Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I'm anxiously awaiting a late-fall delivery of an Ashborn banjo reproduction banjo I ordered last week from Mike Wesley (jmwesleyguitars@gmail.com) of Roxboro, NC.  I visited his home and shop and was impressed with his work and knowledge.

Views: 307

Comment by Tim Twiss on August 29, 2013 at 8:38am

I played one at AEBG....it is on my list to get. Are you getting the fretted?

Comment by Strumelia on August 29, 2013 at 8:54am

That's gonna be great!  We want pictures when it's done!   :)

Comment by Kevin W. Holmes on August 29, 2013 at 9:10am

Yes, it will be fretted with Ashborn-style wooden pegs.  I'll post pictures.  There are some recent videos posted on Banjo Hangout (and YouTube) by Mark Weems playing one of the banjos with Mike playing a reproduction Ashborn guitar.  

I tried the guitar too at Mike's house, and it was a WONDERFUL instrument; would be perfect for Hawaiian slack key guitar.

FYI, Mike's web address is: http://jmwesleyguitars.com

Comment by Tony Thomas on August 31, 2013 at 11:56am

If  I was going to get a minstrel banjo I would get an A reproduction,  CT roots and all.  I like the one Prouty made for Greg and almost bought the one that he made for Mike Seeger that Alexia had up to sell at the collectors last year

Comment by Strumelia on August 31, 2013 at 1:00pm

Tony, you do actually need to get a minstrel style banjo.   ;)

Comment by Tony Thomas on August 31, 2013 at 1:32pm

I have a banjo that I use for that purpose.   It isnt a real minstrel banjo, but a fretless banjo that someone tried to make who didnt understand how to craft a banjo net out of an old tenor pot Hilary found in N Hampshire.  She gave it to me and I had someone recraft the next and I strung it with nylgut.   But  I try not to spread my banjo playing thin.   I listen to minstrel tunes and adore the playing of some minstrel players.'

I am pretty militant about not spending money on any more banjos before I die unless someone gives me lots of money or there is a massive change in social security or the florida retirement system.    I do try to rework my banjos like just took my Enoch tradesman to have a skin head on it

Comment by Kevin W. Holmes on August 31, 2013 at 6:52pm
My main interest in the Ashborn is the history. They were made in CT, as was I! It was an innovative design for the time and Ashborn did for the banjo what Colt (also from CT) did for the gun; production line mfg. with interchangeable parts. As far as playing, I don't plan to limit myself to minstrel music, some of which I will play, but I intend to use this banjo in the same way I use my current ones; different playing styles, different period music, whatever (no 3-finger Scruggs however ;-)).
Comment by Tony Thomas on August 31, 2013 at 9:28pm

Kevin are  you from  CT.   I have lived in Florida the past 31 years but I grew up in Hartford amd used to play with Don Seniti Moose of the Morgans and Billy Walaach.  Bacon banjos were made for a long time in Groton, and Bacon even made a Hartford model at one point.  The great classic teacher Bradbury lived in wethersfield when I was growing up in the 1960s and the great Dick Figi who played as a side man with Bromberg took lessons from him.   The great Weston was from New London and switched from guitar to banjo while doing a show in Hartford when his guitar broke.     LOL some day we will reveal tht the banjo was actually invented in Connecticut then smuggled into the caribbean

Comment by Tony Thomas on August 31, 2013 at 9:30pm

Seeing that you are from NC even Steve Wish the guy who makes those weird basses and other instruments really got his start as a musician in CT.   He was the first folk musician I met the first time I let my parents house with a guitar in my hand back before even strumelia was born. 

CT POWER

Comment by Kevin W. Holmes on November 29, 2013 at 8:13pm

Yes, I'm originally from Watertown, CT, not far from the original Ashborn works.  I've lived in NC for about 20 years.

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