Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I decided to learn musical notation for the banjo so I could study and learn from the period books now available. But WTF, they are all written with different tunings for the banjo! How am I supposed to learn what is where, when the G might be an open string, or maybe it's the A, or even something else? How can one learn this? I can read for singing, for flute, and for mandolin. But this has me uncertain as to how to proceed. Can anyone explain this to me?

I am into the 3 Weidlich books that I have, and also books by Bob Flesher, all with tab in low minstrel tuning. This reading music in different tunings has me confused, however.

   Do you-all read music with this instrument??? I never tried to learn it for Banjo because I was playing in g, c, mountain minor, and double c tunings anyhow. And I keep adding tunings to those, for clawhammer banjo.

Confused in Minnesota,

M'lou

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I noticed that I am missing a few tunes from my Yellow Converse transcription. I am going to add this to my site and update it to include what I omitted.

While you are in there, check out the first measures of Walk Into the Parlor, which I think are actually part of Whole Hog or None.....

I am loving your yellow Converse! Thanks!

M'lou

Please see below...

Ya, you betcha. I'm from Minnesota, so what do I know?

-M'lou

Briggs is mostly dGDF#A. (We call this low tuning). Some of the pieces in Briggs are dADF#A (we call this high tuning). My advice is to just start with Briggs and practice the ENTIRE book. You will be a reader very quickly because you will encounter only two keys ... one sharp (G) or two sharps(D). Then, in 6 months, or a year from now, you can graduate yourself to the later books, and the the tuning will change. Everything will be higher by one whole step. It’s just another hill to climb. No big deal. But for now just confine yourself to Briggs. They are really all great tunes. Just stick with Briggs. Its what most of us did I think. Download the original book (it’s free). Read directly from the original source. You’ll have a blast! It’ll be a lot of fun!

Ha ha, you are right. I'll be fixing that one.

M'lou Brubaker said:

While you are in there, check out the first measures of Walk Into the Parlor, which I think are actually part of Whole Hog or None.....

I am loving your yellow Converse! Thanks!

M'lou

If you see an error in anything i put up, please tell me. I try, but perfect proofing is a difficult task. 

Looks good!

Timothy Twiss said:

You'll have to add the jokes

Timothy Twiss said:

Briggs' and Winners 1864 for are the only two books I can recall that use the D as the upper stem indicating the 5th string. Did I miss one? 

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