Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I am looking for my first minstrel banjo. I have little to no idea what to look for or even consider attaining. Obviously, the cheaper the better, but I do not want my cheapness to result in a banjo of inferior quality.

Anyone who would like to talk about their banjo, their likes and dislikes of it, would be really cool. And because I am looking, I would really like to know a rough price range and where you got your banjo from as well. Also, whether you had to pick it up or whether banjos can be easily and reliably mailed...

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Hi Lucas,

I can't say that I have a lot of experience with minstrel banjos, but I just bought my first one, a tackhead, from Jeff Menzies and am very happy with it. I recently wrote a review of it on Banjo Hangout-- http://www.banjohangout.org/reviews/search.asp?m=m&v=8545&r...

Here is a link to the banjo:
http://www.menziesinstruments.com/content/jeff-menzies-boucher-styl...

Jeff shipped it to me across the frozen expanse of Canada in December, and it arrived safe and sound, on a day when the wind chill was at a frosty -44 degrees.

Good luck with your shopping!
Hi and welcome, Lucas. I don't see how you could go wrong with a basic Prust tackhead: http://www.chloesgarden.com/Banjos%20on%20Web/Banjos.htm
I will second the recomendation of a Menzies banjo. Attentive customer service and top-notch craftsmanship make
for a happy purchasing experience.

And of course James Hartel creates magic in his workshop.

And our beloved mentor George Wunderlich! His banjoes are actually capable of time-transportation. However, by the time you actually get the banjo you may want to be transported back to the younger you. Just kidding! George has done more for the early banjo community than just about anybody else, and we love him for it.

I'm sure there are others, but those are 3 that I've played and enjoyed.
Hello,
I love my John Bowlin 1865 fretless--it's got the sound and boy does it finger smooth and stays in tune too. :)
They are difficult to come by these days--but if you keep your eyes open--whenever he offers one for sale--if you strike fast--you may get one.

I used to have a Wunderlich Hunchback--also a very nice repro banjo.

Others I have seen and greatly admired are the Hartels and a custom 13" by Phillipe Revel (France).

Oh my God. That banjo is ginormous!!! That is great!!! Haha!!! You could sail to France in that thing. Thanks for the input too. I have heard great things about Hartel's and Wunderlich's banjos, now if can afford either ;D
That Revelle is not mine--it belongs to a very wonderful French banjoist named Yves. When we were in Britainy this summer-he drove in from somewhere else in France to visit and pick and he brought 3 lovely banjos with him and the monster Revelle was one. I have never met Phillipe--but I have heard that if you have him build you a banjo--he will fly it in to a major airport (he is an airline pilot) and you can meet him there and receive your banjo in person. :)
Also--do go and look at the pix of the models of James Hartel's banjos--he is on the board--and you are bound to fall head over heels in love with one of his reproductions. :)

Lucas Bowman said:
Oh my God. That banjo is ginormous!!! That is great!!! Haha!!! You could sail to France in that thing. Thanks for the input too. I have heard great things about Hartel's and Wunderlich's banjos, now if can afford either ;D
ps. Lucas--save up and buy the banjo you really want--you won't regret it--a banjo is more than an investment--its a force of nature. You can even fast and drink water for a couple weeks (if you have no health issues) and use your grocery money--its worth it!
Best wishes,
Mary Z. Cox

Woohooo--look at this Hartel! :)

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