Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I'm licking my chops.....looking at that Green Converse Book. When to start...? I seem to get posessed by it once I start, so I have to make sure the rest of life is in order first...ha ha.

I plan on that and the Buckley 1868 soon.

Views: 360

Comment by Tim Twiss on January 22, 2013 at 1:36pm


I'm in minor jig heaven right now. Try Pea Nut Gal, and Charlie is My Darling.

The wonderful, organized, and varied GREEN CONVERSE.

Comment by Tim Twiss on January 22, 2013 at 9:44pm

Mickey Malooney is done. On the the Guitar Style section.

Okay...I'm going in without a fretted. Wish me luck.

Comment by Tim Twiss on January 22, 2013 at 10:27pm

Steppin' in, and I grabbed "New York March".

Comment by Tim Twiss on January 24, 2013 at 8:10am


I hit a wall at the guitar style section. The longer low tuned Boucher seems difficult to play and intonate this stuff...with it's specific chords and inversions....especially things like 4th position on 4th string and 1st position 2nd string played together. Hitting that and being in tune was a problem. I am tuning up the shorter Boucher to E and trying that. The shorter scale and increased tensionseems to make it doable. Still rather have frets....but there is something to this tension factor.

Comment by Tim Twiss on January 24, 2013 at 9:38am

So....I am going to stop on page 38 for now. I deleted New York March. This tuned up Boucher is going to work, but I want to be in it for a while before I start recording. So, This book may end up in 3 small volumes. 

Comment by Joel Hooks on January 25, 2013 at 7:31am

The specs for making a banjo in that book give a "scale" of 27 1/2 inches on a 12 1/2 inch rim.  He also specifies smooth frets as raised frets interfere with rapid execution. (look at the fold out)

Take whiteout and dot the "frets" on the side of the neck, you can reverse it.  You can also use small stickers.

Another option is to tape it with the stuff that they put on violin necks to teach positions. Run them to the 12th and you should be good.

FBC writes about early raised fret use, but he is still pushing inlayed frets in his 1871 "The Banjoist."

Comment by Tim Twiss on January 25, 2013 at 7:56am

Still experimenting. I tuned the 27" Bell up to E, and that works well. Something about the increased tension helps the intonation. It's not so much knowing where they are...it's the responsiveness of the instrument. What is your take on the development of guitar style of play and the appearance of frets....also the increased tension of the higher tuning?

Comment by Tim Twiss on January 25, 2013 at 8:01am

Yea....just playing through stuff with the longer Boucher tuned up to E. It sounds good.....easier to execute, and the intonation problem is greatly reduced. 

Comment by Tim Twiss on January 25, 2013 at 8:09am

Maybe there is more to this E tuning than we think....

Comment by Ian Bell on January 25, 2013 at 8:23am
E/A is my default pitch. I'll sometimes tune down to match other instruments on D and G tunes. (and for the AEBG!) I think all my fretless banjos sound better higher. I like the string tension better there too.


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