Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Questions on tuning and lessons in the introductory videos

Please forgive my ignorance and have patience with me.

I downloaded "Briggs and Rice First Studies' and watched the intro videos. I tuned my banjo according to the third video (1-A, 2-F#, 3-D, 4-G, 5-d). The notation offers different pitches than the tab. Am I interpreting this correctly? And, what notes should I actutaly be playing?

Thank you-Val

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this is what I used for a long time,  put it on a flash and you can take it anywhere

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oCDLG3LcZ8

Just pretend you tuned to what the notation says. It is all relative.

 

Steve-thank you. That's the video I watched. I had no idea I'd be retuning so much. Once I get used to it it will be quite fun.

Tim-While it's easier for me to read from tab, I'd like to start playing from standard notation. Had I looked to the next page I would see that it's written to match the tuning. It's only in a different key on page 3. Thanks!

 

I meant to tell you.....the first run of books is gone...and the second batch should be here any time. I'll send it as soon as I get it...okay?

There are two systems of notation for the banjo. Like Tim wrote, pitch does not matter as the intervals are relative. By far most banjo music is written in A notation, that would be the one to learn to read.

The hobby has declared that "G" tuning is king in early banjo. That is to say the fourth string is tuned to "G" then standard intervals--- not bass elevated like in modern bluegrass intervals. This pitch is not necessarily a historical rule, just that when we get togather we can play togather. It also sounds dramatically different from a modern banjo.

All of these pieces can and should be played on modern banjos at modern pitch (with nylon strings).

Thanks for letting me know. I will be patient!

Tim Twiss said:

I meant to tell you.....the first run of books is gone...and the second batch should be here any time. I'll send it as soon as I get it...okay?

Joel-

Thank you. I have a banjo 'built' for bluegrass right now, so I'll have to imagine a different sound as I play. I do have a nice walnut open back on it way...in three years. I am wondering how many different banjos I should tell my husband I need to get the most authenticity out of this experience! (I'm hoping it's quite a few).


Joel Hooks said:

There are two systems of notation for the banjo. Like Tim wrote, pitch does not matter as the intervals are relative. By far most banjo music is written in A notation, that would be the one to learn to read.

The hobby has declared that "G" tuning is king in early banjo. That is to say the fourth string is tuned to "G" then standard intervals--- not bass elevated like in modern bluegrass intervals. This pitch is not necessarily a historical rule, just that when we get togather we can play togather. It also sounds dramatically different from a modern banjo.

All of these pieces can and should be played on modern banjos at modern pitch (with nylon strings).

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