong, and often bitter resistance. Different kinds of music call for different kinds of banjos.  Just trying to steer you in the right direction. New, used, or vintage - tips for whatever your needs and preferences. Wax recordings from the early 1900s, mostly collected by George Nelson.  Download them all for a 'period' album. Explains the various kinds of acoustic guitar and what to look for in each.
Look to Riverboat Music buyers' guide for descriptions of musical instruments by people who play musical instruments. Learn 5-string banjo at your own speed, with many examples and user-friendly explanations. Explains the various kinds of banjos and what each is good for. Learn more about our newsletter for roots-based and acoustic music. Folks with Bb or Eb instruments can contribute to worship services, but the WAY they do depends on the way the worship leader approaches the music. A page devoted to some of Paul's own music endeavors.