The story

After my brother died a year or so ago, I found this ornamental African banjo hidden away in the corner of a room while clearing out his house. I don’t believe it is actually meant to be played – it seems a purely ornamental piece. The body is wooden, with a metal cap, and I was intrigued by the authentic rural sound. However, there are only six strings, which are more like strands of building wire than those of a typical instrument, and there is no fret board or means of varying the pitch while playing. So a one-chord wonder.

I’ve sampled each of the six strings, and physically tuned the higher string up a few extra steps to expand the ‘natural’ range a bit further. There are four round-robins and two velocities of each note, spread mainly downwards to fill in the gaps over two octaves. This is my first sample pack, so it has been quite a learning experience for me as well.


Reviews for Ornamental African Banjo

  • Sound
  • Character
  • Playability
  • Inspiration
  • GUI

Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!

  • Great Work !!

    Sounds amazing thanks fro sharing so unique sound of this instrument keep up the good work ...Exootikk Beats

    exootikk music14 May 2022
  • Beautiful

    Amazing.. I love libraries that can make me play/practice for a long time.. This sounds beautiful.. And with the reverb knob it comes out alive.. I was also having fun with the attack knob, by taking it to about 10 o clock, it was sounding like it was hit with a softer stick/beater. And at about 12 o clock or more, it sounded like it was bowed.. I didn't get much use of the tone knob. I could hear the difference but didn't find them as making a huge difference. Also placement of the knobs was a little awkward. I almost didn't see it (especially with the black and white backgound).. But sound/inspiration wise this is a perfect piece..

    Mreenal Mams26 February 2022
  • Not ornamental, but still beautiful

    This is a fantastic sounding banjo, probably one of the best I've heard. It sounds amazingly good, with pristine sampling and nice action.

    My problem lies in the title, because in music, we use the term "ornamental" as a technique that separates the normal stroke from a more delicate and usually more complex one, that you can't really create by pressing just a key. On a banjo, I expected some kind of string bending or hammering, or maybe some trills.

    Sadly there are no ornamented notes at all, though everything about the actual instrument is very, very good.

    Alex Raptakis26 December 2021
  • Cool instrument

    Great acoustic sound, using with an acoustic guitar plugin to give my electric guitar more character

    s6mike19 February 2022
  • Another PianoBook GEM!

    Well, judging from the story Mark certainly didn't pick an easy first instrument to sample. Lucky he smashed it out of the park then... Never heard one of these in "real life" and never likely to I guess, but Mark's turned six "strands of building wire" into a playable instrument that sounds completely authentic. Great job demonstrating, yet again exactly what PianoBook is about.

    Mark Lord28 December 2021
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