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  1. Malugssuak
    While this might disqualify me, I have a Chinese mando-banjo. It is eight-strings, but has a full wood body rather than the typical banjo body. The face is connected directly to the back by a round large circular piece of wood inside with sound holes in it. That is what gives it that unique Chinese string instrument sound. It has very good sustain and pretty good volume, but not overpowering. The woods are spruce for the top, acatia-koa for back and sides, and hard mahogany for the neck and head. Fingerboard is rosewood, nice and true.

    While in Southwest China for six weeks, I happened upon a group of amateurs playing popular Chinese folk songs on traditional instruments, with voice accompaniment. It was magnetic! The players were retired professionals from engineering, medicine, etc, who met up every summer in that little town to vacation and play music together. I decided to do something with this new-found music and plunged in by buying a Chinese mando-banjo. Besides vastly expanding the use of the mandolin in music, this mando-banjo is a treat to look at.

    Just posted a photo on our group site of the Chinese mando-banjo next to my "A" mandolin. Have a look.
  2. FatBear
    Fascinating. I don't suppose you have a recording you could post. (I understand if you don't - I never would! :-)

    Is it basically a banjo with a wood disk in place of the drumhead? I assume yours is glued on like any wooden stringed instrument would be, but it makes me wonder if you could put a wooden head on any regular banjo. Then you could even change the type of wood to get different sound characteristics.
  3. k0k0peli
    @FatBear: "... it makes me wonder if you could put a wooden head on any regular banjo." I don't see why not. A luthier might suggest appropriate varieties and dimensions. I suspect a wood head will be a bit quieter than a skin or plastic head. The Tahitian 'ukulele is wood-head banjo and it's not real loud. But why stop at wood? Thin metal, plexiglas, other materials -- I suppose research on such exists. Time to start googling...
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