Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

James Hartel
  • Franklin, NY
  • United States
  • on and off since 1972
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Latest Activity

James Hartel is attending Greg Adams's event

2016 Banjo Gathering - Charlottesville, VA at Charlottesville, Virginia Double Tree Hilton Hotel

November 3, 2016 to November 6, 2016
It’s Time to Register for the 2016 Banjo Gathering and Reserve your Room Now! The 2016 Banjo Gathering will take place in Charlottesville, Virginia, from Thursday, November 3, through Sunday, November 6. It is the only forum focused entirely on the banjo as a historical, cultural, and design object, in contrast to the many banjo camps, festivals, and gatherings focused principally on playing the banjo.Since 1998, the Gathering has been the platform for banjo collectors, researchers, instrument builders, and musicians, sharing new scholarship and findings on the banjo as material culture. The Gathering’s signature activities include formal presentations and a marketplace for attendees to inspect, buy, sell, and trade instruments and ephemera from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.REGISTRATION AND HOTELRegistrationThe registration fee for the Gathering is $250 with a special offer of $125 — a 50% discount — for first-time attendees and students. To insure your place in this…See More
Sep 22, 2016
James Hartel and Tom Berghan are now friends
Mar 6, 2016
James Hartel replied to Roberta Perkins's discussion Craft in America...
Nov 18, 2015
James Hartel and Richard Katz are now friends
May 14, 2015
Roberta Perkins commented on James Hartel's event Unmasking Jim Crow: Blackface Minstrelsy in American Popular Culture
"I am delighted to hear it was a success! I do hope something, of it, will be shared in someway, with those who could not make it. "
Jan 28, 2015
James Hartel commented on James Hartel's event Unmasking Jim Crow: Blackface Minstrelsy in American Popular Culture
"Also sorry to have missed this. Here's hoping presentations like this become less rare."
Jan 28, 2015
Strumelia commented on James Hartel's event Unmasking Jim Crow: Blackface Minstrelsy in American Popular Culture
"Wow, sounds like it was very special."
Jan 28, 2015
Greg Adams commented on James Hartel's event Unmasking Jim Crow: Blackface Minstrelsy in American Popular Culture
"Wish I could have been there! Glad it was such a great success!"
Jan 28, 2015

Profile Information

How did you find out about Ning Minstrel Banjo?
Tom-Briggs forum
How long have you played banjo?
on and off since 1972
What kind of banjo(s) do you own?
Some I made, some Vega and Fairbanks banjos, and a banjo junkyard

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Comment Wall (9 comments)

At 5:02pm on January 24, 2009, Tim Twiss said…
Hi Jim!
At 8:26pm on January 25, 2009, John Masciale said…
Hi Jim, welcome to this site.
At 9:25am on September 20, 2010, jim atleson said…
thanks, Jim. It's beautiful up here. If you are ever in the Portland area, please let me know.

At 5:26pm on July 31, 2011, Arnaud frenchi said…
Hello James
as there is no minstrel banjo maker in France and I'm not stupid with my fingersand I like to made with his hand. I want to make me a banjo "style Boucher." I have a question, because I saw a banjo minstrel is only on photos. (your are making very nice), but here is my issue is there a "inversions" of the coup, as anangle on the other banjo or guitar in jazz?
anglai my crowns (well that of g??gle traductor).
At 5:31pm on July 31, 2011, Arnaud frenchi said…
crown me , when i wrote "the coup I want to say Neck.
At 8:59am on August 1, 2011, James Hartel said…


Sorry, I cannot speak Francais. There is no angle on the original Boucher banjos but when I make it I put a 3 degree angle on the neck like on contemorary string instruments.  Hope this helps you.

At 8:02am on November 24, 2011, Al Smitley said…


It was good to meet the man who made my banjo....and glad that Harper's Ferry offered to you a reunion with one of your creations which you evidently lost track of.



At 12:10pm on February 23, 2012, Ron Carnegie said…

I will see what I can do Jimk.  I might have another one as well.  we took some pictures at one of our concerts last Christmas that I have yet to see!

At 12:04am on February 24, 2012, Ron Carnegie said…


Let me know if this comes out bigger, if not I will email it to you.  Thanks for the banjo bridges by the way.  They are serving wonderfully.  I am having a problem with the nut sliding out of position this time of year.  The strings slide it over.  It doesn't really make any difference in playing, but I wonder if there is a way to stop that.  I suspect its just something to do with humidity or the lack of it.

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