Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I have been playing clawhammer style for about a year after many years of renovation and building string instruments. I have just completed a gourd tackon banjo and am moving into a Boucher style minstrel banjo. In terms of playing I am very interested in learning stroke style. I have Weidlich's Converse book and would like to broaden into examples of Briggs as well. I am aware of Bob Fleshers "Minstrel Banjo-Stroke Style" and Wiedlich's "Early Minstrel Banjo-Technique and Repertoire" and was wondering which way to go if choosing one. Any suggestions please.

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Fleshers is good. You get a CD too.

If you are TAB driven, then I would recommend Bob Flesher's book. It is drawn from a variety of source books (like Briggs, Buckley, etc.), is easy to read, lays flat and comes with a CD. I started with it and still use it as a resource.

Otherwise, I would recommend downloading copies of the originals and working from them. Even if you are TAB driven, the originals are generally easy fodder for self-made TAB.

Best of the best would be to read right from the source material and skip the TAB conversion altogether.

Thank you guys, I will investigate Mr Fleshers offering. By the way Tim I have really enjoyed your offerings on this site and YouTube, they are a great resource to us lesser minstrel banjo mortals 

Thank you Stanley. Good luck. I am also happy to onsey twosy tab for tunes not available. You can just ask here, or private message me.

Thanks again Tim. I will certainly bear that in mind as I continue along my journey. 

In my opinion Bob Flesher's Book/CD is the best by far.  You can hear the Bob playing each piece.  He includes many of his alternate versions you won't find elsewhere.

Thank you Tom. Thats another vote for Bob.

Wow... I had to order a copy of the Flesher book after reading this thread. I've been using the Weidlich books and they're definitely good and easy to use, but I need to see what's in this other lauded volume. Strangely, Amazon did not seem to have any in stock, but Elderly Instruments did. I also picked up a green Converse while I was there...

Why not order it directly from Bob from his Dr Horsehair website.

Well... because I didn't know any better... next time...

Sorry for the late post, but I looked up the Dr. Horsehair site and it looks like the Flesher book, which I received and it looks (and sounds) great, has a prequel called "Learning Minstrel Banjo." The description on the site says the book with the CD is its followup, which makes sense because the CD book doesn't contain much about actual playing technique. So I put in a request to order the prequel to see what it has.

Yes that is what I found as well. Please let me know what you find out about the intro book. I have been relying on Tim's lessons with the Briggs book for technique and it would be good to see how that relates to a wider selection of tunes. Good on yer mate for all your effort.

Ed Womack said:

Sorry for the late post, but I looked up the Dr. Horsehair site and it looks like the Flesher book, which I received and it looks (and sounds) great, has a prequel called "Learning Minstrel Banjo." The description on the site says the book with the CD is its followup, which makes sense because the CD book doesn't contain much about actual playing technique. So I put in a request to order the prequel to see what it has.

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