The Folk Society band performs a broad repertoire of songs with vocal melodies and harmonies accompanied by acoustic instruments. Each member of the band sings and many of our songs are performed with 3-part vocal harmony.

Anchor Instruments of the Band

The Folk Society’s musicians play a variety of acoustic stringed and percussive instruments common to American folk music genres.
The band's unique sound is typically anchored by a blend of the following instruments.
  • 6- and 12-string Acoustic Guitar (Gary)
  • 6-string Acoustic Guitar (Jerry)
  • Open-back 5-string Banjo (Bob)
  • Bass Guitar (Len)
  • Mandolin (Karen)
   Bob on the
open-back banjo
   Gary on the
6-string guitar
   Len on the
bass guitar

   Karen on the
folk mandolin
   Jerry on the
6-string guitar

Occasional Instruments of the Band

The Folk Society band members play a variety of acoustic instruments, so on many occasions you will see them playing different combinations of instruments best suited for different songs.

Bob often changes banjo from the Chanterelle banjo to a Gibson open-back long-neck or a Bart Reider open-back. He sometimes switches to resonator guitar with either a Beard Dobro or a Weissenborn guitar. On his original songs, he plays either a Taylor, a Martin or a McPherson acoustic guitar. He also plays the Kamaka baritone and Martin tenor ukulele.


Jerry plays a strong rhythm acoustic guitar and occasionally plays harmonica.

Karen occasionally changes from mandolin to an Appalachian lap dulcimer or an Autoharp and plays the castanets proficiently.

Karen and Gary occasionally change to percussive instruments including tambourine, djembe drum, shakers,spoons, washboard and claves.

For more information on the folk instruments that the band uses and also others common to folk music ....

Navigate using the links on the right to get more information on the history, evolution and use of the musical instruments in old-time and modern American folk music.