Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

My new gourd banjo. Maple neck, 4 strings, hand carved walnut pegs.

Views: 89

Favorite of 1 person

Comment by John Masciale on April 28, 2016 at 6:54pm

OK, 1 take. This is just after I put the strings on and tuned it.  I figured Coal Black Rose would be a good Juba to add.  Some of the hesitation in my playing is just getting used to the instrument.

Comment by Chris Prieto on April 28, 2016 at 7:18pm
sounds awesome man!
Comment by Chris Prieto on April 28, 2016 at 7:19pm
how many sound holes?
Comment by John Masciale on April 28, 2016 at 7:21pm
1 sound hole.
Comment by Strumelia on April 28, 2016 at 7:52pm

That's so neat John!  I love how deep it sounds.  Hey- be careful though with your sleeve cuff- I think it might be touching the strings and muting things a bit.

Calf or goat skin?

Can't wait to hear more on it!

Comment by John Masciale on April 28, 2016 at 8:15pm

It is goat skin. I bought a gourd on eBay and it was too thin walled. I spoke to Jeff Menzies about that and he recommended I get directly in touch with a gourd farmer. The second gourd was much better.  Since I am giving a talk at the end of the month I wanted a more representative gourd banjo. I am also working on my classic banjo and learning a schottische.

Comment by Brian Kimerer on April 28, 2016 at 8:51pm

I really like the sound of a gourd banjo. I like the deep, round sound.

Comment by Tom Taggart on April 29, 2016 at 5:36pm

Nice sound.  I wish I had the talent/nerve to try to build an instrument.

Comment by Brian Kimerer on April 29, 2016 at 6:04pm

I have built three gourd banjos. I documented how I did it on my web pages. You could start by skimming those pages to see if you might be interested in starting that journey.

Gourd Banjo 1

Gourd Banjo 2

Gourd Banjo 3

My latest banjo is a huge Minstrel type banjo with a bent maple hoop.

Minstrel

It mostly takes a lot of hours and a lot of persistence in the face of failure. It is also a lot of fun, and nothing beats making music on an instrument that you have built yourself.

Comment by Chris Prieto on April 29, 2016 at 7:10pm
I can vouch for Brians pages for that is where I started :)

I also emailed a bunch of banjo makers, most got back to me with lots of helpful tricks n tips

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