Minstrel Banjo

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Today I began the last leg of the Buckley adventure. Above is the address where you can tune in and check it out. This will certainly be the most challenging, as it contains the fiddle repertoire in the back. Many are written with one or two sharps, and there is no thumb string indication. What to choose....thumb string as "D" or "E"? I'll talk about it one by one as i get there...so far as I'm concerned, if there is no thumb string indicator, interpretation is up for grabs. These were just added without much thought to being an actual banjo arrangement. I'm sure they were thought out and played by banjoists. What this tells me is that the source is unlimited if we use the fiddle repertoire. Buckley also published fiddle books. He even inducated in this book that these can be played on the fiddle.

Hang on as the fretless goes up into the upper atmosphere. I believe this is fretted territory, but I am going to do them all on fretless. Possible, but not practical...is how i view many of these.

I begin with Picayune Butler's Harmonic Jig. I "found a way" after thinking about it and trying lots of options. The indications for playing the harmonics are not totally clear. See what you think. 

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Comment by Tim Twiss on November 28, 2012 at 10:27pm

Okay...slowing down a bit in this part of the book. The leaps and positions on fretless is a real challenge. Sitting on "Dutchman's Corner Jig"....waiting for it to be a convincing performance.

Comment by Tim Twiss on November 29, 2012 at 7:39am


Dutchman's Corner Jig. Got this one this morning. It is not burning at any amazing tempo, but it clips along okay. It keeps it congruous with the rest of the project and as i said before, has a good "banjo" feel instead of the awkwardsness of purely imitation a fiddle. I could not simply read this one, and ended up memorizing it as a new one...and I'll keep it in my rotation.  I ended up really liking it. Funny the surprises you'll find as you try new music.

Comment by Tim Twiss on November 29, 2012 at 10:40pm

Added Gantz's Jig tonight. I think the trick is to not go too fast. this one where it mixes dotted and staright rhythmns. That is difficult if you are moving long tto quickly...there seems to be little definition. Hopefully I got a good effect from it. Also, there is a low "G" that I question, but i played it as is. Used "Briggs" thought in this one.

Comment by Tim Twiss on November 30, 2012 at 8:15am

Yea, a memorized tune that I am ready to play on a regular basis.

Comment by Tim Twiss on November 30, 2012 at 9:43am

I have a "button bag" where I write the tunes I should know on these little cardboard circles. I put them in the bag and draw them out randomly. The "game" I play with myself is to keep the "bag of buttons" alive in a performing repertoire. Now, I always have a lyric book handy beacause i don't gi enough to keep them all straight. Instrumentaly, I think I try to keep about 30 alive at a time. It is difficulty, beacuse of the "sameness" of some and the diffculty of others.

Comment by Strumelia on November 30, 2012 at 11:45am
That's a great system, Tim. I'd rather play 30 tunes in a strong personal way, or even just 15, than play 100 tunes in a less connected way. The great late old-time fiddler Tommy Jarrell only really had about 35 tunes in his personal repertoire- most old-time musicians are shocked when they learn that. In this age of ipods loaded with hundreds of tunes available at our fingertip, I think some people may get lost and discouraged needlessly, drowning in a sea of tunes they will never take to their heart.
Comment by Tim Twiss on December 1, 2012 at 7:18am


Today, I'll do Gas Light Jig and Fisher's Jig. Gas Light took some adjusting. This is one where I think "Rice" even though there are 2 sharps. The open " note on the bottom , providing a move of pull offs to the open string, combined with the ease of constructing the ascending high runs led me to that choice. Fishers had been alive in my rotation, so it should go down well. Later....

Comment by Tim Twiss on December 1, 2012 at 2:43pm

Gas Light Jig - Funny one, as it seems to start in the key of "A" , but cadences into "D".

Comment by Tim Twiss on December 1, 2012 at 8:05pm

Got those 2 down, and snuck in The Major's Jig. Played it Briggs' style. The first motif is recognizable. The high second part was short and laid well, so it did not take long to get it.

Comment by Tim Twiss on December 2, 2012 at 10:35pm


Added the high Butcher's Jig and Fireman's Jig. Butchers has some interesting rhythmns....tied 16ths into triplets. Firemans' Jig. On my CD Grape Vine Twist, I altered the rhythmn a bit. Here, i played it as written....specifically the second line. Funky and syncopated stuff going here.


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