Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Selections from Sep. Winner's 1864 Banjo Primer

Fingerings by Greg Adams

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Comment by Wayne Shrubsall on July 28, 2010 at 11:11pm
Is the tuned to Briggs' dGDF#A or Rice et al eAEG#B?
Comment by Jim Dalton on July 29, 2010 at 4:50am
dGDF#A
Comment by Wayne Shrubsall on July 29, 2010 at 8:01am
Thanks, Jim. By the way, is "Dick Sliter's Reel," a tune I have attempted often, and which is found in the Rice book, also set in the lower G-bass tuning?
Comment by Jim Dalton on July 29, 2010 at 8:44am
Yes it is.

On page 8 (of my copy) of the Rice, he says that tunes in D and G should use the lower tuning. (Just one sentence halfway down the page and easy to miss...)

If I'm not mistaken, the only other piece that applies to in the Rice book is Machine Poetry. There are a bunch in the 1860 Buckley.
Comment by Wayne Shrubsall on July 29, 2010 at 9:00am
Again I am in your debt. I generally keep the Boucher in the G bass tuning, especially when doing a solo show on banjo styles from 1840 to the present (hence so many banjos). It is a relief to know that the old boys retuned (or, like Uncle Dave Macon) kept a couple of banjos on the stage. I need a second minstrel banjo!
Comment by Jim Dalton on July 29, 2010 at 10:24am
They certainly did retune -- Briggs gives a chart for how to retune for different keys -- 2 keys per tuning.

He also mentions a minor key tuning -- 2nd string down a semitone. Unfortunately, he doesn't give any pieces to play in this tuning.

By the way, I like your thinking about a second minstrel banjo. My (George W.) Boucher is kept in the G bass tuning most of the time as well -- I love the way it sounds there.
Comment by Wayne Shrubsall on July 29, 2010 at 6:21pm
Jim,
I knew about the tuning list in Briggs, but I guess I was too involved in trying to learn how the Rice stuff worked (didn't get the others that Ayers publishes until much later) to worry about other-than-E-or-A tunes.

Say, I want to upload a picture of myself and the Boucher to this site but I cannot seem to get this site to oblige. Can you assist?

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