Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I thought it would be interesting to hear what each other is working on right now, minstrel/earlybanjo-wise. 

Building or buying something?  Learning a new tune or working on new technique?  Playing with others, or preparing for a minstrel era band gig?  Reading a good book or listening to some good audio?  Going on an earlybanjo-related adventure? 

What are YOU up to this week?- we're nosy and we wanna know!    =8-)

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Al, you're exactly right about that. Now I play regularly with another fiddler, plus guitar and bass in a little old-time string band.

I think these slow tempos and low tunings provide such a contrast to what we are accustomed to, it does draw attention.

 

Paul, I was just listening to your YouTube of "Long Steel Rail".

Why in the heck don't you sing more often?!

We have never had so much genuine interest shown and so many questions from the general public as since we started playing lower and slower, with me on my two minstrel banjos.  We are loving it!    :)  It has brought new life into our music and made it much more personal for us ...and apparently also to our audiences.



Tim Twiss said:

I think these slow tempos and low tunings provide such a contrast to what we are accustomed to, it does draw attention.

 

Strumelia, 

Exactly, I'm using the same gourd, which is a nice big (c. 12") round one.  I had originally cut a lovely little rosette for the soundhole--pretty, but not very much sound came out, so I decided that it had to go.  I am taking photos, and will make a post when it's done...P

Heheh!  That would be good!  Where again is your fair?  It sounds like a good one!

Anthony

Strumelia said:

Anthony, sounds wonderful!    Maybe you should learn to play Boatman's Dance for the occasion?   :)

Brian and i were asked by our village mayor to play informally at the county fair this weekend.  You see, the mayor of our village (where the fair is held) is a friend of ours and he makes engraved flintlock long rifles, and he sets up a booth in the Ye Olde Blacksmith Shoppe- a working balcksmith shop demo where a real blacksmith friend will be working too.  Also yet another friend of ours who is a metal worker who makes 14th century clocks will be demo-ing there..  It's a nice area there with a reproduction of an old general store and farm machines too, and they thought it'd be nice to have us there playing fiddle/banjo for part of sunday and monday.  Just friends together sitting in the shade, no pay but free passes to the fair and no 'performance' pressure.  This is a test though, since there will be a small stage not too far away that may have a small amplified band or singer...so we'll have to see if there's a sound conflict.  We can play under pretty loud noise, but they'll have the sound system, not us.   ;)   We could always sneak off to some other spot out of the way, but it'd be nice to stay with our friends in the blacksmith shop and that great setting.  We'll be adaptable and see how it goes!

Anthony, the Columbia County Fair in NY.    :)

Thanks Al for listening to that.  It's something I have to work on more -- singing and playing banjo at the same time is still awkward for me.  I recorded Long Steel Rail on two tracks, first banjo then vocal, which makes all the difference.

Al Smitley said:

Paul, I was just listening to your YouTube of "Long Steel Rail".

Why in the heck don't you sing more often?!

Well, Paul, your right and left hand seem to coordinate well together.  I'm confident you will be able to get your mouth in there as well!

Paul, most people just sing a unison like with the banjo. Syncopation and bum ditty arrive naturally.

Nothing new, i'm sure. Just encouraging you.



Tim Twiss said:

Paul, most people just sing a unison like with the banjo. Syncopation and bum ditty arrive naturally.

Ha thanks Al!  Mouth works fine, it's the brain that falters....

Al Smitley said:

Well, Paul, your right and left hand seem to coordinate well together.  I'm confident you will be able to get your mouth in there as well!

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