Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Tim Twiss's Blog (111)

Key of F...

What would YOU do??

If you get a piece of fiddle music in F? Which note do you reference as the thumb string?

Added by Tim Twiss on January 22, 2014 at 9:21am — 2 Comments

Where Did You Come From

I revisited this one from the Rice book of 1858. It is so deceptive...try it and see where the beat falls. It seems to turn back around on you, depending upon where you place the beat. One of the coolest and overlooked songs.

Added by Tim Twiss on January 16, 2014 at 8:19am — No Comments

Got a "Little Yellow" book

The price was finally right...down from those crazy hundreds on ebay. Got the "Little Yellow" book for $75.00. I know we access them free, but I guess the chance to have and hold one of my own was irresistible. This is one I plan to reissue in standard notation anyway to avoid all the dialogue and page turning.

Added by Tim Twiss on November 22, 2013 at 7:25am — No Comments

I wonder...

...you think early banjo players re-enacted? Ditched their way cool tensioned banjos, got a funky old gourds, and sat around in Revolutionary era clothing??

Added by Tim Twiss on November 17, 2013 at 9:24pm — No Comments

The "sound"

Fascinating, just the pure sound of these unique banjos we have. No two are alike.....exactly. So many small variables make the instruments distinct, and couple that with the many touches and styles we have all developed...totally unique fingerprint for each person. This is part of what I enjoy about this.

Added by Tim Twiss on November 14, 2013 at 10:05am — 2 Comments

Man on the Flying Trapeze

No doubt, this song is a keeper. Played it today at it worked well.

Added by Tim Twiss on October 3, 2013 at 7:11pm — 3 Comments

Wake Up In The Morning

Dan Gibson...this is an official "thank you" for the inspiration on "Wake Up In The Morning". I have officially stolen your idea. I love AEBG....!!!

Added by Tim Twiss on September 19, 2013 at 8:36am — No Comments


Anybody else sing "The Man On The Flying Trapeeze"?

I found it in the Dobson Book....going to add it in this weekend. Got that Al...ha ha.

Concert key of "G".


The tune is from 1867.

Added by Tim Twiss on September 18, 2013 at 9:29pm — 12 Comments

One of those weekends..

...I will be sitting on the porch of a historical building playing all day on Saturday. You know...low profile blah blah. It will be a great opportunity to really test the repertoire, and see how long I can play before repeating myself. Using...all the verses to tunes like Johnny Boker, Gwine Ober de Mountain. Limit Jim Crow to about 6. I have no idea what it will be like, but I have my lyrics.

Added by Tim Twiss on September 16, 2013 at 10:36pm — 5 Comments

Buckley 1868

Okay, here we go. It becomes a strange possession once I start. good sign....first tune went down well on one take and the setting sounds good. man, I've been waiting for this book! See ya at the end.

Added by Tim Twiss on June 30, 2013 at 6:14pm — 24 Comments

A Stinker

Who would have thought??..."May Polka" has been the hardest song ever for me to record. ( Green Converse book ).

Added by Tim Twiss on May 25, 2013 at 10:08pm — No Comments

Lots of tunes

I threw a lot of songs up...basically letting you in on a practice. Good for us....to see how well we can play tunes on any given day. Not too polished, but we enjoy playing, and have some gigs coming up. We are especially enjoying these early and slightly obscure tunes. How do you approach one that is not recorded much yet???? Look at the music and try things I guess. Anyway, any comments or observations are welcome.

Added by Tim Twiss on May 22, 2013 at 9:45pm — No Comments


The Lester Levy Collection website got a facelift....check the site out for tons of sheet music. This is great source material. The pages are easy to flip through if you want to glance at a multi-page song.


Added by Tim Twiss on May 18, 2013 at 6:42am — No Comments


47 % today....perfect for skin banjos.

Added by Tim Twiss on April 28, 2013 at 9:46pm — 2 Comments


I wish we had that Facebook feature here....it would be a cool way to acknowledge a post without adding comments. Maybe it's in there somewhere...?

Added by Tim Twiss on April 13, 2013 at 7:28am — 4 Comments

New tune in tab- The Back of the Change House

I just put up a tab for a tune to share that I discovered this morning. It should be played fast, but I found the melody and the way it layed on the banjo to be completely mezmerising and engaging when played slowly and loosely. Although I recorded it this morning, I feel like am just starting to tap into it...being able to play it different each time by altering the phrases. A very free and creative feeling

Added by Tim Twiss on April 7, 2013 at 10:01pm — 1 Comment


Funny....doesn't feel like 707, does it?

Added by Tim Twiss on April 6, 2013 at 10:56pm — No Comments

F.B. Converse

"There are but two really fundamental principals or movements governing the action of the right hand in this (banjo) style."

The Hammer

The Combination


Trust this man. He published this statement in 1886.

Added by Tim Twiss on March 31, 2013 at 8:30pm — 6 Comments

Expanding the Repertoire


One of my hobbies...passions...( okay, obsessions ) is finding new banjo material. I try to do it from the perspective of the original Early banjo players, using sources available to them and integrating it according to the examples left behind in the tutors.

I have a fresh source and I would like to share how i seek out material and then arrange it.

I am using Kerr's Merry melodies for the the violin. It is well known that much of the original Minstrel banjo is…


Added by Tim Twiss on March 30, 2013 at 6:15am — 5 Comments

Search engine

Is it just me, or is this search function totally worthless? We have so much good stuff on this site, but it seems difficult to retreive it.

Added by Tim Twiss on March 28, 2013 at 11:15pm — 2 Comments


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