Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

My latest build

Views: 25

Comment by Al Smitley on Monday

Please explain more.  Is there something about the 5th string that allows it to be easily changed and, with the use of some capo device gives the option of playing in different keys.  Reminded me of a backgammon board, at first sight.

Comment by flatfoot johnny on Tuesday
Hi Al. The 5th string is no harder to change than any other banjo. You just need to poke it down the slot and into the hole in the peg. Regarding a capo you could just tune up the string. They can generally take it. This banjo wasnt designed with new fangled capos in mind.
Comment by Al Smitley on Tuesday

Sorry I didn't well articulate what I meant.  When I typed "easily changed" I meant with regard to the key you want to play in.  I thought that perhaps there was some device you came up with to significantly shorten the 5th string (from bridge to moveable nut, so to speak) as I would be reluctant to tighten the 5th string more than a step or so without shortening the distance from the bridge to the nut.

Comment by flatfoot johnny on Tuesday
Oh right. No, no device I'm afraid.
Comment by Joel Hooks yesterday

Al, to change keys one just needs to play in a different key.  Full instructions are given in the Converse "Green" book.  No patent clamps, twisting pegs or mousetraps needed.

Johnny, this is a very cool banjo!  I understood "Tunbridgeware" to be bundles of colored sticks glued together in blocks and then sliced off to form the pattern.  The concept was inexpensive and easy to cover wooden objects with no thought given to taste.  The banjos covered with that stuff tend to be tourist curiosities and not necessarily solid playing instruments.   

Is your banjo decoration not marquetry?  A good deal of quality early banjos were decorated with marquetry and your's looks to fall into that category of quality.

Comment by Al Smitley 23 hours ago

Joel, I've played in a lot of different keys as backup, but assumed that if I wanted to do an instrumental break or melodic bridge, it might help to re-tune the 5th string and use a capo devise.  I will take a look at Converse, however.  Thanks for the suggestion.


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