Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I have seen a few minstrel banjos that have a hide head on the front and back.  What is the advantage of this? I don't think it would work as a resonator since there are no holes in the rim. Is it simply cosmetic?

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Canaan--Some Boucher banjos had double heads, but I've never seen any others.  I would say there is no advantage, since they certainly didn't catch on.  A couple things, however.  Drums had two heads and there were all sorts of experiments with banjos that didn't catch on.  For example, I have an 1885 Charles Dobson banjo with the tone ring mounted outside the rim.  It works fine, but doesn't seem to add anything to the sound, so it wasn't replicated as far as I know.

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