Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Early American Banjo Enthusiasts in California

Putting a call out to anyone out here in Southern California that is particularly into this style of Banjo Playing.

I live in Santa Barbara, and have not seen anyone so far on the website that is out here. I read on with envy at all of you that get to get to get together. A lot of cool stuff going on out there.

standing by...

Views: 206

Comment by Trapdoor2 on May 16, 2012 at 11:03am

You might contact Bob Flesher, he's about 3hrs south of you in Moreno Valley. He probably knows all the early banjo people in the area.  http://www.flesherbanjo.com/

Comment by Bell Banjos on May 16, 2012 at 11:13am

In the Resources, we need a "Find players in your area." A lot of guys who order from me say they wish they knew some players in their area.

Comment by Nicholas A Bechtel on May 16, 2012 at 11:28am

Thanks Trapdoor!! I have spoken with Bob before. He used to do a big Banjo Fiddle thing out here in Goleta every October. I went last year but was very new to the Banjo part. This year I feel a little more confident and will bring my stuff. He said he used to set up there but it had been a few years since he was there. So I have that on the horizon.

Terry,...that is a great idea. That would be cool, Maybe name, location and email address. only you builders have a good idea who is where that does the ordering. Maybe ask your customers if they are willing to be on a list? I don't know...what do you think!

Comment by Bell Banjos on May 16, 2012 at 11:41am

Right up on top of this site, we need a "Find Players In Your Area."

Comment by Doug Goodner on May 21, 2012 at 6:24pm
We will need to get in touch. I live in Goleta.
Comment by David Swarens on May 28, 2012 at 5:53pm


Few and far between we are, and I'm a way from Santa Barbara, but am in southern California, in San Diego.

I spend more time with music of early (Mexican) California, but am very interested in the early banjo.

Columbia diggin's is this coming week, but in 1852, and the theatre troupe there has a lot of fun mining the miners for their dust.

There are a couple of 1850's songsters with "gold rush" lyrics to a number of minstrel songs; with many of these you won't have to fear to choose between authenticity and public presentation!

"California Stage Company," to the tune of Dandy Jim..." is one of my favorites.

The gentleman who put these out was a miner from Columbia, the Queen of the Southern Mines.

I used to get the the Fiddler's convention in Goleta each year, for a very long time, but have had conflicts for a few years; I propably introduced Minstrel banjo there, and helped encourage fretless playing in general at the contest. Miss the event!

I have friends at Fort Tejon, which you mention, but have never managed to get myself to an event there.

Our website is loscalifornios.com, for info on Californio efforts, and contacts too.(I don't get to this site much either)

If you do get this far south, give us a call.



Comment by Nicholas A Bechtel on June 6, 2012 at 5:55pm

Hey David I spaced on my reply to you. I do come down to San Diego from time to time. I work for the Department of Fish and Game. Used to live in San Diego, from 1997-2006. I will try and contact you next time I am coming down that way and would have time to get together. Thanks for your information on your activities.

Comment by razyn on October 14, 2015 at 8:15am

This is a fairly old discussion, but maybe it can function as the gathering place for anybody who might be interested in this item.  One of our sons lives in the Bay area, and works "in The City" (SF itself).  He has just sent me a photo of a nice historical marker across the street from his job.  I'll attempt to post it; anyway it has nice banjo art (vintage 1932) that looks as if it could have illustrated an old songster; also a trio of flute or fife players down in the corner.  It's for the California Theatre.  The Wikipedia article about that doesn't mention minstrel shows, but the marker does.  And a couple of members of the resident company are named Buckley, so who knows?  Not I.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Theatre_%28San_Francisco%29 

Comment by Wes Merchant on October 14, 2015 at 1:20pm

That's very interesting, particularly that last mention of Lotta Crabtree, of whom Dan'l recently posted.

Comment by Strumelia on October 14, 2015 at 5:12pm

The art imagery is kind of '1920-30s Diego Rivera-esque mural' style.  Banjo/highcollar guy looks African American, holding a tenor banjo?, she looks vaguely Mexican style/dress and holding a lotus-like flower.  The three flute players look indigenous or Mexican as well.  All the fellows are wearing pants with stirrup-straps.  Interesting.


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