Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Ok, so I'd love to know what techniques and what tunes people came away with and are working on now at home -after coming back from Antietam-  do share!

Tell us about any withdrawal or residual effects too...

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Lisa: I'm working on Briggs Corn Shuckin Jig. I've pretty much gotten parts A & B. Now I'm working on C. I'm really enjoying it. I've put it off for two years. Now I'm planning to work on Old Dan Tucker on my own. And on my new Bell Banjo, it is so much fun. Being able to record the session and listen to it being played slowly really helped.

I've learned the Old Virginny Jig, Bee Gum Reel, Alabama Joe, and the Circus Jig.  I'm currently working on Carve Dat Possum, the Grape Vine Reel, and the Sugar Cane Dance.  I'd like to learn White Cat Black Cat if I can find the music (it's in Rice, correct?).  The main thing I've been working on is applying all the great advice I received, and I'm beginning to read music on the banjo so I won't be so reliant on others to produce tabs.  I know how to read music, but it's definitely a challenge reading on the banjo.

John I hear you-  I'm slowly trying to read the unique 'banjo notation' in the tutors myself and translate it onto my fretboard- it's not easy i find, but I know it's do-able with dedicated effort.  I wish they were at least all the same!

I've been working on Brigg's Breakdown, Boston Jig, and Grapevine Twist...all that I somehow picked up from the Antietam weekend.  Also exploring Mark's Sweeney book.    :)

Hi John - White Cat Black Cat is very similar to Sam Johnson's Reel in the Rice '58 book.

Paul- your video here with S.Johnson's Reel is beautifully played.    :)

Thanks Paul- I'm currently in California doing research, with banjo I might add (hopefully I don't end up like Briggs!).  Unfortunately my internet connection is too poor to download any of the tutors, so I'm using the books I have at the moment and have very little from Rice to work with.  

Strumelia- I'm luckily not having any trouble reading banjo notation.  The real trouble for me is correlating the notes on the banjo to the sheet music.  In the past I've read music on the piano and the saxophone, so I'm used to instruments that play music in a very linear way, if that makes sense.  Learning to read music on a stringed instrument seems to be a whole different animal.  I'm getting there, but it's slow going.  By the way, I'm glad you mentioned the Boston Jig.  I forgot it existed and I really need to practice it!

*Edit* I just found out that I do have the music to Sam Johnson's Reel!  This just made my day- thanks Paul for telling me about this tune. 

Thanks for overlooking the fumblings.....

It sounds great to me, Paul.  

Practicing Old Joe;Jim Along Josey;Briggs Jig.  The pull offs in Part A, 3rd and 4th measure in Brigg's Jig  are 'challenging' ... hopefully, these fingers can pick up some dexterity.  Need more practice time...( I so look forward to retirement   ... my mantra for the next 9 months  ;o}  ).  Would also like to learn Circus Jig and Camptown Hornpipe.  If anyone knows where I can find tab for that, it would be much appreciated. 

It was a real pleasure being part of the gathering of such a welcoming, friendly and talented!  group. 

Looking forward to meeting again.

Working on the clock chimes.  We've got an 1863 agricultural fair coming up this weekend and it would be perfect for the fair. 

The weekend is always over too quickly!  There were too many people I didn't get to chat with, too few tunes played.

What am I working on?  I'm hoping to up my game a little bit in the next year or so.  (I say this to myself every year!) Maybe find somewhere to busk and crash some local open mics with something completely different; I'm generally OK with getting up and playing in front of people but haven't done enough of it to develop any kind of audience rapport, and I'd like to work on that.  The other thing I keep threatening to do is get comfortable singing, then work on singing and playing at the same time... I'm actually thinking about checking out the local chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society.  This may also be the year that I buckle down and record/release at least an EP's worth of tracks.

And finally, I'm also venturing into classic style banjo territory.  I'd been interested even before AEBG, but thanks to Clarke and Greg's performances I now have a bee in my bonnet.

In general, I hope to focus a little more regularly on music in the coming year; In a couple of months I'll be mostly free of a commitment that's tied up a whole lot of my time for the last 6 years, so hopefully I won't fall back into my "stop playing for a couple of months at a time then practice frantically as an event approaches" pattern.

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