Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

James Hartel
  • Franklin, NY
  • United States
  • on and off since 1972
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Latest Activity

Sule Greg Wilson commented on James Hartel's video

Doug Chambers Berkeley, CA June 24, 2012

"Is that me on percussion?  Bones?  or sticks on gourd?"
Jan 3, 2021
Sule Greg Wilson liked James Hartel's video
Jan 3, 2021
James Hartel commented on John Masciale's event An Early Banjo Gathering
"Some memories from 2010"
Feb 11, 2020
James Hartel is attending John Masciale's event

An Early Banjo Gathering at Renfrew Museum and Park

June 26, 2020 at 7pm to June 28, 2020 at 1pm
We are hosting an Early American Banjo gathering. The committee for this event are John and Elaine Masciale, Tim Twiss, Al Smitley, and Andy Chase. At the end of the last gathering there was a lot of interest in continuing with the gathering, but we needed a new venue.  After a lot of searching we are pleased to announce that Renfrew Museum is willing to host us.Our goals are:!. To educate about and create an appreciation for the early American banjo, its musical repertoire, and its role in American history.2. To develop and foster fellowship and camaraderie among players who are often isolated geographically. This fellowship creates increased opportunity for conversation and mentorship.3. To welcome and mentor new players.4. To be a resource for players for sources of music, instruments, and accessories.5. To provide a cost-effective, impactful opportunity for players of early American banjo.6. To have fun. Lots of fun.Based on this event we hope to plan future events.Come join us!See More
Feb 11, 2020

Profile Information

How did you find out about Ning Minstrel Banjo?
Tom-Briggs forum
How long have you played banjo?
on and off since 1972
What kind of banjo(s) do you own?
Some I made, some Vega and Fairbanks banjos, and a banjo junkyard

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Comment Wall (9 comments)

At 5:02pm on January 24, 2009, Tim Twiss said…
Hi Jim!
At 8:26pm on January 25, 2009, John Masciale said…
Hi Jim, welcome to this site.
At 9:25am on September 20, 2010, jim atleson said…
thanks, Jim. It's beautiful up here. If you are ever in the Portland area, please let me know.

At 5:26pm on July 31, 2011, Arnaud frenchi said…
Hello James
as there is no minstrel banjo maker in France and I'm not stupid with my fingersand I like to made with his hand. I want to make me a banjo "style Boucher." I have a question, because I saw a banjo minstrel is only on photos. (your are making very nice), but here is my issue is there a "inversions" of the coup, as anangle on the other banjo or guitar in jazz?
anglai my crowns (well that of g??gle traductor).
At 5:31pm on July 31, 2011, Arnaud frenchi said…
crown me , when i wrote "the coup I want to say Neck.
At 8:59am on August 1, 2011, James Hartel said…


Sorry, I cannot speak Francais. There is no angle on the original Boucher banjos but when I make it I put a 3 degree angle on the neck like on contemorary string instruments.  Hope this helps you.

At 8:02am on November 24, 2011, Al Smitley said…


It was good to meet the man who made my banjo....and glad that Harper's Ferry offered to you a reunion with one of your creations which you evidently lost track of.



At 12:10pm on February 23, 2012, Ron Carnegie said…

I will see what I can do Jimk.  I might have another one as well.  we took some pictures at one of our concerts last Christmas that I have yet to see!

At 12:04am on February 24, 2012, Ron Carnegie said…


Let me know if this comes out bigger, if not I will email it to you.  Thanks for the banjo bridges by the way.  They are serving wonderfully.  I am having a problem with the nut sliding out of position this time of year.  The strings slide it over.  It doesn't really make any difference in playing, but I wonder if there is a way to stop that.  I suspect its just something to do with humidity or the lack of it.

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