Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Tom Taggart
  • Male
  • Gainesville, VA
  • United States
  • 3 Years
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Tom Taggart's Friends

  • Jim Robertson
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  • Sonny Bryan
  • Amy Conley
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  • Chris Prieto
  • Tom Littleton
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  • Richard Katz
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  • Scott Danneker

Tom Taggart's Discussions

Harmonica Used by Minstrel Performers?

Started this discussion. Last reply by Scott Danneker on Sunday. 56 Replies

This is a follow up on Curtis' comment in the chat room. We are both interested in learning if harmonicas were used by minstrel performers. I took some to the Sweeny event last year and played them…Continue

Beginner Tune of the Month (July 2016)

Started Jul 13, 2016 0 Replies

I thought I would suggest "Oh! Susanna" as the beginner tune of the month for July.  In my humble but accurate opinion every banjo player needs to be able to play this tune.  There is a fairly easy…Continue

April 2016 Tune of the Month

Started this discussion. Last reply by Timothy Twiss Apr 14, 2016. 14 Replies

It is almost the middle of the month, but we could still get in a TOTM for April.  I would suggest Juba.  It is an easy tune and a great way for new folks to practice basic strikes in the stroke…Continue

Adjusting Tension on a Banjo Head

Started this discussion. Last reply by Dan O;Connor May 16, 2015. 11 Replies

Being relatively new to minstrel banjo, I was wondering how to go about adjusting the tension on a banjo head.  Mine seems to be rather flexible and lately I have noticed a buzzing when playing.  I…Continue

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Latest Activity

Scott Danneker replied to Tom Taggart's discussion Harmonica Used by Minstrel Performers?
"I have an old C/G Anglo.  Can this be used to accompany tune in dGDF#A (low bass) = G?  I have noy played it for awhile."
Sunday
Tom Taggart commented on Sonny Bryan's video
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Briggs 1855

"Nice Sonny! Hope your bench stays planted now."
Saturday
Tom Taggart liked Chris Prieto's photo
Thursday
Bob Sayers replied to Tom Taggart's discussion Harmonica Used by Minstrel Performers?
"On the subject of reed instruments played during the Civil War, there's a wonderful broadside on eBay depicting members of the 5th Virginia Volunteers singing hymns to the accompaniment of a harmonium.  Pricey, but quite nice.…"
Jul 18
Joel Hooks replied to Tom Taggart's discussion Harmonica Used by Minstrel Performers?
"Yes, there are many "dug" examples of harmonica reed plates.  The problem is that they are virtually identical to the 1870s+ reed plates and the covers are almost never found.  When covers are found they are consistent with known…"
Jul 18
Strumelia replied to Tom Taggart's discussion Harmonica Used by Minstrel Performers?
"Wes, that's very cool!"
Jul 17
Tom Taggart liked Dave Culgan's video
Jul 16
Wes Merchant replied to Tom Taggart's discussion Harmonica Used by Minstrel Performers?
"These links are to pictures of harmonica reeds found in civil War archeology sites, thought you might find that…"
Jul 16
Dave Culgan replied to Tom Taggart's discussion Harmonica Used by Minstrel Performers?
"Jenny Lind Polka - Flutina Here's a video of what one of these circa 1850's flutina accordeons looked and sounded like (actually Flutina is a misnomer, that term referred to an enclosed version of these early brass reed accordeons. Dave"
Jul 16
James Pentecost replied to Tom Taggart's discussion Harmonica Used by Minstrel Performers?
"Hello Lisa, The general consensus is that the triangle was not considered a legitimate instrument until about 1863 when it was discovered by players of "minstrel music" in New York City. It was said at the time that Stephen Foster wrote…"
Jul 16
Strumelia replied to Tom Taggart's discussion Harmonica Used by Minstrel Performers?
"Triangle!   Now officially acceptable for minstrel show genre!     =8-D"
Jul 16
Mark Weems replied to Tom Taggart's discussion Harmonica Used by Minstrel Performers?
"Perhaps they are all hanging out at a music party somewhere with all the extant gourd banjo's that have been found in the U.S.?"
Jul 16
Mark Weems replied to Tom Taggart's discussion Harmonica Used by Minstrel Performers?
Jul 16
Tom Taggart liked Paul Draper's photo
Jul 16
Tom Taggart commented on Paul Draper's photo
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Lenox MA 250th

"Nice folks!"
Jul 16
Joel Hooks replied to Tom Taggart's discussion Harmonica Used by Minstrel Performers?
"This is a great lead!  Chris Bathman made a name for himself claiming that he played with Jenny Lind's show in Europe.  He was discovered by P.T. Barnum. A quick google search found some good information... Here is a nice article in…"
Jul 16

Profile Information

How did you find out about Ning Minstrel Banjo?
Tim Twiss web site
How long have you played banjo?
3 Years
What kind of banjo(s) do you own?
Home made (but not by me) minstrel banjo. I bought it second hand from a friend in Civil War reenacting community.

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Comment Wall (7 comments)

At 10:38am on December 16, 2015, Mark Bransford said…

Dear Tom:

Thank you for your encouragement. I placed an order with Bell Minstrel Banjo for a Bouscher model banjo. I am suppose to receive it by the end of January next year. I can't wait to start learning how to play it.

Mark B.

At 4:54pm on May 17, 2016, Sonny Bryan said…

Thanks Tom, enjoyed it too.

At 7:32am on July 20, 2016, Jim Tribble said…

Thanks Tom.  It is a great site, the only drawback so far is the "unexpected error" I get for timing out.  

At 1:04am on March 4, 2017, John W Carlson said…
Thanks Tom, looking forward to it.
At 9:50pm on April 11, 2017, Jim Robertson said…

Thanks for the kind welcome, Tom.  I'm looking forward to spending some time hanging about here.  Since I live about 40 minutes from Appomattox there's a good chance I'll meet some of you in person some time.

At 11:07am on May 13, 2017, rachel woodruff said…
thank you very much Tom. i do hope to learn some things..
At 11:53am on May 15, 2017, David Colpitts said…
Thank you, Tom. I am on the brink of picking up a kit from the nice folk at BackYardMusic, and am still torn between the short and standard lengths, and fretted or fretless. I have a good ear, but wonder if my first should have "automatic" notes via frets, and then I'll know where to put the fingers on the fretless, after I am familiar with the frets. Any thoughts? Aside from early ease, do I sacrifice anything else by fretlessness? I know I gain microtonal capacity and sliding, which do appeal to me a lot.....
Thanks again, and regards,
David

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