Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Hello everybody,

I'm new here. I've always loved the banjo. About 8 years ago now, I wandered into a music shop in Ottawa, Canada. In hindsight, the owner was a bit like the "Soup Sazi" in Seinfeld, in other words, YOU TOUCH YOU BUY. I touched, so I bought, but I never was able to learn it and eventually gave it to my landlord in exchange for one months rent.

Fast forward, april 2017. I decided to give it another shot. Bought a banjo. Learned how to play clawhammer by practising regularly (many hours per week)... My playing ability has become quite respectable over the past few months (although still a lot of progress needs to be made). This may sound a bit odd, but me learning to play the banjo has completely changed my perspective on the so-called cultural rift in the US (and to a larger extent, in North America).

During this time, I also discovered on YouTube the wonderful world of the fretless Minstrel banjo. Luckily for me, I came into a bit of money this past christmas and ordered myself a banjo from Don Gardner (it should be getting here in about two weeks). My decision was based on price and solid video demonstrations by Tim Twiss and  Leonidas Jones on YouTube.

My family is in no way imbedded in Civil War history or anything (although John Brown did plan his raid on Harpers Ferry in a small church in my small hometown in southern Ontario, Canada), so for now, hopefully I don't come off as a sham, but my desire to learn stems from my love for the music.

I look forward to learning a lot on this forum and I look forward to diving into a brand new culture as well as indulging in the pleasures of the minstrel banjo.

Views: 230

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Welcome to the site David!   Be sure to give us a peek at your new banjo when it arrives, and keep us updated on your banjo journey.

Don't be afraid to ask questions here.  We all love to talk banjo.    :)

Welcome, David, I’m glad you made it here!!

Yes, welcome! I am sure you will find a lot of interesting things (and people) here. Don Gardner makes some good looking, and sounding banjos. I am a regular customer at his suttlers tent at Civil War reenactments in my area of Northern Virginia. Again, welcome to the site.

Strumelia :I just realized that I've also seen some of your videos on Youtube  If all goes well, I should be receiving my banjo in about 2 weeks or so. I will gladly share a couple of pictures

Woohoo, it finally arrived!

Very nice David!  Walnut neck?

Yeah. I've been test driving it for the past 30 minutes. I've never played any other fretless, minstrel style banjo, so as far as I can tell, it sounds pretty good. I'll probably eventually post some videos once I feel comfortable and a bit more competent.

Be sure you tune it to standard low Briggs tuning... then you'll start out being able to play the repertoire with the intended fingering and keys.  Remember it's a bit of a leap at first... it's different.  But soon you'll get used to the different fingering and tuning and it'll make a lot of sense to you.    :)   

As a longtime clawhammer player, I started out in Briggs/minstrel tuning by working on Juba and Calabash Dance... which I found to be the two absolute easiest and most useful tunes to dip my toe in the water... then went on to Camptown Hornpipe.  From there, things began to get easier.

Nice looking banjo! 

I've been making good progress : 
https://www.banjohangout.org/myhangout/media-player/audio_player2.a...
Strumelia said:

Be sure you tune it to standard low Briggs tuning... then you'll start out being able to play the repertoire with the intended fingering and keys.  Remember it's a bit of a leap at first... it's different.  But soon you'll get used to the different fingering and tuning and it'll make a lot of sense to you.    :)   

As a longtime clawhammer player, I started out in Briggs/minstrel tuning by working on Juba and Calabash Dance... which I found to be the two absolute easiest and most useful tunes to dip my toe in the water... then went on to Camptown Hornpipe.  From there, things began to get easier.

Sounding good!

Not bad at all! Great work!

david caron said:

I've been making good progress : 
https://www.banjohangout.org/myhangout/media-player/audio_player2.a...
Strumelia said:

Be sure you tune it to standard low Briggs tuning... then you'll start out being able to play the repertoire with the intended fingering and keys.  Remember it's a bit of a leap at first... it's different.  But soon you'll get used to the different fingering and tuning and it'll make a lot of sense to you.    :)   

As a longtime clawhammer player, I started out in Briggs/minstrel tuning by working on Juba and Calabash Dance... which I found to be the two absolute easiest and most useful tunes to dip my toe in the water... then went on to Camptown Hornpipe.  From there, things began to get easier.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2018   Created by John Masciale.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service