Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

With Tim's blessing, I thought that in addition to whatever regular TuneoftheWeek tunes there might be going on, I'd call an occasional "Tune of the Month" for beginner stroke players-  something very easy so as to encourage those of us who are just getting started in stroke/minstrel style playing, or who are hesitant to post beginner level videos.  No matter what your playing level...please jump in and try this pretty little tune.  Mistakes don't matter- sharing the fun of learning is the only goal.  Over time we all slowly build on our skills.

Here's a TOTM that's super easy!   Calabash Dance... from Converse's 1865 "Banjo without a Master", otherwise known as the "little yellow book".

Play it in the usual Briggs tuning of dGDF#A  (key of G)

Here is the Converse notation:

One tab can be found in Joe Weidlich's "More Minstrel Banjo" book.

And here is Tim Twiss' tab (thank you Tim!):

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That is a good tune Strum.  Great beginners tune.  I haven't posted a video in quite a while, I will try and get one of this tune up in the next couple of days, time allowing.  Thanks for suggesting it.

Strumelia...you're the bee's knees. ☺

This certainly makes it less intimidating.

Thanks. .I'll attempt it. 

I'll do one too!   :)

Hey  Dave Vinci !  

-Do you remember us sitting down and playing this one together at Antietam?   You could do a little video and join us!   :D

Here's my real sloooow version of Calabash Dance.  Try not to fall asleep!-lolol. Since "calabash" means squash, gourd, or pumpkin, I grabbed my gourd banjo for this tune!    :)

For a nice brisk version, check out Tim's: http://minstrelbanjo.ning.com/video/calabash-danceyellow-converse  ...but remember to fasten your seat belt first!    ;D

Lil slow but still sounds good! Who made that sweet sounding banjo? Also do you have something under the tail piece?

I remember when I was first playing this song Tim's version made me wanna quit haha I really struggled with the three thumb notes. The man can really rip thru em :D

Tim the Twisster...  ;D

Chris, i recorded this one as slow as humanly possible, partly to enable a total newcomer to see what what strings are plucked and fretted for this tune.  That said, I still wouldn't be able to play it as Tim does...and so cleanly too.

I have a small piece of chamois leather tucked under my tailpiece here because sometimes the tailpiece does sympathetic buzzing on the head.  It's a Menzies gourd with a carved pig's head for the peghead.  My Piggie banjer.  :)

Had to look at your old photos and that is an adorable lil pig on the peg head! I have heard you refer to the pig head banjo in previous threads and assumed it was just a name for your banjo

Yes, I do remember, and that was fun... it's interesting how this simple little tune can get into your head and before you know it you've changed it a bit... I'm glad other folks do that too!  Maybe I'll try and do the video... we'll see.
Strumelia said:

Hey  Dave Vinci !  

-Do you remember us sitting down and playing this one together at Antietam?   You could do a little video and join us!   :D

Dave if you did the video it'd make my day!  :)

Nice Strum, and I like the sound of your "pig" gourd.

Well, here goes nothin'.. spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to get ONE take with a minimum of flubs.. 

Holy Cow..!  out of practice, performance anxiety, network slowdown..And... I'm in serious need of some thumb calisthenics..lol ..but it was fun.. ;o} thanks for the motivation !


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