Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Using the techniques described in Briggs', Rice, and Buckley, a series of Strikes is used and broken down with "Hard Times" from the Briggs' Banjo Instructor...

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Comment by Tim Twiss on July 6, 2015 at 8:50am

Just a hunch, and trying to put this together from what I have seen, many players "flick" "brush" and move their hand in a rhythmic style, often bum ditty in a motion that runs more parallel to the plane of the head. I interpret the motion as going in a motion more "up and down" from the head, lifting it in "up" from the head and striking down, planting the finger and thumb together. This changes what I see people calling "thumb lead" Nothing "leads"...it it the hand planted down. It grooves and drives, but the physical motion is different from what I see Clawhammer and traditional players use.

Comment by Paul Draper on July 6, 2015 at 9:08am
When I used the term " thumb lead" in Devils dream for example I simply meant that the thumb plays a string first followed by the finger, even if you plant finger and thumb together. Perhaps I should have said "thumb first, finger second". Also, clawhammer uses the "up and down" motion - like you're knocking on a door.
Comment by Tim Twiss on July 6, 2015 at 9:17am

You do that, but I have seen others that rotate the thumb and finger like a little blender.

Comment by Tim Twiss on July 6, 2015 at 9:18am

But actually, if you have placed the hand down, you have already struck with the finger. The beat is just displaced.

Comment by Paul Draper on July 6, 2015 at 9:47am
If you have time, could you post a close-up of your right hand playing Devil's Dream (Rice). (No rush - thanks)
Comment by Tim Twiss on July 6, 2015 at 9:47am

It looks the same as yours

Comment by Tim Twiss on July 6, 2015 at 9:49am

Hammer could be interchangable with thumb in single notes.   

Comment by Paul Draper on July 6, 2015 at 9:53am
Right. I just prefer the thumb for those notes.
Comment by Tim Twiss on July 6, 2015 at 10:00am

So to me, "thumb lead" is conceptual...and sort of does not exist in Stroke. Looking back, it does...but if you were there originally, maybe not. It does change the lilt of the music. Subtle things we will never know in performance practice from the past. The descriptions of playing are quite clear if one takes the time to read and implement it.

Comment by Tim Twiss on July 6, 2015 at 5:06pm

DISCLAIMER: I am expressing only my opinion and observation. Sometimes things go south when people claim information as "fact". I want to share the experience.

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