Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

A minstrel tune played on my home built minstrel banjo. The tune is from the From the Frank Converse book "Banjo Without a Master" published in 1865.

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Comment by Tom Taggart on December 7, 2015 at 10:22pm

Great sound from that monster Brian.  Congrats on your first video.  I have checked out your banjo construction videos, very impressive.

Comment by Strumelia on December 7, 2015 at 10:39pm

Brian, it's not really that you are playing it 'wrong'-  it's that if you get used to fingering patterns that were laid out long ago (even though they may seem awkward at first), you will find that it enables you to more easily take on some of the trickier moves you're going to encounter in minstrel stroke style pieces later on. I struggle with this too, by the way.  :)  

Comment by Chris Prieto on December 7, 2015 at 11:08pm
Wow that is indeed a big ol chunky banjo. Very neat sound too. I was a bit put off by the yellow books thumby nature but once it clicks many other tunes become easier. I actually played most of Briggs wrong until I got thru the yellow book and now the Briggs stuff is a breeze, plain fun to play. Either way sweet vid :)
Comment by Brian Kimerer on December 11, 2015 at 10:29pm

I just spent a few hours looking at and tabbing out the original Coon Hunt Walkaround from the Little Yellow Book, and I find that it is considerably different from the way I was playing it. As I started to learn the new fingering, I started to channel the Classic Banjo tutoring where the use "Alternative Fingering" is suggested. In that case, you never pluck the strings with the same finger twice. The use of the thumb in Coon Hunt is very similar to that technique.

As I am learning the new fingering, it is apparent that my hand motion is less, making it easier to find the strings as I play. One of the problems I was having was losing the positions of the strings (and missing notes). I am going to concentrate on learning this tune up to speed to see if I can play it better this way.

Comment by Timothy Twiss on December 11, 2015 at 10:38pm

There are 3 other versions in the archives here....worth a look to see how others are approaching it.

Comment by Brian Kimerer on December 12, 2015 at 8:32am

OK. Thanks. I did a quick search of the web site and did not find much. Not sure how to search the archives.

In the past I have been fairly loose with my interpretations of tunes, "make it up; make it your own". But after picking up some tunes from Classical Banjo I have found that there is value in playing it as written. It makes me think harder about what it is I am trying to do. Once the rote version is in the can, perhaps interpretation will be easier and better played.

Comment by Timothy Twiss on December 12, 2015 at 8:36am

Go to the upper right hand corner on this page and type in Coon Hunt

Comment by Paul Draper on December 12, 2015 at 9:57am
Or click on "videos" at the top of the page, then search coon hunt.
Comment by Timothy Twiss on December 12, 2015 at 10:55am

Paul, you have a nice Coon Hunt in there

Comment by Paul Draper on December 12, 2015 at 12:39pm
Thanks, it's one of those tunes I had to go back and relearn.


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