Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo



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 December 3, 2012 at 10:04am

12/3/12 The Newton Jig. It is trickey, but I have done it before. It is amazing how muscle memory comes back to recall the music. Even if a piece does not stay current, the work of learning it always pays off. Can't quite get to it now, but today sometime. It just takes time...to get a good take, edit (trim ends), convert, and finally post on site.

Comment by Tim Twiss on December 3, 2012 at 10:00pm

Slipped in The Newton Jig. RH is 50%....can really feel the difference.

This is one of the funkier syncopated ones....try it!


Comment by Tim Twiss on December 3, 2012 at 11:12pm

Also played Power of Music as played by Jas. Carrol. An easy one stuck in the midst of this fiddle insanity. Interesting by it's change of time signature halway through the tune. The RH made playing this one tonight a good choice. Crazy weather in Mich today.

Comment by Tim Twiss on December 4, 2012 at 9:54pm


Today, I added page 71, which includes The Sanford Jig, The Great Eastern Jig, and The pea-Patch Jig.

Sanford is short, and almost like an exercise. It's easy position shifts and short length make this one a good choice if you want to venture up higher on the neck. Great Eastern I thought would elude me, but it came back pretty quick. Briggs' on this one. Finally the awesome, funky, and unique PEA-PATCH JIG. I think i got the best feel yet, but it needs percussion to really lay it in the pocket. I know the last phrase is seen with a G natural sometimes....in Ryan's i believe. Not astrong enough case for me to change it here however...AS IS! 

Comment by Tim Twiss on December 5, 2012 at 9:31am


Did Hall's Jig this morning. RH is 43%....good. Hall's lay really well. It was easy, so anybody looking out for tune types like this, grab hold. Next up is Aunt Sally....which I can only think of "Bibiddy Bobiddy Boo" or something like that.

Comment by Tim Twiss on December 6, 2012 at 9:43am


Moving forward....one tune at a time. Today, Aunt Sally's Jig....I did take some liberty in swinging the sixteenth notes. I just felt it, especially with the triplet figure in there so often. Also, as can happen...i found a note i had been playing wrong. I am thinking "Rice" (an E thumb string) and had been playing G as a G sharp. It took a few minutes to rearrange it in my brain, but laid down well. I was quite pleased with the result of this tune. They all came back...there is no wasted time in learning any song. It stays in there somewhere.

Comment by Tim Twiss on December 6, 2012 at 10:27pm

I was able to add The Jeffrie's Jig tonight. Things are going down easier overall than I anticipated, but there are several difficult ones ahead. They are not nearly as intimidating as they were the first time.

Comment by Tim Twiss on December 7, 2012 at 9:38am


Able to add The Bunch Jig this morning. Next is Empire Hornpipe. It sounded familiar, so I poked around and found it in Buckley 1868. There, it is written with 4 sharps (key of E) with the flagged thumb string as E and the rhythmns are dotted. Clearly shows that 2 sharps in Buckley 1860 implied D as the thumb string.

Comment by Tim Twiss on December 8, 2012 at 10:06pm


Added Empire Hornpipe and J. Mullen's Schottisch. Single line arrangements of schotisch and polkas are hit and miss in their success of being a good arrangement. They really come alive with harmony under it. The little half steps and key changes are difficult on unacompannied fretless. I'll come back and do a more "artistic" version later with other instruments. The tune is god.

Comment by Tim Twiss on December 9, 2012 at 12:45am

Jeez....awful spelling. Sorry.


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