Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Al Smitley
  • Male
  • Hartland, MI
  • United States
  • 1968-1976 then minstrel banjo since…
Share on Facebook Share

Al Smitley's Friends

  • Karen and Timmy Person
  • Anthony J Adamski
  • Dennis Fisher
  • Tom Berghan
  • Daniel Lawton
  • Timothy Twiss
  • Michael Ananian
  • Donovan Murphy
  • Chris Prieto
  • Richard Katz
  • Leonidas (Lee) Jones
  • patrick fetta
  • Marek Bennett
  • Wes Merchant
  • Connie Vinci

Al Smitley's Discussions

Tunes For The Times of Antebellum America

Started this discussion. Last reply by Trapdoor2 on Thursday. 7 Replies

I've created another self-published book of 89 tunes (no songs in this one) with titles reflecting persons, topics, or events in American history, 1820-1861.  The tunes are not meant specifically for…Continue

Head case

Started this discussion. Last reply by Al Smitley Feb 13. 4 Replies

Any suggestion as to how to repair this?Continue

Paintings/illustrations of pre-Sweeny banjos

Started Feb 6 0 Replies

Seems like I've seen paintings or illustrations of pre-Sweeny banjos, especially similar to the 4-stringer Mark Weems often plays.  Doing a Google search, however, I can't seem to find any.  Perhaps…Continue

Help with site

Started this discussion. Last reply by Timothy Twiss Feb 3. 7 Replies

Ooops!  I didn't intend all the members to be sidelined by my discussion with Mark Weems about pre-Sweeney banjos.  I thought I was sending a person-to-person inquiry.  Can someone remind me how to…Continue

 

Al Smitley's Page

Latest Activity

Al Smitley commented on John Masciale's event An Early Banjo Gathering
"For the record...... I'm mentioned as being one of the organizers.  I suspect that John and Elaine put this together.  I can't speak for Tim and Andy, as I think they shared important insights, but I did nothing other than add a…"
yesterday
Al Smitley is attending John Masciale's event

An Early Banjo Gathering at Renfrew Museum and Park

June 26, 2020 at 7pm to June 28, 2020 at 1pm
We are hosting an Early American Banjo gathering. The committee for this event are John and Elaine Masciale, Tim Twiss, Al Smitley, and Andy Chase. At the end of the last gathering there was a lot of interest in continuing with the gathering, but we needed a new venue.  After a lot of searching we are pleased to announce that Renfrew Museum is willing to host us.Our goals are:!. To educate about and create an appreciation for the early American banjo, its musical repertoire, and its role in…See More
yesterday
Trapdoor2 replied to Al Smitley's discussion Tunes For The Times of Antebellum America
"I would enjoy a copy, Al. madsmith73@gmail.com Thanks! ===Marc"
Thursday
Al Smitley commented on Paul Draper's video
Wednesday
John Masciale replied to Al Smitley's discussion Tunes For The Times of Antebellum America
"Al, send me a copy at masciale1@comcast.net.  Thanks!"
Tuesday
Al Smitley replied to Al Smitley's discussion Tunes For The Times of Antebellum America
"I suspect that one tune in particular (perhaps others) already existed and the publisher took it, slapped a title of a current event on it (Santa Anna's Retreat from Cerro Gordo) and figured he'd make a quick buck.  If you recognize…"
Tuesday
Michael Cypret replied to Al Smitley's discussion Tunes For The Times of Antebellum America
"I’ve only reviewed it quickly. What I like is the correlation between the tunes and historical events. People writing tunes about these. The paintings and photographs are great. I wonder if the Documentary Maker Ken Burns would consider making…"
Monday
Al Smitley replied to Al Smitley's discussion Tunes For The Times of Antebellum America
"I'd be interested if you find anything you particularly like."
Monday
Michael Cypret replied to Al Smitley's discussion Tunes For The Times of Antebellum America
"I just finished perusing your book. Awesome! An awful lot of work went into this book. Thanks!"
Monday
Michael Cypret replied to Al Smitley's discussion Tunes For The Times of Antebellum America
"I would like a copy!  mccypr@gmail.com. Thanks much!"
Monday
Al Smitley posted a discussion

Tunes For The Times of Antebellum America

I've created another self-published book of 89 tunes (no songs in this one) with titles reflecting persons, topics, or events in American history, 1820-1861.  The tunes are not meant specifically for the banjo and I accept that merging music with history is an inclination not necessarily shared by others.  Regardless, if anyone wants a free PDF copy, send me your email address.…See More
Feb 17
Al Smitley replied to Al Smitley's discussion Head case
"Thanks Patrick!"
Feb 13
Patrick Haas replied to Al Smitley's discussion Head case
"Not sure of the edge or space you are dealing with. I had torn a skin on one banjo, wetted it and used artificial sinew to stitch up the tear. Played it for a long while before I finally replaced the head. Just a thought."
Feb 13
Al Smitley commented on Timothy Twiss's photo
Thumbnail

what is it

"Source!  Source!"
Feb 13
Al Smitley replied to Al Smitley's discussion Head case
"Thank you!"
Feb 10
Champion of North Huron replied to Al Smitley's discussion Head case
"You could super glue a skin patch over it, but it obviously won't look very nice. And because it's a tacked on head, the tension you lost in that area of the head when it tore can't be restored. Really the only way to repair is to…"
Feb 10

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

Al Smitley's Photos

  • Add Photos
  • View All

Al Smitley's Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

Comment Wall (21 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.

You need to be a member of Minstrel Banjo to add comments!

Join Minstrel Banjo

 
 
 

About

John Masciale created this Ning Network.

© 2020   Created by John Masciale.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service