Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

One of my all time favorites as I continue the experiment of Guitar and Stroke Style of play on various pieces. This one, if you have never heard it, is from Frank Converse and appeared in his 1886 book The Analytical Banjo Method. It was listed as a "Banjo Style" ( Stroke or thimble). I find it adapts well to this style.....and certainly benefits from having frets.

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Comment by Timothy Twiss on January 13, 2017 at 8:22am

This is played on a new banjo, a joint conception of myself, Terry Bell, and Jeff Branch all here in Michigan. The goal was to make sort of a "transitional" instrument....with a pot, head, pegs, hardware similar to the older Minstrel models, yet advancing the innovation of frets....as the repertoire seems to imply. The result of this 25" instrument ( tuned to A/E )
is amazing, giving new life and color to music I played on the lower tuned fretless. Jeff Branch did the fret and inlay work, and Terry did the rest....given only vague request s from myself.

Comment by Al Smitley on January 13, 2017 at 9:20am

Nice job, once again!  I'd try to learn something on fiddle but there are so many notes going on, I'm not sure where to begin to simplify!

Comment by Scott Danneker on January 13, 2017 at 6:03pm
You don't appear to 'anchor' your RH ring finger and pinky as one might expect in three finger (scruggs?/guitar) style. I have been working on Billy Morris Jig and have noticed that there seems to be a Scruggs like 'roll' pattern involved and consequently I tend to anchor my pinky. This act of anchoring seems to tense up my RH and thus make a smooth transition back to stroke style difficult. Ant suggestions? Also, I understand the difference between stroke and clawhammer styles. Is there a similar way to distinguish between Scruggs, guitar, and old-time three finger styles?
As always Tim, you are a inspiration. Well played, and thanks!
Comment by Chris Prieto on January 14, 2017 at 12:06am

@tim sounds nice, I've listened to the one on your cd so many times that this is nice refreshing take on thing :)

@Scott that Billy Morris Jig is a fun lil thang aint it? I just play it all stroke and it is quite the finger excercise

Comment by Timothy Twiss on January 14, 2017 at 9:11am

It is so fascinating...the ones that go either way. Playing that music puts you back into the evolution of the instrument, and all the styles that were birthed from the beginnings.

Comment by Manfred Kilian on January 18, 2017 at 2:52pm

Great banjo, great tune, great playing.

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