Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Such a Gettin' Upstairs/Old Virginny Jig

Two tunes from the Rice, played on a partially fretless Mike Ramsey banjo with nylgut strings.

Views: 100

Comment by Mark Weems on September 12, 2012 at 6:57pm


I've found that making videos, like making sound recordings, are great ways to really hear yourself and improve your game. 

Comment by Nicholas A Bechtel on September 14, 2012 at 3:14pm

That's the truth, also helps getting over the gut wrenching fear of playing in front of people, although you can re-record until sounds tighter. In front of people it is what it is. Hey Mark it may be the lighting but it looks like that banjo us fretless until the 7th fret? am I seeing that right? Sounds real nice.

Comment by Mark Weems on September 14, 2012 at 7:34pm

Yes, fretless through the 7th. I made this one myself at one of Mike's banjo construction workshops about 9 years ago. Speaking of listening carefully to yourself on a video, it seems that with this modern banjo head, and in this particular recording space (my teaching studio), that ping sound, caused by striking the nylgut string with a brass finger-pick, is really audible and kind of annoying. I suppose that is one advantage of using real gut, although I generally prefer the tactile feel of nylgut. 

Comment by Strumelia on September 14, 2012 at 7:44pm

Mark, really pretty playing.  I have 3 Ramseys, and one is partially fretted too!  Nice banjo you made!

As to the 'ping', I get that when playing with bare fingers on steel strings too.  I used to dislike it until I listened to old Hammons family recordings from WV, and I grew to enjoy it...now i am at peace with the Ping.   :)   You could try a plastic "Freedom Pick" if you want to reduce the ping though- I get them on Elderly.  They run small so get the largest size if you order one.  They are similar to a thimble in function, but plastic and softer sounding.

Comment by Mark Weems on September 14, 2012 at 8:06pm

Thanks. Right. About to post another video where I used a different pick!


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