Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Pompey Ran Away on early gourd banjo with horse hair strings

Sorry for it being a little out of tune, I think the horse hair strings are still adjusting.

Views: 55

Comment by John Masciale on November 9, 2018 at 10:34am
It is very warm sounding.
Comment by James Pentecost on November 9, 2018 at 10:37am

I have often wondered about the practicality of the horsehair banjo strings mentioned  in the early accounts. Thanks for the demonstration.

Comment by Strumelia on November 9, 2018 at 12:37pm

I'm impressed Brice.  I've made twisted horsehair strings for my jouhikko, and I know that it's not so easy to do. You really have to wrestle to 'tame' them- they keep wanting to go their own crazy way.  Would help to have an extra hand.   

This sounds lovely!

Comment by Strumelia on November 9, 2018 at 2:38pm

Incidentally, for anyone interested there is a video on making twisted horsehair strings by Michael King of the UK.  Here, Michael makes and installs strings on a Finnish style jouhikko (aka tagelharpa) ...actually the instrument in the video is the lovely custom jouhikko he made for me:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICLelbWyCVE&t=90s

It's a good video on how you make horsehair strings. I've used the video to make my own as well.

Comment by Brice Alms on November 9, 2018 at 2:46pm

That's the same video that inspired me to try it on my gourd banjo.

Comment by Strumelia on November 9, 2018 at 2:58pm

Yep, I can't see any other instructional video online for making such twisted horsehair strings. He made tat video 7 years ago when he was finishing up making my jouhikko.

As we speak, Michael King is making me a, Icelandic bowed langspil, I should get it by Christmas. It's been about 2 years in the planning.  I just sent him the kolrosing designs last night. 
He also made me a very wonderful French epinette des Vosges last year. That's sort of like a very small mountain dulcimer. 

BTW, I'm not rich- I was only able to get these instruments after selling a couple of high end mandolins I had bought 20 years ago that i just wasn't playing anymore.  I love when I can sell an old instrument to finance a new one...it's kind of guilt free.   :D

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