Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I am so glad my book "Early Banjo Primer" has done so well and many of you have copies. I hope that it has helped launch you into this music. I am about to edit the third and final version of this....so i am asking for feedback from anyone who cares to offer it. I want to improve it as best I can. I envision mainly an extension of graded repertoire. Also, thinking of a flash drive to go with it of videos with slow breakdowns of tunes...move by move. 

So.....feel free to comment. 

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Also...with the improvement of some of my software.....it will have a more uniform look to it. It will more closely resemble the Buckley 1868 tab book. 

My only suggestion would be to attach a warning label to the book and materials such as -- Caution: This book and its content may be extremely habit forming causing you to ignore many of your previous routines and duties, your present banjo playing style, and/or "suggestions" from your wife regarding your household responsibilities.


Ha ha....I'll include the warning.

Seriously - more repertoire?  

I'm all for more tunes. Warning is great too :)

If you include videos, be sure to include a good one of tuning the banjo to begin with-  that's an area that lots of beginners need help with.  Maybe include low bass and high bass tuning.  Explain how one can raise/lower a step to get the different keys.  Show where the Tonic chord is for low bass and high bass.

Good point about the tuning. 

I've always thought about graded repertoire....presenting tunes in order of difficulty. I think including all the entry level tunes in various styles would be beneficial. At that point...one can go play what they please. maybe 50 tunes or so.

as I have been progressing I have found playing different versions of the same tune to be very helpful. especially if there is beginner and advanced versions of them too. Mark Weems Sweeney book does it well.

Tim, your Early Banjo Primer is the first minstrel banjo book I bought.  I has really been helpful.  If you are thinking about revising it, I like the idea of the tunings and graded repertoire.  That would make it even more valuable for beginers I think.

Are fingerings distracting..or helpful?

IMHO-  very helpful.  Especially having an X indicate a thumb note.   I found that stroke style uses a lot more thumbed notes as part of the melody than clawhammer, and it was one of the things I really had to work on since my instinct was to NOT use my thumb for many of the stroke thumbed notes.  The X's really helped me get a grasp of the stroke style and how it was different from my usual clawhammering.

Once one gets past the beginning stage one can always develop their own fingering preferences anyway.  But for my first year learning to play minstrel tunes it was real important to me.

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