Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I put up 2 images. Monsters from different eras.

Views: 15

Comment by Sylvia on May 26, 2011 at 12:58am
Sorry wouldn't buy either.   Look far too complicated for me.
Comment by Tim Twiss on May 26, 2011 at 6:27am
Crazy instruments and that puckered look of concentration. 2 thumb strings....not sure what he used them for, but I'm sure he did something. Think about how hard it would be to not grab the outside string if you were attempting to use the second thumb string. I think G. Swaine Buckley contributed some of the best banjo compositions found in the Buckley tutors. 
Comment by Sylvia on May 26, 2011 at 11:36am
After playing Guitar I found one thumb string bad enough to get used to but TWO   : (
Comment by Rob Morrison on May 27, 2011 at 3:58pm

Tim--

There are photos of a seven string 1850's banjo with two drone strings on a website called "musurgia.com."

You click on "instruments," then on "miscellaneous banjos."  I believe it's on page 2 of the miscellanous banjos.  Anyway, it's perhaps the most incredibly ornate banjo I've ever seen, but, like you, I have no idea of how one would actually play the thing.--Rob Morrison

Comment by Ian Bell on May 28, 2011 at 4:19pm
Wow - thanks for that link Rob. That's a pretty outrageous looking instrument. I wonder if the extra thumb string was tuned somewhere a note or two above  the regular one to give the player another high open string to "fill in the gap when playing way up the neck?
Comment by Rob Morrison on May 29, 2011 at 2:49pm

Ian--

You may be correct about that.  The basic way to tune a 6-string is to tune the 5th (bass) string one octave lower than the third string.  I suppose you would then tune the second drone string either a fifth or an octave above the usual drone string.  The question, I suppose, would then be to decide whether the second drone should be the sixth or the seventh string.  Either way, it would sure take a lot of practice. --Rob Morrison 

Comment by Tim Twiss on May 29, 2011 at 7:27pm
Beautiful instrument...just the fingerboard would make me a little woozy.

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