Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

And it sounds awful!  Heheh, not really.  As promised, the Nylgut strings are still stretching, so it doesn't just go out of tune, it goes out of tune while I am tuning it!  It actually has quite a loud clear sound, I think, but I'll let others be the judge of that when it settles in.

 "Character", I believe, is the word the Victorians used for "screw ups", and this has character in spades, things I measured twice, cut once, and then hid, and things I just didn't understand until the thing started going together, but all of those things will be instructive going forward.  I look forward to suggestions and critique from anyone who can point me forward, as I'm sure there are still things I don't see.

Thanks to everyone here who answered my many newbie questions along the way!

I still have five skins left, what to do, what to do...

Tony

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Hey again,

Here's a real quick sound sample from the new tackhead, no tune or intent, just a little bit right from the camcorder.

Warning!  Contains examples of poor technique, no wait, make that no technique.

Enjoy!

Tony

http://youtu.be/dhdYBlsZfWk

great lookin banjo. I do have a question , I am going to build a tackhead soon and I

wanted to ask you if you glued the head as well as tack it?

I think I heard someone say once that they glued theirs

it sounds very good too

Thank you, Ron!  Yes, it's glued with regular Titebond down to where the skin is cut off.  I didn't document this one very well, but I had masking tape on it about an inch down from the top of the rim to protect the finish from glue.  Pre-drill your tack holes, apply glue, and start the stretching process.  As I understand it, it's the glue that holds the skin in place ever after, not so much the tacks.  There are a couple of threads I found that were helpful to me, this is one, and here is another one, more gourd specific but the principle is about the same.

I look forward to seeing your tackhead build!

Tony

Ron said:

great lookin banjo. I do have a question , I am going to build a tackhead soon and I

wanted to ask you if you glued the head as well as tack it?

I think I heard someone say once that they glued theirs

it sounds very good too

It's got a great clear tone!   I'd say you have it down, playing them two outer strings.  It all starts there...  lol!   ;D

Thank you, Strumelia! This stroke motion still feels very awkward to me, but I suppose it's just a matter of repetition, repetition, repetition.

Strumelia said:

It's got a great clear tone!   I'd say you have it down, playing them two outer strings.  It all starts there...  lol!   ;D

NOTHING feels more awkward and foreign that first trying Stroke.

Stick with it.

yes, I think that both minstrel stroke style and clawhammer are extremely foreign and awkward at first.  the good news is that the worst part is at the very beginning- it just gets easier each day, a tiny bit at a time, like Tim says, stick with it.  One day soon, out of the blue, you wake up and realize you are feelin' the groove.   :)

I am a beginner too. Be encouraged its not impossible to do this.

Like all good things it takes time. I recommend Tim's Book

Early Banjo. It comes with a cd, and there are learning videos

available on here too. Learn the basic movements first, they are

like an erector set, you put them together in different combinations and

bango...there's a tune

 

best of luck to you

 

Ron H

In an odd way, that is really good to hear.  Will do!

Thanks,

Tony

Tim Twiss said:

NOTHING feels more awkward and foreign that first trying Stroke.

Stick with it.

Good to hear that confirmed!  The good news is, I like the sound a banjo makes, so it's not hard to steal away a moment here and there to practice, and longer when I get my act together!

Strumelia said:

yes, I think that both minstrel stroke style and clawhammer are extremely foreign and awkward at first.  the good news is that the worst part is at the very beginning- it just gets easier each day, a tiny bit at a time, like Tim says, stick with it.  One day soon, out of the blue, you wake up and realize you are feelin' the groove.   :)

Thanks, Ron, that's good to hear!  Actually, my copy of Tim’s book arrived just a couple of days ago, but I've only had a short time to look it over.  It's starting to make sense, though!

Ron said:

I am a beginner too. Be encouraged its not impossible to do this.

Like all good things it takes time. I recommend Tim's Book

Early Banjo. It comes with a cd, and there are learning videos

available on here too. Learn the basic movements first, they are

like an erector set, you put them together in different combinations and

bango...there's a tune

 

best of luck to you

 

Ron H

Anthony, think about just starting with the first few moves of the right hand.  Then think about playing around with using those moves to play Juba.  I found that Juba was a real FUN way to practice the right hand moves.  It's like playing a real fun tune, disguised as practice.   :)  Keep it fun, and don't worry about how fast or slow you progress. I have found that, like love, progress usually sneaks up on you when you stop worrying and looking for it. 

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