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

Email Notices

Started this discussion. Last reply by Chris Prieto Oct 27. 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

Finale tags

Started this discussion. Last reply by Al Smitley Aug 18. 1 Reply

I think I've asked once previously about the somewhat comical end tag, "Shave and a haircut, two bits".  I don't recall getting an answer.  I presume it originated with an itinerant street vendor. …Continue

Baltimore Whig Convention Quick Step

Started this discussion. Last reply by Al Smitley Jul 26. 2 Replies

I got this tune (1840), from the Levy website.  A decent tune but I'm confused.The 1839/40 Whig Convention was in Harrisburg, PA.  The Democratic Convention was in Baltimore.  Just a mistake by the…Continue

EABG

Started this discussion. Last reply by Wes Merchant Mar 14. 3 Replies

Some time ago, I think it was Wes who said that there might be interest at the Pry House/Barn about rejuvenating the EABG.  Are there any updates about that?Continue

 

Al Smitley's Page

Latest Activity

Al Smitley commented on Timothy Twiss's video
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Daisey Polka

"Now you're in 'D'?  How did that happen?"
Nov 8
Al Smitley replied to Timothy Twiss's discussion The Old Music
"This is the genre I sometimes refer to as "social orchestra".  I'd really like to play this stuff but it often requires more refinement on the fiddle/violin than my capabilities will take me.  I'm working on it but......"
Nov 4
Al Smitley commented on flatfoot johnny's video
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Carry Me Back to Old Virginny

"Well done and nice job on the banjo.  Are you finding anyone to play with in the UK?"
Nov 3
Al Smitley commented on Timothy Twiss's video
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Lily Polka

"Just to make sure I'm hearing correctly......  For the first note In the 7th measure of the 'B' part, you play an F natural rather than an F#?  That's how it seems it should be but that's not what Converse, 1865…"
Nov 1
Chris Prieto replied to Al Smitley's discussion Email Notices
"there's a link in the email itself as well"
Oct 27
Rob Mohr replied to Al Smitley's discussion Email Notices
"No problem, Al..."
Oct 26
Al Smitley replied to Al Smitley's discussion Email Notices
"Thanks, Rob."
Oct 26
Rob Mohr replied to Al Smitley's discussion Email Notices
"Go to settings (upper right corner), then email (upper left). Then you should see radio buttons for the notice options."
Oct 26
Al Smitley posted a discussion

Email Notices

Can anyone tell me how to stop gmail notifications that tell me that someone replied to a posting I may have once responded to?See More
Oct 26
Al Smitley commented on Mark Weems's video
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Peasant's Dance from Queen Mab

"English guitar is fun, isn't it?  I got one in 2012, thinking I might use it for War of 1812 programming.  Never did but played it a bit and enjoyed it.  I have a nine-string, four courses of double strings and one single. …"
Oct 25
Al Smitley commented on Paul Draper's video
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Jig From French Quadrilles

"That's in Ryan's but can't recall the title.  Wes can probably tell us."
Oct 25
Al Smitley commented on Mark Weems's video
Oct 22
Al Smitley commented on Mark Weems's video
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Regatta Minuet

"I should've explained...... I wanted to make sure as the accompaniment sometimes made me wonder if I was hearing the main melody correctly."
Oct 22
Al Smitley commented on Mark Weems's video
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Regatta Minuet

"Thanks for the music!"
Oct 22
Al Smitley commented on Mark Weems's video
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Regatta Minuet

"I was going to ask if it was a cittern/English guitar.  How do you have it tuned? What's the source for the tune.  I mean can I find it on line.  If not, can you post it."
Oct 21
Al Smitley replied to Rob Mohr's discussion Picking question for Tim
"I don't know if this is what Tim does or not but your description (Strum) sounds like what I do when/if I back up someone on guitar.  I hold my thumb against my index finger as if I were holding a pick but instead, use my finger nail, down…"
Oct 17

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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