Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Al Smitley
  • Male
  • Hartland, MI
  • United States
  • 1968-1976 then minstrel banjo since…
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Al Smitley's Discussions

20th C Tim

Started this discussion. Last reply by Chris Prieto Jul 14. 2 Replies

I'm reluctant to post this as I don't know if Tim will be upset with me but...... for those of you who know 19th C Tim, I thought it might be interesting for some to see 20th C Tim.…Continue

Messages

Started this discussion. Last reply by Strumelia Mar 1. 3 Replies

I'm embarrassed to admit that I found a whole bunch of messages that I never knew I had.Therefore, I apologize to all those whom I never responded to.  Chalk it up to my ignorance!Continue

Early Minstrel Show CD

Started this discussion. Last reply by david caron Jan 28. 5 Replies

I was just looking on YouTube for some renditions of the Hutchinson Family Singers songs but this came up, nearby.  As great as this CD is, it almost seems to have faded in the background so I…Continue

Email Notices

Started this discussion. Last reply by Chris Prieto Oct 27, 2017. 4 Replies

Can anyone tell me how to stop gmail notifications that tell me that someone replied to a posting I may have once responded to?Continue

 

Al Smitley's Page

Latest Activity

Al Smitley commented on Tim Twiss's video
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Sheridan's Hornpipe

""A" part is from the same "tune family" as "Morbeth Rant"."
Aug 1
Al Smitley commented on Mark Weems's video
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Stephen Foster's "Comrades, Fill No Glass For Me"

"Meant to add that it was published the same year as his father's death."
Aug 1
Al Smitley commented on Mark Weems's video
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Stephen Foster's "Comrades, Fill No Glass For Me"

"Among my favorites.  Often wondered if it was written to honor of his father (upon his death), who, in his earlier years had taken the pledge."
Jul 31
Chris Prieto replied to Al Smitley's discussion 20th C Tim
"Just as good!!! Shredding it up towards the end there"
Jul 14
Chris Prieto replied to Al Smitley's discussion 20th C Tim
"Clicking the link hoping it's the late night television :D"
Jul 14
Al Smitley posted a discussion

20th C Tim

I'm reluctant to post this as I don't know if Tim will be upset with me but...... for those of you who know 19th C Tim, I thought it might be interesting for some to see 20th C Tim.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-f9TUVH3poSee More
Jul 14
Al Smitley replied to Matthew Menice's discussion A Question
"Matthew Menice wrote, "Popular culture can prove to be quite the inconvenience for historical research". Yes.  "Lady Antebellum" is my biggest online research hurdle."
Jun 25
Al Smitley replied to Matthew Menice's discussion A Question
"I'm fascinated by the antebellum era, anyway, and have played 1860s base ball. I've also enjoyed the limited number of recordings of the social orchestra of the day. What drew me to minstrel banjo, was a recording of Civil War songs by Bob…"
Jun 25
Al Smitley replied to Chris Prieto's discussion Violin tuning
"Joel is correct on the chin rests.  Forgot to mention that.  Forgot about shoulder rests, too.  I use them both and would have an even harder time without them.  So, when I said it was not relaxing somehow helped you hold it in…"
Jun 21
Al Smitley liked Carl Anderton's video
Jun 21
Al Smitley commented on Carl Anderton's video
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Money am a Hard Thing to Borrow.

"Didn't see this when it was posted.  I included it in my collection of antebellum topical music and have an 1854 date for it, found in the Lester Levy collection."
Jun 21
Al Smitley replied to Chris Prieto's discussion Violin tuning
"They help.  Not particularly "authentic" probably but I confess to having them.  Strum, I have never had any problem tuning my Hartel Sweeney (with friction pegs).  Somehow fiddles seem different."
Jun 20
Al Smitley replied to Chris Prieto's discussion Violin tuning
"Yes, David Caron.  I agree.  That's why I'm not much interested in cross-tuning, etc.  Also, I hate to put on a new string.  When I tune it up with the small friction pegs, all the other ones give way.  But to be…"
Jun 20
Al Smitley replied to Chris Prieto's discussion Violin tuning
"Oh,....just read your last reply, Chris.  Yes, I agree.  I still sometimes feel as though I'm trying to be a contortionist.  It's not relaxing.  About ten years ago, (after seeing Tim Twiss play), I started playing…"
Jun 20
Al Smitley replied to Chris Prieto's discussion Violin tuning
"I've played, off and on, for years and it still often sounds like a dying cat!  There are soooo many ways of making a violin/fiddle sound bad and those ways often happen.  I would suggest going online or getting a few lessons to get…"
Jun 20
Al Smitley commented on Timothy Twiss's video
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The Royal Schottische

"More on the book, please.  Pub year?  Can you send the music?"
Jun 19

Profile Information

How did you find out about Ning Minstrel Banjo?
Member/contributor, Tim Twiss
How long have you played banjo?
1968-1976 then minstrel banjo since 2007. Stopped when Tim Twiss wanted me to play fiddle and play banjo, now, only to figure out best keys for various songs/tunes.
What kind of banjo(s) do you own?
Vega long-neck and Hartel Sweeney model

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Comment Wall (18 comments)

At 7:09pm on July 11, 2011, Tim Twiss said…
Hi Al. Do you prefer Friday or Saturday...Aug 5 or 6?
At 10:55am on November 26, 2011, John Masciale said…

Al,  That's the kind of thing you can either add as a link in a thread (there's a way to upload files to a given thread, click on the paperclip icon), or something as generally useful as that we can put under resources.  Elaine has been going through period songsters and has a list of over 1800 songs at this point from the time period.  The list is growing.  I would put your spreadsheet under documetation.

 

I find that the most useful thing about the Weidlich book is his index of Minstrel Songs and which instructor they are in.  It would be great to have some resources like that here on the site.

At 12:27pm on November 26, 2011, Tim Twiss said…

And there it is...thanks John. I lost sight of the fact you could add files of different types in the Documentation spot. Perfect.

At 11:21am on November 28, 2011, John Masciale said…

Al,  Thanks for sending the tutorial index.  I now have it posted on our documentation page.

At 12:06pm on November 28, 2011, Tim Twiss said…

John...what format is that? New Excel? I could open Al's old one, but not this. Perhaps open office?

At 1:44pm on November 28, 2011, Tim Twiss said…

Never mind...answered my own question...open office for those who are behind.

What a great contribution Al...

At 8:09am on February 3, 2012, Ian Bell said…

Al,

I'm not a re-enactor (though I do have a suit of funny clothes in the closet) so I usually don't always have to limit myself to completely period-appropriate performances. When I am doing a historic perfromance I use the "period" instruments that I happen to play — wooden flute, Scottish smallpipes, fiddle and sing unaccompanied. I've never earned the trick of self-accompaniment with fiddle. It's all I can do to play in tune when I'm not singing. 

I mostly do 1812 songs from the Canadian point of view. My repertoire  comes from old manuscripts and early published sources and also includes songs of the time that survived to be collected as part of the folk tradition in Ontario. I've been accumulating this stuff since the early 80s. Canada was much less urban than the eastern US at that time so there weren't nearly as many printed broadsides produced up here. Your Library of Congress website has lots of American 1812 songs online. (I'm envious)

In a concert setting, I'll usually perform this stuff in a more "folksingerly" context, as music from the past that has survived into the present. I use non-period instruments like steel-string guitar, mandolin and concertina and arrange songs to suit my own tastes — which to most people's ears are probably pretty arcane.

At 8:10am on February 3, 2012, Ian Bell said…

Clarifying a bit of bad writing in previous comment - I meant Canada was less urban in 1812 - not the 1980s!

At 7:33pm on May 22, 2012, Jeff said…
I live in Midland
At 8:54pm on March 22, 2013, Tim Twiss said…

Hey Al...the first Thursday of every other month is approaching. Want to join me again? Love to add some of those crazy early ones we have discussed.

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