Good to hear from you Joel. I use a hybrid style when I perform. I've never been properly taught minstrel, clawhammer, frailing, or anything else you might call it. For most of my outdoor performances, before crowds in activity tents, etc, I use a steel string made by Deering. It has an open back, planetary style tuners, but couldn't be called a minstrel banjo at all. Frankly, the majority of the public who attend Civil War reenactment events wouldn't know a minstrel style banjo from a ukelele. I have three fretless banjos with calf skin heads made by Eric Prust. I use those for school, library, museum programs to show off the 19th century style banjo. There's a very good instructional DVD on Southern style banjo playing by Mike Seeger. He makes an interesting point, noting that styles of playing in the mid 1800's often varied from county to county, state to state, region to region. In today's world of instant news, internet banjo lessons and mass distribution, thousands from all over the world can learn one particular style of playing. In 1861 the young banjo playing soldier from Tennessee and his counterpart from Georgia may have known the same songs, but played them in very different styles. Anyway, thanks for getting in touch. Please visit my web site. www.bobwelch1863.com
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