Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Jim Along Jocie on my new Bell Stichter banjo

This is the very first tune I played on my brand new minstrel banjo, made especially for me by Terry Bell of Bell Banjos: http://bell.20m.com/banjos.html

To my friends on MinstrelBanjoNing- please forgive me for posting a CLAWHAMMER style tune here, but I wanted to give an idea of how beautiful this banjo sounds rather than my awkward struggling in stroke style. I promise to post some minstrel style tunes next!...beginner level of course because 'that's how I roll'... heh heh. :)

Now I'll be tackling some simple tunes in minstrel/stroke style, I'm just beginning to learn that style of playing.
This clawhammer tune is Jim Along Jocie ...but it's NOT the usual Coon Creek Gals version and not the expected minstrel version. I play it also on my gourd banjo, more tune info here: http://youtu.be/ebVvOi02VxI

This 13" pot, goatskin-headed, fretless, distressed minstrel banjo was styled after an 1848 banjo made by a young Henry Stichter. That original banjo is in the collection of Jim Bollman. I think Terry Bell did a wonderful job in customizing this banjo personally for me in various ways. Thank you Terry, it feels, looks, and sounds ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIC. I can't wait to get to work and dig into some real minstrel tunes now! This beautiful banjer really inspires the imagination.

Views: 222

Comment by Valerie Diaz Leroy on April 13, 2013 at 7:57am

Ah-what a sound! 

Comment by Paul Draper on April 13, 2013 at 10:20am

Sounds fantastic!  Looking forward to more tunes to come!

Comment by Paul Ely Smith on April 13, 2013 at 11:56am

Congratulations!!  That is absolutely beautiful--great sound, great-looking instrument (outstanding work, Mr. Bell), and you have a lovely touch on that thing, too.  I understand your wanting to absorb the new-old minstrel style, being as free as possible from preconception in tackling a new language, but I think your rhythm here is very wonderful, and I would urge you not to entirely abandon it.  As we have discussed, exchanging comments here and there, I think that clawhammer "swing" and even the backbeat rhythm are probably part of African-American performance practice, even if the minstrels didn't pick up on them (and some may have).  Bon voyage!      

Comment by Nicholas A Bechtel on April 13, 2013 at 1:57pm

Looks and sounds so good. You should be proud. Hat's off to Mr. Bell!

Comment by James Pentecost on April 13, 2013 at 7:49pm

Sounds great!  Well done!

Comment by Jeff on April 13, 2013 at 8:16pm

Very nice.... ! 

Comment by Strumelia on April 13, 2013 at 9:27pm

Thanks so much, my friends.  :)

Comment by Vince Abadie on April 14, 2013 at 5:03am

Great sound, and Terry did his usual beautiful work. Looking forward to more tunes on this banjo!

Comment by Gil Sayre on April 14, 2013 at 5:06pm

Congrats! That is one fine sounding banjo indeed. Loving my Bell Boucher too. Terry does a mighty fine job. Warning..... once you get use to Nylgut(or real gut) you can't put it down. Very addictive.

Comment by Steve Jeter on April 15, 2013 at 9:45am

sounds beautiful!    I wouldn't apologize for a claw tune,   claw is the child of stroke style, at least that's how it seems to me.


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