What Is a Banjo Arm?

by Allison Edrington
The distinct shape of the banjo is the source of

The distinct shape of the banjo is the source of "banjo arm" styles.

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The term "banjo arm" has a variety of different meanings depending on the context, crossing over three different industries: music, manufacturing and interior design. Outside of the instrumental use of the term, calling an item's style a banjo arm means that it resembles the shape of the musical instrument.

Musical Arm Rest

A banjo arm rest is a metal or wooden bar placed on the lower part of a banjo head. This allows a player to strum the banjo without having to press her arm or wrist against the rim, head or brackets. Without the arm rest, it can be uncomfortable to play and may impact the sound if too much pressure is placed on the head.

Other Musical Uses

Some banjo players refer to the neck and frets of a banjo as the "banjo arm." The term is not a common one, but some use the term instead of calling the area between the head and the headstock a "neck."

Countertops

A banjo countertop is most often found in bathrooms. The name comes from how the counter looks with either a square or round counter around the sink with a thinner "leg" or "arm" that extends out to cover the toilet tank. The feature adds counter space to an area, but it can prove problematic if there is not enough space between the toilet tank and the counter, as that can make removing the tank lid difficult or impossible.

Manufacturing

A banjo arm is also a type of manufacturing-manipulator arm. So called because it vaguely resembles the banjo instrument, the manipulator arm is used in some manufacturing plants and enables machine operators to "extend beyond the working limits of a rail system," according to Knight Global's brochure on manipulators. The banjo arm can have a balancer mounted onto it to lift and lower loads.

About the Author

Allison Edrington is a freelance journalist based out of Eureka, Calif., specializing in crafts, science fiction and gaming. She has written for the "Eureka Times-Standard," covering education, business and city government, and previously worked for the "Chico Enterpise-Record." Edrington graduated from California State University, Chico, with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in history.

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