Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

928
Banjo Lovers Online


 All Forums
 Other Banjo-Related Topics
 Other Banjo-Related Topics: Clawhammer/Old-Time
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: What is it with frogs and banjos?


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/131687

fernando - Posted - 11/17/2008:  12:29:34


Hi, I’d like to know why are frogs often represented playing banjos (or why are banjos often represented played by frogs).
Do you have a link to an example, an illustration?
Thanks

( There is a banjo frog that lives in Australia. You can hear one here attempting a Galax Lick
http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=5237 ).


pandjlocke - Posted - 11/17/2008:  12:45:30


Did Kermit have something to do with that? Or is it a Southern thing, ya' know, bullfrogs and banjos? Anyway, it's pretty cool, and now I'm hungry for frog legs!

Beware of the urgent crowding out the important - C.E. Hummel

Paddy

oldwoodchuckb - Posted - 11/17/2008:  13:06:28


I'm from the Pogo era. I'm more used to alligators, Possums, and Turkels playin' the banjo.


Download your free copy of Rocket Science Banjo - the Advanced Method For Beginning to Intermediate Clawhammer Players, at:
http://www.rocketsciencebanjo.com

Along with the full text in PDF you will also find the four current RSB videos and the "25 EZ Clawhammer tunes. - which are up to about 40 now.

Banjo Brad is still hosting "How To Mold A Mighty Pinky" and some other material at:
http://www.pricklypearmusic.net
A site full of interesting banjo material



pandjlocke - Posted - 11/17/2008:  13:19:42


quote:
Originally posted by oldwoodchuckb

I'm from the Pogo era. I'm more used to alligators, Possums, and Turkels playin' the banjo.




Woodchuck. That gives me some ideas. Plenty of possums up here in wetern Washington State. By the way:

Why did the raccoon cross the road? To prove to the possum that it can be done!

Beware of the urgent crowding out the important - C.E. Hummel

Paddy

vrteach - Posted - 11/17/2008:  13:54:35


The call of the Green Frog (Rana clamitans) is often described as a "banjo-like twang".

http://www.banjohangout.org/myhango...usicid=10538

It's probably violin players who think it sounds like a banjo.

Erich -- There''s always room for cello..

http://vrteach.org/banjo/
http://prairiegrapevine.org/
U of Illinois-Springfield Old Time Music


Edited by - vrteach on 11/17/2008 14:04:02

jojo25 - Posted - 11/17/2008:  15:02:34


personally, I prefer turtles playing banjo

as from the Terrapin Brewing company in Athens, Ga...to which I have no connection

other than owning one of their t-shirts that shows a turtle playing a banjo!

Drop thumbs, not bombs

Joe

J-Walk - Posted - 11/17/2008:  16:14:30


Come to think of it, banjo-playing frogs are very common. You go into Hallmark, and that's pretty much all you see any more. All too often, the illustrator forgets the 5th string.



J-Walk - Posted - 11/17/2008:  16:16:40


This frog needs to work on his timing.



BanjoDiva - Posted - 11/17/2008:  17:06:23


It definitely predates Kermit. I imagine that the old folk tune "Froggie Goes A Courtin'" has something to do with it although I believe Froggie was a person.

There is also literally a species of frog called the "banjo frog".

Here is the Eastern Banjo Frog (there is also a Western Banjo Frog):


Diva
_____________________________________________________

RK R-80 #67 "The Black Dahlia"

brokenstrings - Posted - 11/17/2008:  20:56:10


quote:
Originally posted by BanjoDiva

It definitely predates Kermit. I imagine that the old folk tune "Froggie Goes A Courtin'" has something to do with it although I believe Froggie was a person.

Diva
_____________________________________________________

RK R-80 #67 "The Black Dahlia"





Yes, supposedly the song was meant to twit Queen Elizabeth I and the French prince or duke who was courting her. He was the Froggie.

Jessy

Frailaway, ladies, frailaway!

Brian Welch - Posted - 11/18/2008:  06:18:48


Gura and Bollman in their book America's Instrument: The Banjo in the Nineteenth Century on plate 3-13 (which shows a bullfrog playing a five string) note that "For some inexplicable reason, frogs and banjos were often pictured together in Victorian-era graphics." So this has been going on for a long time.

Brian

BanjoDiva - Posted - 11/18/2008:  07:02:55


quote:
Originally posted by Brian Welch

Gura and Bollman in their book America's Instrument: The Banjo in the Nineteenth Century on plate 3-13 (which shows a bullfrog playing a five string) note that "For some inexplicable reason, frogs and banjos were often pictured together in Victorian-era graphics." So this has been going on for a long time.

Brian



It shows a FIVE string in a Victorian era graphic?

BanjoDiva - Posted - 11/18/2008:  07:06:59


quote:
Originally posted by J-Walk

Come to think of it, banjo-playing frogs are very common. You go into Hallmark, and that's pretty much all you see any more. All too often, the illustrator forgets the 5th string.



Hallmark has branched out to Snowmen. Check out the new Keepsake Ornament for 2008 (I've already bought two):


Clawdan - Posted - 11/18/2008:  07:25:42


Yes, I remember time before Kermit and my friend Penny drew Frodo Frog. Sorry not copy of picture, really should get that. BUT Kermit was a big influence none the less, as you can see.



Play nice ,
Dan "Ain''t no bum-ditty" Levenson
www.ClawhammerBanjo.us
Get started right with Dan''s Clawhammer Banjo From Scratch - Book and DVD (Mel Bay Publications)

vrteach - Posted - 11/18/2008:  07:30:03


I like the special green-headed goodtime.

Erich -- There''s always room for cello..

http://vrteach.org/banjo/
http://prairiegrapevine.org/
U of Illinois-Springfield Old Time Music

deuceswilde - Posted - 11/18/2008:  15:05:47


quote:
Originally posted by BanjoDiva

quote:
Originally posted by Brian Welch

Gura and Bollman in their book America's Instrument: The Banjo in the Nineteenth Century on plate 3-13 (which shows a bullfrog playing a five string) note that "For some inexplicable reason, frogs and banjos were often pictured together in Victorian-era graphics." So this has been going on for a long time.

Brian



It shows a FIVE string in a Victorian era graphic?



Are you insinuating that there were no five string banjos during the time period of June 1837 to January 1901?

-Joel

Success always comes to those who have the money to buy it.

-The Adventures of a Banjo Player, 1884 p.26


Edited by - deuceswilde on 11/18/2008 15:07:29

Brian Welch - Posted - 11/19/2008:  05:13:30


quote:
It shows a FIVE string in a Victorian era graphic?


The five-string banjo has been the king of banjos since the 1840s, with only a brief interruption in the 1910s to 1930s.

The 4-string plectrum or tenor banjo didn't really take off until 1910 or so. By 1920, again to quote from Gura and Bollman:
"when jazz came into its own, its rhythm sections all had large-rimmed banjos with heavy wooden resonators and only four strings. As a result, the five-string banjo became increasingly rare, with new firms like Gibson, Paramount, and Bacon and Day specializing primarily in tenor and plectrum models, and making only the occasional five-string."

The five-string did survive though, thanks primarily to, wait for it, old time music!

"During the 1920s and 1930s such "hillbilly" or "old-time" tunes and songs could be heard on another invention, the radio, with performers such as Uncle Dave Macon on the Grand Ole Opry continuing uniterrupted a line of showmanship that derived from the vaudeville and medicine show stages, and beyond that, from minstrelsy itself. Amateur musicians, too, now able to buy 78rpm records of their favorite performers, were central to the five-string banjo's survival."

The rise of bluegrass and the folk revival guaranteed its return to preeminence.

Brian


vivanashvegas - Posted - 11/19/2008:  06:38:35


Yeah, and the Snowman sounds like Burl Ives!!

http://www.amazon.com/Rudolph-Red-N...p/B000002QUV

KK

panthersquall - Posted - 11/22/2008:  11:22:08


Perhaps the frog/banjo connection goes much deeper than we are aware of. . .
A few years ago I was making some home-made greeting cards and in the process of design, I came across some stickers of little puffy happy frogs that were adorable. I designed many cards using those cute little frogs.
Then one day, after about a year of trying to learn to play guitar, I heard a banjo and fell in love with it. And so began my banjo journey. The first thing I did when i got my own banjo was put one of those puffy little frog stickers on it.
It happened naturally, spontaneously, and purely out of coincidence, as prior to that I paid no attention to banjo whatsoever, and did not know of a previous frog/banjo connection!
While I don't mean to get overly esoteric about it, symbolically speaking, the frog is a symbol of transformation and change. Ever since i picked up that banjo my life began changing faster than I could keep up with. It was like I picked up a lightning bolt! Maybe the two are just psychically intertwined somehow.



"Sadly, there were no wild monkeys involved."

frodo1mjg - Posted - 11/24/2008:  07:33:21


Cafe Press will sell u a nice "banjo frog" tee shirt for 25bucks. I got mine

munchausen - Posted - 11/25/2008:  17:53:39


Can anyone tell if the Burl Ives snowman is playing a 5 string or a tenor in "Rudolph.?" I thought I saw the 5th string tuner, but I think it was really the snowman's thumb.

Chad

chickenstalker - Posted - 11/30/2008:  22:51:29


banjos make me feel froggy. i mean, i thought the frog is to the banjo what the ghost is to the machine. or what the bacongrease would therefore be to the cornbread. so to speak.

and it is my understanding that the fifth string predates the third and fourth; at one point the fifth string drone was the 3rd string, and probably before that the first, though the less strings the less musical complexity you allow, harmonically speaking ( and now my wife would correctly say im typing out my ass.... ) anyway, believed ancestors of the banjo still found in africa often had 3 strings, the 3 rd string being a drone, if memory serves me..

sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge adn lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known- a.a. milne, winnie the pooh

mrmanley - Posted - 12/01/2008:  09:53:13


The obvious backstory probably stems from the old tale about the fiddle-playing grasshopper who plays and sings all summer while the ant works hard to be ready for the winter.

I've seen lots of tsotchkes with fiddle-playing frogs, which probably grew out of the old folktales (the fiddle being an instrument played by lazybones, idlers, and disreputable folks generally). It seems a natural progression to place a banjo rather than a fiddle in the frog's hands as the banjo gained prominence in the 1840's -- as an instrument used by slaves and by musicians performing in blackface in minstrel shows, it probably had something of a disreputable character about it (much like the fiddle).

If you go to any tourist-trap south of the border, you'll see hundreds of poor dead frogs who have been stuffed and mounted with a little guitar in their hands. I'm not sure if it's part of Mexican folklore or just something to sell to Yankee tourists, but there are sure lots of them.

mrhapy - Posted - 12/03/2008:  07:18:15


we got western banjo frogs around where i live, by golly they are ugly things http://www.museum.wa.gov.au/frogwat...gs/sw/01.asp
but during winter and spring you can hear them, they make a real loud "bonk". sounds like a banjo string tuned way down.
ive trired sitting out the front with my banjo and playing along but they can never get the chords right :)
also got motorbike frogs which sounds like a 2stroke trail bike putting around in the distance. there realy is some odd stuff down this way.
http://www.museum.wa.gov.au/frogwat...gs/sw/01.asp
they have a soundclip of a banjo frog and a motorbike frog together


Edited by - mrhapy on 12/03/2008 07:24:00

declan - Posted - 12/03/2008:  12:22:36


My theory has always been that frogs came by the banjo this way....... In the old days a young banjo player would meet that special person who said they that they loved the fact that their beloved played the banjo, so time goes on and they get hitched, start a homestead and a family 'cepting that the beloved is always picking banjo whilst the other'n ends up doing all the chores and such and any together time is usually centered around the banjo being there too. Now, the other'n starts getting jealous of the banjo, and starts plotting its dimise and to make sure that there is no evidence to be found ends up lobbing it into the nearest pond where it surely goes to the bottom. Dismayed, the beloved might get another banjo or two, but when they keep disappearing the way they seem too they finally smartin up and not pick the next one around the house so much and only when out with other pickers. Meanwhile throughout the years there are all these ponds now filled with a banjo or two and the frogs after staring at them for a long while have figured out how to play them - the rest is history as shown in advertising and good ol Kermit.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Sue

declan - Posted - 12/03/2008:  12:40:46


Hey,
How many "fingers" does a frog have anyway? It looks like there are 3 on that banjo frog a few messages back - they could just be the first ones to use a 3 finger style....... hmmm
:o)

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.078125