Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Mark Ralston
  • Male
  • United States
  • since 1970's
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  • Rob Morrison
  • carolyn arrington
  • Greg Adams

Mark Ralston's Discussions

seeking comments on primitive fretless

Started this discussion. Last reply by John Masciale Jan 11, 2018. 8 Replies

I'd appreciate some comments on an old banjo that I bought on eBay.  It's a small, primitive, hand-made fretless and I'm trying to estimate its age.  Two possible clues that I'm researching:a.) the…Continue

Tags: fretless, primitive

Ladies Banjos

Started this discussion. Last reply by Brian Kimerer May 25, 2016. 1 Reply

I'm researching Ladies Banjos for a display.  So far, I've determined that a "Ladies Banjo" has short scale or neck length, generally has a pot smaller than 11" in diameter, and the whole idea of a…Continue

Tags: Banjo, Ladies

reproduction tailpieces and banjo hardware

Started this discussion. Last reply by Wes Merchant Feb 26, 2016. 1 Reply

In 2015 a jeweler friend referred me to a fabricator who makes small-scale art and jewelry items.  I had the fabricator make up some tailpieces out of stainless steel, bronze, hard nylon, and some…Continue

Tags: hardware, and, parts, banjo, reproduction

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Latest Activity

Rob Mohr commented on Mark Ralston's album

Pre ACW instrument ?

"Oof! That looks like A PROJECT and a half. I really dig the the headstock & heel!!! Don't know if it's pre-war (in the minstrel sense), but it's pretty cool!!"
Apr 15, 2022
Mark Ralston posted photos
Apr 15, 2022
Mark Ralston and carolyn arrington are now friends
Mar 24, 2021
Luke Lorge liked Mark Ralston's discussion reproduction tailpieces and banjo hardware
Jan 1, 2021

Profile Information

How did you find out about Ning Minstrel Banjo?
google search
How long have you played banjo?
since 1970's
What kind of banjo(s) do you own?



Located in Centre Hall, PA (Near State College, PA)

Mostly-retired from geology, active with instrument buy/sell/restore.

AKA Yellowstone Jewelry at www.yellowstone-jewelry.com

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Mark Ralston's Blog

Winner's New Primer for the Banjo - 1869

Posted on July 18, 2017 at 8:42am 3 Comments

FYI, I found an 1869 copy of Winner's New Primer for the Banjo, which has a different list of tunes than the list that Tim Twiss posted for the 1864 edition.  I posted it as images here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Yellowstone-Jewelry-642715152503917/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1286650278110398

Tunes include:

Cuffee's Go Down

Dan Tucker



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