Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I use the Converse Combinations as bedrock for this style. A few pages over, it gets even better....the "General Exercises - Banjo Style". Here is a twisty serving of well fingered phrases. Anybody elese using these? It is clear that this man did not think of "Banjo Style" as something to be forgotten. Instead, he solidified this style....into an art form.

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I'll check and see, Tim. I did this tab years ago and can't recall if I cross-checked 'em or not. I don't think I can put the strike codes in...but I'll see what I can do.
 
Tim Twiss said:

I hate to complain about a great effort here Marc, but the entire point is the hand planting down as a Strike, or Combination, as indicated by the black lines. Can you find a way to add those? Also, the dotted rhythms are not there for the most part.

Ok, I think I can add the strike lines using Adobe Acrobat.

Not sure what you mean about the dotted rhythms. They're right there in the ABM.

Dots...I know they are there...but they are not in your tab. The order is really mixed up...Combinations are cut short, and then starting the Combination Excercises start in a totally different spot, leaving several out. It mixes in with General Excercises. You have a 2 measure phrase broken up as 2 separate measures. Not sure how you got this put together, but you might want to proof it and label it so people will know what is referenced here. IMHO, the logical progression of the entire work is pretty important. But then again, playing ANYTHING on that page sure won't hurt ya! Tab readers .....this does not match the ABM, so don't try to line it up with notation. Once again, I think the greatest purpose of all this was working out the Combination, formerly called a Strike. The Strike marks are a constant reminder...plant that hand down.

Trapdoor, maybe I'm missing something here...

I'm looking at pages 90-91 of the Converse Analytical Banjo Method of 1886 tutor.  It seems to line up ok with your tab until the 9th measure, then they are not the same.  Are you looking at those pages in that Converse book?  Seems like different exercises to me after the 8th measure.  The tab does not show the dotted rhythms (which are most of the exercises), nor does it have any of the triplet exercises on lines 10-11.

I think we may be looking at two different books or editions?  Or maybe I'm looking at the wrong book?

I also agree with Tim that the strike & thumb combination indications from the tutor are pretty essential in a tab of stroke style beginner exercises.  Without them, someone with clawhammer background would tend to just play the whole tab in regular clawhammer style, when in fact the Converse tutor indicates many many thumbed notes that would not normally be played with the thumb in claw style.  This is one of the key factors that distinguishes stroke style from clawhammer, and actually makes it sound different, so a tab without these strike and thumb indications would produce players who are basically clawhammering their way through minstrel tunes.  Practicing it that way in exercises would cement the habit further and make it harder later on to play stroke style the way it was indicated by the tutors.

Trapdoor2 said:

Ok, here's a pdf of the 1886 Converse exercises. Carl sent me some handwritten TAB and I keyed it into TablEdit.

Ooops, sorry I wrote my post at the same time as Tim posted above.  Yeah, the tab is not like the tutor...in multiple ways, so that's good to know!

No worries, I'll fix it up. As I said, these were done years ago. I never proofed them to the ABM, I simply digitized the hand-written stuff I was given. Getting it to match up with the ABM won't take long. Getting all the strikes in might take a bit longer. Frankly, I don't like the strike indicators (bars, black lines, whatever) in the ABM, I'd rather have simply RH fingering indicators...something a modern CH player will be more likely to understand w/o extra explanaitory notes.

I can tell you that it was never my intent to produce something that would stand alone without reference to the original ABM. However, if y'all want that I'm willing to give it a shot.

I yanked the pdf. Will repost when I get it straightened out!

I love the black lines.....very important.

I love the 'X's for the thumb.

Tim, can you tell me what it means when the little numbers have a line through them?  As in a few of the upper 2's and lower 1's ?

Crazy...never noticed it before. I don't think it means anything. Looks like a stray ledger line...but then again, I'm always ready for a surprise.

or....maybe it means something really important !   =8-0  

or maybe not.

Good observation, I never really payed any attention.

But alas, the book was typeset and as such those were the characters meant to be set into the staff.

 


Strumelia said:

I love the 'X's for the thumb.

Tim, can you tell me what it means when the little numbers have a line through them?  As in a few of the upper 2's and lower 1's ?

Ah, I see what you mean.  I think you are correct!  

Also, I love how some of the zeros above the staffs are placed horizontally.     :D



Joel Hooks said:

Good observation, I never really payed any attention.

But alas, the book was typeset and as such those were the characters meant to be set into the staff.

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