Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Finally got my own Boucher...Wunderlich made. Now to learn how to play it.

The first time I saw a Boucher banjo was at the Banjo Gathering in Washington D.C. several years ago.  I also met George Wunderlich at that meeting and he had brought along one of his own Boucher banjos which was absolutely stunning.  I've wanted one for quite a while now but at about the time I was finally able to get together the funds for one I learned he was closing shop.  Well, I just "stumbled" upon #70 built in 1997 sitting in a little music shop in Washington state.  I think I got a heck of a deal on it.  It is just beautiful.  Now I just need to learn how to play this funny fretless Wunder.  It is quite different from my Deering Goodtime :)  When I first picked up the banjo "Foggy Mtn. Breakdown" was the song I wanted to learn.  Now that I've got my Boucher I think "Anthony Street Reel" is the goal.  I'd love to get in touch with George and find out a bit more about my banjo and the number of other banjos he produced.  There is also a decorative bead missing on one of the tuning pegs and I am curious if it is possible to get it replaced/repaired, not that it is a big deal or anything.  I hope this isn't coming across too much like bragging, I am just excited and anxious to learn and I am quite happy with the banjo...it is a beautiful piece of art.  

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That is good news. Keep us informed of your progress.

Great looking Banjo.  You don't see the doublehead Boucher's that often.

Not bragging at all, Rick!   You are very lucky to have found that beauty, and how nice that you are here on this site..the best place for learning to play stroke style!   :)

Do you think that banjo was previously owned and played?  It looks brand new!  Nice that it has the proper bridge, strings, and tailpiece and nobody 'futzed' with it since 1997.  I bet George would have one of those little ivory button thingys lying around for you if you contact him. 

Is that a geared 5th peg or with screw tension?- if so that's awesome!

Looking forward to seeing a video of you playing a simple tune on it!    :)

Nope...not a geared 5th peg.  It is a friction peg, but it is a real nicely turned (I assume) piece of wood.  I'd love to get a little history from George on his company...when he first started..how many he made per year, how long it took him on average per banjo etc.  I have to assume it was a previously owned banjo...I wonder if he has records of who originally bought it.  Some of that information would be kind of neat to have.  

Strumelia said:

Not bragging at all, Rick!   You are very lucky to have found that beauty, and how nice that you are here on this site..the best place for learning to play stroke style!   :)

Do you think that banjo was previously owned and played?  It looks brand new!  Nice that it has the proper bridge, strings, and tailpiece and nobody 'futzed' with it since 1997.  I bet George would have one of those little ivory button thingys lying around for you if you contact him. 

Is that a geared 5th peg or with screw tension?- if so that's awesome!

Looking forward to seeing a video of you playing a simple tune on it!    :)

Beautiful banjo!  I have a Jim Hartel Boucher-style on order and will be facing the same challenges of finding my way around on a fretless neck.  I'm encouraged by other folks' accounts that it isn't as difficult as we might expect and considerably easier than something like fiddle.  Let's hope.

I like the look of it Rick, but it would look a lot better if it was at my place.

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