Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

You've seen my previous postings about Sam Sweeney.  Sam has led me down a path that I've never been down before in my 63 years..music! Up to this point the hardest thing I have ever played was a radio. But my research on Sam sparked my interest in early banjo, so I decided that's what I would like to play. Several days ago I completed my Boucher repop and now I'm ready to tune it. However, I'm at a loss at this. I've tried to study Briggs and Converse and start with a basic course in reading music at the same time. Would someone out there offer a little advice to this complete but enthusiastic novice? Is there anything on Youtube to help me with early banjo tuning? Thanks!

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As it happens, there are instruction materials available on youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPD5oZkjgrQ

Tim Twiss has a number of starting-from-scratch stroke style videos.
What a beautiful looking instrument! Do you have a keyboard of any sort" There are a lot of tunings but a good place start is "A" I usually tune tune the long strings first.

If you've got a real piano find the 2nd A below middle C (Middle C is just left of the lock for the keyboard cover) That'll be your bass (fattest) string

The next string will be an E (four white keys up) Next string is G# (the black key that follows two white ones)

The next is a B (two white keys up)

The short sting is tuned to the E above middle C (three white keys up)

For G tuning move every thing down a step D (SHORT STRING) G D F# A

Your strings are gong to stretch for a while, so you you'll get lots of practice retuning for a couple of days - don't despair.

Your ear will eventually get used to what it's supposed to sound like.

Hope this gets you started.
Thanks for the info!
Stu

Carl Anderton said:
As it happens, there are instruction materials available on youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPD5oZkjgrQ

Tim Twiss has a number of starting-from-scratch stroke style videos.
Thanks for the comments about my banjo. I figured if I was going to learn it, I might as well build it. Luckily I didn't settle on trying to learn how to play a steam calliope.

I don't have a piano or access to one. However, I do have a donated Belcat BC 850 Chromatic/Guitar/Bass/Violin tuner. Would that work?

Stu



Ian Bell said:
What a beautiful looking instrument! Do you have a keyboard of any sort" There are a lot of tunings but a good place start is "A" I usually tune tune the long strings first.

If you've got a real piano find the 2nd A below middle C (Middle C is just left of the lock for the keyboard cover) That'll be your bass (fattest) string

The next string will be an E (four white keys up) Next string is G# (the black key that follows two white ones)

The next is a B (two white keys up)

The short sting is tuned to the E above middle C (three white keys up)

For G tuning move every thing down a step D (SHORT STRING) G D F# A

Your strings are gong to stretch for a while, so you you'll get lots of practice retuning for a couple of days - don't despair.

Your ear will eventually get used to what it's supposed to sound like.

Hope this gets you started.

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