Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

This is played on an instrument made by Jeff Kangas. It is based upon the specs found in the Banjo Database http://www.banjodatabase.org/3DFullDetails.asp?ID=102&imgtype=undefined&title=undefined

Views: 126

Comment by Tom Berghan on November 22, 2017 at 10:17am
Nice Tim! I love the new banjo. A clean design. My personal preference is for straight necks without ogee and waves and swells. This banjo looks great and it sounds great too! You played very well. I like the appogiatura and glissandi very much.
Comment by Paul Draper on November 22, 2017 at 10:45am
Nice! Are those "minstrel" gauge nylguts, or "classic"?
Comment by Timothy Twiss on November 22, 2017 at 11:34am
Thanks Tom. Yes, those are the features that drew me to it. I owned and sold it a few years back. I an glad to have repurchased it. Paul...I think they are Classic Nylgut that are on it. I'm going to experimant a bit. I did put the Hooks bridge on and set it to the scale length of 25.5"
Comment by Strumelia on November 23, 2017 at 2:09pm

Thinking they might be Cris Sand strings...?

That's one heck of a frailing scoop on that banjer!  Same 25.5" scale length as my regular oldtime openback banjos.

Very lush and elegant.  As always, nice playing Tim.

Comment by Tom Berghan on November 23, 2017 at 3:30pm
The “scoop” on Tim’s banjo is totally period authentic as evidenced by the many photos of period instruments in the fine book “America's Instrument, The Banjo in the Nineteenth Century.
By: Gura and Bollman. Put on your list to Santa if you do not have a copy!
Comment by Strumelia on November 24, 2017 at 9:23am

Yes, my Hartel banjo is a copy of an 1880s fretless minstrel banjo that belongs to Reed Martin.  Both mine and the original have a deep 'frailing scoop' as it's called, cut out from the neck.

Comment by Joel Hooks on November 24, 2017 at 9:51am

Not called "frailing scoop" until fairly recently (late 1960s?).  It is an aesthetic design taken from tack heads. Period documentation (like the now famous "Dobson" silver bell patent) indicate that it was more likely used for ease of changing a head.  It was also mentioned in several places that since "no one played way up there" they did not need that part of the fingerboard anyway so they cut it out to make it more fancy.

Look at the banjos held my minstrels in my photos section for more examples.  You will notice that none are playing "Roundpeak style" over that area.

Comment by Joel Hooks on November 24, 2017 at 9:55am

Comment by Joel Hooks on November 24, 2017 at 9:56am
Comment by Strumelia on November 24, 2017 at 10:48am

Yes, I'm sure it was not called a 'frailing scoop' back during early minstrel show era. That's what most folks call it today, and it does serve the distinct purpose of not annoyingly hitting the fingerboard with clicking nails or picks when one is playing over the neck.  I myself found it really annoying when clawhammering on a banjo on that part of the neck (which gives a very beautiful mellow resonant tone, at the 'halfway point' of the strings).. on a banjo with no scoop my fingers were hitting the fingerboard and clicking in a very unpleasant way.  Sometimes I play down on the head and sometimes over the scoop, depending on the musical setting and and the effect I'm wanting.  :D

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