Good infrastructure and outreach!
We get a fair number of new people from the banjo hangout.
I wondered what you'all thought because, also, for the first time, some folks ordering from me are NOT jumping from modern banjo to minstrel, they are telling me they are jumping from guitar or directly into minstrel banjo. To me, that is VERY cool.
Though my banjo is still on it's way... it should arrive in a week or so... I made the jump Terry described above... the majority of instruments I've purchased in the past were electric. Mostly guitars. Rock or alt-rock (or whatever the current supermarket label is) remained my only interest. Honestly, I'm not sure where the interest in mid-19th century banjo came from, but it hit me hard WOMP!!!! For a long time I listened to nothing else. Then I decided I had to play this somewhat mysterious and nebulous music that few 21st century people have heard or heard about. So far, no one I have told about it face to face understands the desire. Obviously people here do. I keep returning here to participate in this fascinating, beguiling and ineffable genre.
So, Ed, you got womped. These banjers'll womp ya, that's for sure. Thanks for that interesting story.
I've played clawhammer banjo (fretless and fretted) and traditional Appalachian dulcimer (with a noter) for about 13 years. My husband (fiddler) and i play mostly West Virginia and Kentucky fiddle tunes on fiddle/banjo or fiddle/dulcimer, I sing a few Appalachian ballads and banjer songs too. I'm shying away from the 100mph oldtime/'fusion' festival scene these days.
I recently bought one of Jeff Menzies gourd banjos and I wound up here on 'minstrelbanjo' because there is more information about gourd banjos, fretless styles, old tunings, etc. HERE than anywhere else I looked online. I also love to hear and see the videos of minstrel playing, bones, tamborine, the historical information... though I don't play minstrel style banjo myself I love it all. My kind of people. :)
I guarantee you that if you learn Circus Jig the bug will bite you.
Anyway, that's very interesting about you and yer hubby!!
It is the tuning: dGDF#A and its low dulcem tones simply attracts people like no other.
At our local jam (which is very eclectic) I usually play either clawhammer or three-finger backup. We have lots of side conversations and sometimes the picking competes with the conversations. However, when I bring out the Ashborn, the conversations cease. Everybody loves it...to the point where I mostly leave it home, I don't want to take over the jam!