Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Ian Bell
  • Male
  • Paris, Ontario
  • Canada
  • off and on (mostly off) for 40 yrs.
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Ian Bell's Friends

  • Will Chappell
  • Paul Draper
  • James Pentecost
  • Strumelia
  • Al Smitley
  • Mark Weems
  • Dena Lee
  • Christopher Olson
  • Stephen B Kendall
  • Wayne Shrubsall
  • Steve Jeter
  • Ronald Ray Walker
  • Vince Abadie
  • Bell Banjos
  • Chuck Krepley

Ian Bell's Discussions

SEEKING ADVICE

Started this discussion. Last reply by Ian Bell Jan 21. 3 Replies

Hello all,I'm trying to figure out if I can can attend the Sweeney Weekend, and am wondering if there might be any possible gigging opportunities in that area around that time. I'm booked to play at…Continue

SEEKING TAMBOURINE ADVICE

Started this discussion. Last reply by Strumelia Apr 2, 2014. 4 Replies

Ahoy Comrades,Has anyone in the gang ever built a tambourine? My nephew is a hot percussionist with a taste for the bizarre, and he's going off to study music at the University of Toronto next year.…Continue

Lon Morris's Jig - Scordatura?

Started May 19, 2012 0 Replies

Anybody ever taken a run at Lon Morris's Jig in the 1868 Buckley Book?  (p.15)I think he's telling me to retune the banjo to raised bass and with the fifth string tuned flat but then finger the notes…Continue

Converse "G" tuning

Started this discussion. Last reply by Tim Twiss Feb 8, 2012. 4 Replies

Still having fun with my copy of "The Green Book", but I have a question for the Converse aficionados out there — and I know you're out there... In the fingering chart for the key of G, Frank seems…Continue

 

Ian Bell's Page

Latest Activity

Ian Bell commented on Mark Weems's video
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Two Gourds Are Better Than One: Blues Improvisation on two 4-string gourd banjos

"There's some music that's just looking for a movie soundtrack to be part of!"
Mar 8
Ian Bell commented on Mark Weems's video
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Alabama Joe w/thumb lick

"OK - I've clearly seen it before - a few times - it's awful gettin' old! Thanks Mark."
Mar 7
Ian Bell commented on Mark Weems's video
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Alabama Joe w/thumb lick

"Nicely done - I want to see the rest of that banjo! Is there a photo anywhere on the site?"
Mar 6
Ian Bell commented on Mark Weems's video
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Speed the Plough

"That sounds just great! Speed the Plow is the archetype for a few other tunes - Roxburgh Castle, Whiskey Before Breakfast and others..."
Mar 5
Ian Bell commented on Paul Draper's video
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Clog Hornpipe

"Nice playing, Paul. This tune turns up as the "Tonawanda Hornpipe" in one of the other books (I forget which). I've always felt there was something Mozart-ian about it."
Mar 5
Christopher Stetson replied to Ian Bell's discussion Camptown Hornpipe & Other Dances
"I had thought that contradance was specifically a Northeast tradition, different (and more fun) than what we now, and I believe then, call English Country Dances a la John Playford, etc, but that's just a guess.  Perhaps they used the…"
Feb 12
Wes Merchant replied to Ian Bell's discussion Camptown Hornpipe & Other Dances
"I used to call a bit, they do look fairly simple."
Feb 12
Strumelia replied to Ian Bell's discussion Camptown Hornpipe & Other Dances
"Hmmm.....might be a FUN workshop- to actually recreate those three dances that went with those three tunes...?"
Feb 12
Al Smitley replied to Ian Bell's discussion Camptown Hornpipe & Other Dances
"I think John and Elaine do some calling."
Feb 12
Strumelia replied to Ian Bell's discussion Camptown Hornpipe & Other Dances
"Ian, thanks for confirming the fact that "contra dance" is not a modern name.  As a contra dancer myself, I liked reading those old dance descriptions.    Would be interesting to have a mini contra dance for those three…"
Feb 12
Ian Bell replied to Ian Bell's discussion SEEKING ADVICE
"Thanks for all that, Wes!"
Jan 21
Wes Merchant replied to Ian Bell's discussion SEEKING ADVICE
Jan 21
Wes Merchant replied to Ian Bell's discussion SEEKING ADVICE
"Here's few couple Ian. http://www.thehillchapelhouseconcerts.com https://shepherdstownmusicanddance.wordpress.com ; http://www.bfms.org/index.php I can give you a contact at the BFMS that does house concerts if it's not on the site."
Jan 21
Ian Bell posted a discussion

SEEKING ADVICE

Hello all,I'm trying to figure out if I can can attend the Sweeney Weekend, and am wondering if there might be any possible gigging opportunities in that area around that time. I'm booked to play at the the Sea Music Festival at Mystic Seaport a week and a half later, and I already have to get myself a P2 work visa for that trip. It would be great to pick up a couple of engagements (of any size) somewhere between Appomattox and Mystic so I could just stay in the States for that time. I'm going…See More
Jan 21
Ian Bell commented on Wes Merchant's video
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Roving Blades Bruce and Emmett's Drummers' and Fifers' Guide

"BTW - it IS a coo tune. (there are doves in the song I mentioned)"
Nov 13, 2014
Ian Bell commented on Wes Merchant's video
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Roving Blades Bruce and Emmett's Drummers' and Fifers' Guide

"What a gorgeous tune - Bits of it sound like the Napoleonic-era song "Broken Hearted I'll Wander" aka "The Bonnie Light Horseman", (which coincidentally turns up as a "retreat" tune in a British fife manuscript…"
Nov 13, 2014

Profile Information

How did you find out about Ning Minstrel Banjo?
happy accident
How long have you played banjo?
off and on (mostly off) for 40 yrs.
What kind of banjo(s) do you own?
Three home-made tackheads (one a four-string gourd), A circa 1900 C. Bruno Peerless, nylon strung since about 1975- A Gold Tone open-back since last year

Ian Bell's Photos

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Ian Bell's Videos

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Ian Bell's Blog

Have Fun in Antietam!

Posted on June 18, 2014 at 8:35am 2 Comments

Wish I could come, but pesky work has gotten in the way again. Plunk one out for me!

Has anyone read this book?

Posted on February 7, 2013 at 1:14pm 6 Comments

On Amazon I stubled across this title; The Banjo Entertainers: Roots to Ragtime, a Banjo History.

It's by someone named Lowell H. Schreyer. It's only a few years old…

Continue

IDLE THOUGHTS - TUNE TITLES

Posted on January 23, 2013 at 8:04am 6 Comments

I was going through some music looking for something new to play, and landed on General Burnside's Jig.

It only took a couple of bars to realize that I already knew it. It was a version of the tune that's also called The Octaroon Jig, and Emancipation Jig in a couple of other books - only a few notes different. (not any of the important ones)

Boston Jig aka Modoc Reel is another tune with multiple titles (there's at least one more for that too) It would be interesting to do a survey… Continue

Comment Wall (14 comments)

At 12:06pm on February 20, 2010, Carl Anderton said…
That sounds very interesting, Ian, I'd love to take a look at it.
At 9:48pm on March 06, 2010, Tim Twiss gave Ian Bell a gift
At 1:44am on April 7, 2010, Rob MacKillop said…
Many thanks, Ian. Glad you enjoyed your vacation ;-)
At 11:58am on June 23, 2010, Trevor stevens said…
Thank you for your welcome, I love riding although I was sixty before my first lesson.
I have ridden in some of our ACW battles here in the UK.
Are there any free tabs out there for minstrel banjo?
I love this site, well done to ya'll
trevor
At 11:58am on August 26, 2010, Rob MacKillop said…
Thanks, Ian. A very interesting and moving article. I had never heard of Scott. Seems to have been a good un.
At 8:17am on October 18, 2010, Bill Graham said…
Thanks for the greetings. Would have responded but have had computer problems. Darned machines!
At 8:24am on April 10, 2011, Dena Lee said…
Thanks for the welcome, Ian. You are right. I am not beareded. Heehee. Are there good banjo gatherings in your area, I am in Ontario often. None here that arent ALL bluegrass
At 8:43am on April 24, 2011, Dena Lee said…
I thought your town sounded familiar to me. I've been near there on my way to Barrie from London. In a few weeks I will be in Toronto and then Parry Sound. I'll wave as I pass by. :-)
In Toronto, I will be building a fretless tackhead tenor at Jeff Menzies' workshop. Dena
At 7:59pm on July 25, 2011, Strumelia said…
Ian, thank you very much for your welcome greeting.
At 9:13am on August 11, 2011, Dena Lee said…
Hi, Ian.  Here is a picture of Jeff's latest.  I went with him to pick up the gourd at Northern Dipper.  It was my first time there.  What a neat place.  Hope to see you around.
Would you be interested in getting together to compare builder's notes in the future?  I am new at building and always happy to meet with others.

Dena

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