Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Mark Ralston
  • Male
  • United States
  • since 1970's
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Mark Ralston's Discussions

seeking comments on primitive fretless

Started this discussion. Last reply by John Masciale Jan 11. 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

Mark Ralston liked Mark Ralston's discussion seeking comments on primitive fretless
Jan 15
John Masciale replied to Mark Ralston's discussion seeking comments on primitive fretless
"Awesome job!  Very clever solutions to some of the problems that pot had."
Jan 11
Paul Draper replied to Mark Ralston's discussion seeking comments on primitive fretless
"Very impressive sound!  Wow!  Congratulations!"
Jan 11
Al Smitley replied to Mark Ralston's discussion seeking comments on primitive fretless
"Very interesting video and very nice sound!!  At 5:47 am, let me be the first to congratulate you!"
Jan 11
Mark Ralston replied to Mark Ralston's discussion seeking comments on primitive fretless
"Here's an update on the restoration along with some sound clips. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHiF1lXhygI"
Jan 10
Al Smitley replied to Mark Ralston's discussion seeking comments on primitive fretless
"I hope you post something when you get it finished.  It will be interesting to hear how it sounds. .....and thanks for posting something.  First in 6 days!!  I was thinking of posting something....anything just to break the silence!"
Jan 1
Mark Ralston replied to Mark Ralston's discussion seeking comments on primitive fretless
"update: steamed & re-shaped pot, removed splintered wood & replaced w/ steamed/bent oak. When I tack on the hide head it should hide the new wood on the exterior of the pot. update pics here:  LINK"
Jan 1
Mark Ralston posted an album
Jan 1
Mark Ralston posted photos
Jan 1
Mark Ralston replied to Mark Ralston's discussion seeking comments on primitive fretless
"Tom -  tnx for the comments.  Yep, I think this one might have gone into the dumpster if it hadn't sold on eBay.  A fun project for this winter. Linda (my wife) likes antique chairs, mostly because of the presence of and…"
Dec 18, 2017
Tom Berghan replied to Mark Ralston's discussion seeking comments on primitive fretless
"All I can say is "Wow!" Mark!  It has obviously been exposed to a pretty severe environment.  It appears to have left in an open air barn for instance with a ton of dirt accumulating on it for many decades . . . and rotting…"
Dec 17, 2017
Mark Ralston posted a discussion

seeking comments on primitive fretless

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 pot is made from scarf-jointed wood, similar to grain measure construction.  A previous owner went overboard in mounting a skin head and used so many tacks that the top of the pot is badly split.  However, the tacks for the head appear to be more modern than the tacks for the scarf joint.  I've…See More
Dec 17, 2017
Mark Ralston posted an album
Dec 16, 2017
Mark Ralston posted photos
Dec 16, 2017
Timothy Twiss commented on Mark Ralston's photo
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differences btw Winner 1864 vs 1869

"There are too many Winner's Books out there."
Jul 18, 2017
Mark Ralston commented on Mark Ralston's photo
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differences btw Winner 1864 vs 1869

"Roger that ..... tnx for the clarification."
Jul 18, 2017

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?
http://www.yellowstone-jewelry.com/Banjos/Collection/instrument%20G...

contact:

mark.r.ralston@gmail.com

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

Mary…

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