Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

All Blog Posts (282)

Where Did You Come From

I revisited this one from the Rice book of 1858. It is so deceptive...try it and see where the beat falls. It seems to turn back around on you, depending upon where you place the beat. One of the coolest and overlooked songs.

Added by Tim Twiss on January 16, 2014 at 8:19am — No Comments

Royal Bogie banjo march by W Nice

I was intrigued by the cover displayed of the above tune. Does anyone have a copy of the score?..many thanks, Steve, Malvern, England.

Added by STEVE HARRISON on January 5, 2014 at 6:56am — 2 Comments

Got a "Little Yellow" book

The price was finally right...down from those crazy hundreds on ebay. Got the "Little Yellow" book for $75.00. I know we access them free, but I guess the chance to have and hold one of my own was irresistible. This is one I plan to reissue in standard notation anyway to avoid all the dialogue and page turning.

Added by Tim Twiss on November 22, 2013 at 7:25am — No Comments

I wonder...

...you think early banjo players re-enacted? Ditched their way cool tensioned banjos, got a funky old gourds, and sat around in Revolutionary era clothing??

Added by Tim Twiss on November 17, 2013 at 9:24pm — No Comments

The "sound"

Fascinating, just the pure sound of these unique banjos we have. No two are alike.....exactly. So many small variables make the instruments distinct, and couple that with the many touches and styles we have all developed...totally unique fingerprint for each person. This is part of what I enjoy about this.

Added by Tim Twiss on November 14, 2013 at 10:05am — 2 Comments

Compositons in the old style.

I've played traditional tunes for many years. Lately I've been interested in composing in the style of Old Time and Celtic music. Does anyone do that and does it sneak into your reenactment work or at the period dances? I'm completely thrilled with the historical tunes, but have gotten a lot of joy out of composing in the styles that I love as well.

Added by David Spalding Sharp on November 12, 2013 at 5:17pm — 4 Comments

sheet music

Looking for sheet music or tabs for civil war era banjo/fiddle duets.  Any help?

Added by Joel Jay Cribbs on November 2, 2013 at 4:09am — 6 Comments

Possible 1870s HC Dobson?

Just got this old banjo on eBay. It was listed as homemade or folk art, which is why there were no serious bidders.

I think it is an 1870s  H.C. Dobson, before he went to the more conventional design in the 1880s.

Any thoughts, pro or con about that I.D.? Haven't taken it apart yet, so don't know if it says  Dobson inside the pot.

Jim Jacquet

​Olympia, WA…


Added by Jim Jacquet on October 28, 2013 at 7:56pm — 28 Comments

old minstrel banjo

With the generous help of Eric Prust, in Sequim, WA, and a beautiful tailpiece from Joel Hooks, the old minstrel banjo is playable! Wonderful, deep sound! Playing it with nylgut strings tuned down low.
Thanks to everyone for their positive feedback!

Added by Jim Jacquet on October 22, 2013 at 9:42pm — 8 Comments

Man on the Flying Trapeze

No doubt, this song is a keeper. Played it today at it worked well.

Added by Tim Twiss on October 3, 2013 at 7:11pm — 3 Comments

Wake Up In The Morning

Dan Gibson...this is an official "thank you" for the inspiration on "Wake Up In The Morning". I have officially stolen your idea. I love AEBG....!!!

Added by Tim Twiss on September 19, 2013 at 8:36am — No Comments


Anybody else sing "The Man On The Flying Trapeeze"?

I found it in the Dobson Book....going to add it in this weekend. Got that Al...ha ha.

Concert key of "G".


The tune is from 1867.

Added by Tim Twiss on September 18, 2013 at 9:29pm — 12 Comments

One of those weekends..

...I will be sitting on the porch of a historical building playing all day on Saturday. You know...low profile blah blah. It will be a great opportunity to really test the repertoire, and see how long I can play before repeating myself. Using...all the verses to tunes like Johnny Boker, Gwine Ober de Mountain. Limit Jim Crow to about 6. I have no idea what it will be like, but I have my lyrics.

Added by Tim Twiss on September 16, 2013 at 10:36pm — 5 Comments

Ashborn banjo reproduction ordered

I'm anxiously awaiting a late-fall delivery of an Ashborn banjo reproduction banjo I ordered last week from Mike Wesley (jmwesleyguitars@gmail.com) of Roxboro, NC.  I visited his home and shop and was impressed with his work and knowledge.

Added by Kevin W. Holmes on August 29, 2013 at 7:45am — 10 Comments

Banjo repair

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYO4Qi1sYt4The small ebony guide that holds the fifth string on my banjo split so I made one out of an old fiddle peg. I sized it through a hoIe I drilled in a steel plate then drilled out the old peg with the same bit  and filed in a slot with a small knife edged file. i"ve strung it up with nylgut and I'm really pleased with the sound. I'll post sound clips if I came remember how to play the dang…


Added by Wes Merchant on August 24, 2013 at 11:00am — 4 Comments

DAN EMMETT and the Rise of Early Negro Minstrelsy

 I came across this digital book today and thought some others here might be interested. You can navigate to the various pages and songs by clicking the arrows by the bar  in the center of the page, a lot of Dan Emmett songs and tunes are shown as well as some songs of the late 18th /early 19th century. 


Added by Wes Merchant on August 9, 2013 at 4:00pm — 8 Comments

Progress report youtube vid

 when I took time off to learn flamenco , a couple of folks said to post something when I learned  something.  well here it is warts and all. a fun style guitar.     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiBJ4TrrGAY


Im sorry I forgot how to embed a vid



Added by Steve Jeter on July 24, 2013 at 9:30am — 2 Comments

Bob Welch Civil War Music CD's Now Available From CD Baby

I perform around 75-100 Songs of the Civil War programs each year for schools, libraries, historical societies, senior communities, Civil War reenactments and special events. The program of music, history and storytelling is designed to entertain and inform audiences of all ages. I've also recorded six CD's of Civil War era music. I hope you will check out song samples at CD Baby. http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/BobWelch2



Added by Songs of the Civil War-Bob Welch on July 18, 2013 at 7:45am — 1 Comment

Working on Tobacco Jake Jig (Buckley, 1860)

I'm gaining a real appreciation for Buckley's arrangements.  They don't always flow as smoothly as Converse's, but they're clever in their own ways.

Added by Andy Chase on July 13, 2013 at 8:42pm — 6 Comments


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