Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Here are some materials Greg and I (Tim Twiss) put together for the Harpers Ferry Early Banjo Workshop Weekend. This is certainly starting from the beginning, but it cuts no corners, and is not watered down or sugar coated. It is simply the authentic instruction form the original tutors put together in a logical, progressive manner. All newbies are welcome to try this material out, and give feedback to let us know if it was helpful in your learning. It starts with providing a solid understanding of the technique, and moves into repertoire as soon as possible.  


Here are links to the video, covering the material in the book.





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Thanks for posting this helpful material. I appreciate how the people on here are so willin to help a new guy. I am workin away at this and having a great time.

Now all I need to do is find some local re enactors. As I understand we did have a battle or two here in Oklahoma. (WE were with the South) I think it was the battle of round mountain. But that may not be correct
Hi Tim, this newbie ( I like that discription ) also thanks you for posting the pdfs and videos. Have downloaded the pdfs. and hope to look at them sometime this week.
Good, and I hope this material brings a favorable result. This is what I would have done, had it been laid out for me when I started out. I know everybody is anxious to get to the tunes (myself included), but it is SO worth the time to get a basic feel for the technique. It feels very awkward at first, but the transformation is unbelievable as it settles in. I developed some bad habits that took an entire winter to undo. I learned by reading the music, and hearing it, but never seeing it. Going to the first AEBG was a real eye opener. Now, with the videos of everybody playing, it is better. It's a matter of discipline to get it to work, but then it is easy and there is a lot of enjoyment ahead if you stick with it. No matter how unnatural it feels, stick with it. I would have spend a little more time developing the technique. The Briggs' Movements, Rice Strikes, and Converse Combinations give you all the technique you need. I don't think we can improve on what has already been said in these studies, but we can revisit it in different ways.

  I just wanted to bump this page.  Lots of great info on here. Especially for beginners


I just received my new banjo and these links have been helpful to me in learning the minstrel style.


Added today is a Briggs' type version of "Buffalo Gals". Is is pretty easy, and has a "pull" in it. I use a "p" to signify a pull.


I know you posted this a while ago, but I am just seeing it now.  Thanks so much for this and all your hard work.  This really helps us newbies out a lot.  I read notation for brass/wind instruments and piano, but was also daunted as to how it applies to banjo (which note or which octave goes to which string?) and only played by tab or by ear.  However, seeing this and also the Banjo Rosetta has inspired me to try to learn to play to play banjo by notation, too.  Well done, sir!

I am just now seeing this as well, after Tim 'featured' it.  It's so incredibly helpful for us beginners, and so easy to understand.   thank you thank you thank you!!

Tim Twiss said:

Added today is a Briggs' type version of "Buffalo Gals". Is is pretty easy, and has a "pull" in it. I use a "p" to signify a pull.

Tim....could be I'm blind in addition to the 'pine pollen issue', but can you point me to where this "Buffalo Gals" is that you added?

Thank you for this!

This very nice stuff Tim, Thank you for taking the time to post this...  I was just about to email you and ask of all the touter books which one would you say someone should start with?   But, I guess this would be a better start and then move on to the touters... 


Yea, use this stuff, but keep it alive with discussions. Always something new and useful will pop up.

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