Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Before you all rush off to download the mp3 files, you should read this first:

I have a book coming out with Mel Bay publications in 2011 - I don't know when - called The Early American Parlor Banjo, and it comes with a CD of all the tunes in the book. However, not everyone who is interested in the music will want to buy the book, so Mel Bay have let me release it through CD Baby as an mp3 album download or you can purchase individual tracks. They set the price at $9.99 for the album.

I used my trusty Luke Mercier Fairbanks/Dobson tone ring banjo, with gut strings tuned to the old American tuning of eAEG#B. The music covers folk and classical music territory, from Irish reels to free-form pieces by Frank Converse.

You can hear excerpts from each track at the website:


Go on...make me rich! LOL

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The tracks sound great! Congrats! I assume the proceeds go toward a plane ticket to the States?
A plane ticket or a boat pass across the pond to the next AEBG! Congrats Rob!

Are you kidding? I'll be so rich, I'll pay for you all to come over here. The next AEBG will be in Edinburgh!


AEBG - Interesting chord sequence


AEBG - An interesting chord!

Thanks, Dan'l.


Please note - my CD Baby recording is only mp3 downloads - no actual CD. For selling at Chataqua, the Mel Bay book with CD would be possible if available. Just go through the Mel Bay website for that. If you require help, just drop me a line. They are working on the release schedule for 2011, and will inform me soon of publication dates.





Congratulations Rob,

I listened to the whole thing this morning on my way to work (I have a 50 minute drive) What a wierd and wonderful selection of tunes - just the way I like it!  I enjoy the way they seem to be arranged into little stylistic  subsections and the banjo sounds great. Did you record this yourself? The tune called Minstrel Stage Reel shares some musical DNA with a tune called Fireman's Reel that was the theme of Don Messer's Jubilee on Canadian TV back in the 50s and 60s.

I think I'll listen to it again on the way home! 

Thanks, Ian. Yes, I recorded it myself at home, but I took it to a studio to get it Mastered - but the guy didn't do much, just brought the level up a bit. I could have done that myself and saved £200! I'll know what to do next time.

It's just me and the mic, no reverb or eq. Glad you like it.


Yes, some interesting banjo music there!

Rob, First let me say all of the tunes sound great, way to go!  I really would like to get my hands on the book.  Is the book going to be published in tab?


Yes. Tab and standard notation transposed to C tuning. I thought that anyone who was REALLY INTO this stuff would work from facsimiles of the original publications. So my book is an attempt to pull people in who have a passing interest, which might eventually develop into a burning passion. This will get them started.


Mel Bay have had the book for a year now. The person I was liasing with has since left the company, and the book got a little lost, I think, in the redistribution of work there. But I have been told they are finalising a release schedule for 2011, and I should hear from them soon regarding a publication date. I'll mention it here, of course, when I know.

Thanks. Is the book out yet?  You can hear samples of my cd to be released in May/June at www.myspace.com/denasings

Not yet...so slow...


I'll have a listen to your disc soon, Dena. Good luck with it.



Well I hope Mel Bay hurries up with that book, I've had my eye on it for a while.

Wow!  I really like One-String Waltz.  The entire CD is a delight.


Thanks for letting us hear the previews.



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