Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

All Blog Posts (281)

F.B. Converse

"There are but two really fundamental principals or movements governing the action of the right hand in this (banjo) style."

The Hammer

The Combination


Trust this man. He published this statement in 1886.

Added by Tim Twiss on March 31, 2013 at 8:30pm — 6 Comments

found Camptown Hornpipe Tab

Happy to announce that I have located Camptown Hornpipe Tab

all ya gotta do is google "Camptown Hornpipe Tablature"

and it comes up on a site belonging to a Mr. Andy Chase


I'm going to try making my own tab using the Rosetta Staff from the Early Banjo Book

and use this one I found to check my work.


I'm really glad to be learning these tunes.

Added by Ron on March 31, 2013 at 3:05pm — 1 Comment

If They Could See Us Now

I just discovered a tool others already know about, but it is new to me and WOW

what a powerful combination!  I am speaking about the audio management

programs that are available which allow you to slow down an audio file and keep

its tonality intact. I am really making headway now.


I play the CD which comes with the "Early Banjo" book by Tim. and I can slow the

playing down to where I can learn to keep up with him, then I speed it up bit by…


Added by Ron on March 30, 2013 at 9:55am — 4 Comments

Expanding the Repertoire


One of my hobbies...passions...( okay, obsessions ) is finding new banjo material. I try to do it from the perspective of the original Early banjo players, using sources available to them and integrating it according to the examples left behind in the tutors.

I have a fresh source and I would like to share how i seek out material and then arrange it.

I am using Kerr's Merry melodies for the the violin. It is well known that much of the original Minstrel banjo is…


Added by Tim Twiss on March 30, 2013 at 6:15am — 5 Comments

Search engine

Is it just me, or is this search function totally worthless? We have so much good stuff on this site, but it seems difficult to retreive it.

Added by Tim Twiss on March 28, 2013 at 11:15pm — 2 Comments

Old Time Banjo

The events I enjoy playing at are Civil War Re-enactments, Living History events, or any other festival where old time music is welcomed.  On the minstrel banjo, my favorite tunes are Oh Susanna, Turkey in the Straw, Buffalo Gals, and Old Dan Tucker.  I also have a mountain banjo that I built, and play old time tunes on it.  I like to have visitors to the events to sit down with me and play the wooden spoons or limberjack, while I play the banjo.

Added by William "Pat" Arinder on March 28, 2013 at 1:15pm — No Comments

Update on learning from Tims New Banjo Method book

In one of his videos Tim emphasized seeing the "strike" in the triplets.

That goes way beond the triplets into most other complex patterns in

the music. I'm learning to see the "Strikes" in other complex patterns of this music.

Ex: Cotton Pod Walkaround looks baffling until you look at the book while listening to the CD

and identifying the strikes within the complex music


This is probably well known to most everyone here but it is very new and…


Added by Ron on March 27, 2013 at 9:51am — 3 Comments

Banjo tunings and pitch

I am glad to have 2 instruments, especially now when i am experimenting with pitch. I seldom leave an instrument in the E Rice tuning, but am starting to leave my Hartel tuned up. I'll post some tunes with it for contrast.....I'll tell you how it feels, and see if there is any percieved difference to a listener. Should take a look at this, since.....well, that is what they said it was. Funny how we all stick with D.

Added by Tim Twiss on March 27, 2013 at 7:54am — No Comments


Car fueled..... check, 

Address pugged into GPS.... check, 

Go to bed early for good nights rest.... check, 

Calendar clear... check, 

Banjo's packed to jam with... check, 

Camera ready for guided tour of Factory.... check, 

Pocket full of cash, to buy souvenirs....  check? 

Yes... Souvenir.......!    I have a 1 hour drive ahead of me... tomorrow.   

Heading to the Bell and Son banjo factory, I have a personal Guided tour of the…


Added by Jeff on March 15, 2013 at 5:45pm — 2 Comments

some Rice stuff

A couple of pages from the online Rice PDF book that i have re-done




Added by Scott Johnson on February 27, 2013 at 3:48pm — No Comments

Report on band performance at Battle of Aiken, SC, Civil War reenactment.

Lisa "Strumelia" had requested that I report back on how the weekend event at the Battle Of Aiken in South Carolina went. My band, the Camptown Shakers, traveled down on Friday, three of us in one car and we met our fiddler there, he was already in the area on a little vacation. My wife Tracy drove pretty much the whole way, a long 10 hour drive. We hadn’t ever traveled this far south, or anywhere for that matter to do a performance so when this opportunity came up through the event…


Added by Dave Culgan on February 26, 2013 at 8:06am — 1 Comment

Prairie Home Companion- Banjo theme for the show. Bill Evans and others

This was a surprise. I was sunning my banjo outside to tighten up the head, getting ready to play..had Bully for All in my head. went inside to turn on the radio and listen to the show, and St Patrick's Day was playing...WHAT ?, then "Bully for All", then it was reveled to be Bill Evans. There are a few other players. I caught the show in the middle. Here is the link below, you can listen to the whole show or pick the parts. Enjoy!…


Added by Nicholas A Bechtel on February 24, 2013 at 2:30pm — 8 Comments

Green Converse Continued

Okay, I'm back in the tutor recording biz. The best thing to do when something isn't happening is to walk away...let it breathe for a while. I'm back at the Guitar Style section...and it seems to be happening. Did 4 of them...up at:


go to music page

Added by Tim Twiss on February 16, 2013 at 10:42pm — 5 Comments

Mono to Nylgut Switch

I have up until recently had Monofilament fishing line strings on my "sono-tube banjo. I just wanted to see if there would be an improvement in sound quality if I used the NylGut strings. I ordered some Nylguts and installed them and after they settled in I was very favorably impressed with the improvement in the sound.


They are Louder (a lot) which is a good thing in this case. And I'd call it Mellower (is that a real word?)

I realize that describing a sound with…


Added by Ron on February 16, 2013 at 1:46pm — 2 Comments

I'm out : an update on the review of the book Early Banjo

I  got out of the hospital and am now back to studying the new book

Early Banjo by Tim. It's going very well , I'm using the first pages as a practice and warm up

before working on the songs "Juba , and Jim Along Josey".


which brings up questions. How does one "Jim Along" , and exactly what

are they wanting Mr. Boker to "Do Mr. Boker Do!" ?


Well that's it for now


Added by Ron on February 12, 2013 at 10:22am — 1 Comment

New Product

Okay, so I have gathered this huge resource of "pure tutor" material. Unalterted, straight ahead versions of our main books...Briggs', Rice, Buckley 1860, Converse Green and Yellow. It is a lot to absorb, even on digital downloads. I am experimenting with "samplers". I put one together with 40 selections chosen from all. I will give away 2 to the first respondents, with the promise of getting feedback. After that, I will sell and send these CD's for $13.00 including shipping.  They are…


Added by Tim Twiss on February 11, 2013 at 10:40am — No Comments

Celebrate History Music Festival in Gettysburg -- June 29th - July 5th, 2013.

Inviting musicians to take part in this once in a lifetime event.  Registrations are being accepted now.


Added by Joel Jay Cribbs on February 10, 2013 at 12:23pm — No Comments

This music...

....is so enjoyable because it can be done on so many different levels. Simple simple stroke tune sound good. ALWAYS...the vocal stuff is great. Our genre includes some fancy advanced pieces, as well as guitar style. It is so very wide open. That is partially why it is so difficult to disseminate sometimes.

Added by Tim Twiss on February 9, 2013 at 2:37pm — No Comments


...for me, it is when a bad day of playing doesn't sound as awful as it used to.

Added by Tim Twiss on February 8, 2013 at 1:04am — No Comments


....for me, it's when a bad day of playin' is not as awful as it used to be.

Added by Tim Twiss on February 8, 2013 at 1:02am — No Comments


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