This is a pretty good deal if you live in eastern Massachusetts and are for some reason looking for a banjo mandolin.

...with the caveat that the action may be terrible. I got my banjomando for even less than this via craigslist and it was basically unplayable. Had to have a luthier shave the heel to fix the action. The eventual total cost was still reasonable, although I never play the thing.

facebook.com/marketplace/item/

Story about the American Banjo Fraternity: Pete Seeger included contact information for the ABF in an appendix of his book "How to Play the 5-String Banjo," which was tremendously popular during the folk scare of the 1950s and 1960s.

Apparently the secretary of the ABF at that time was a real right wing asshole, so when people would write for information and mention that they'd heard about the American Banjo Fraternity in Seeger's book, he would write back to them basically saying "Go to hell, you pinko commie beatnik hippie, " and so there were a whole lot of potential members turned away... like, enough to do genuine damage to the ABF's original mission of preserving the classic-style banjo that had fallen out of popularity and public consciousness by the 1950s.

Show thread

Just re-upped my American Banjo Fraternity* membership, better late than never.

banjofraternity.org

*Despite the name, ABF is not gender-exclusive. You should join if you're interested in pre-country/folk/bluegrass 5-string banjo music.

, "Briggs' Breakdown" from from Briggs Banjo Instructor (1855) I recorded a few years back. Audio boosted, pretty noisy :briggsbook:

Getting reacquainted with this instrument that I set aside for a while for various reasons (pardon the messy strings, a couple of the pegs slipped and unwound at one point, which was partly why I set it aside)

Remembering the chronology of this project a little better now that I'm thinking of it, and I'm a little dismayed to realize it was actually *eight* years ago I started fooling around with it.

Most of my motivation at the time was wanting a "real" minstrel (tension hoop and adjustable brackets vs tackhead, the only functional difference being the ability to tighten the head when it sags in humid weather) which I did not own at the time.

Not long after abandoning my own efforts I did acquire such a banjo through other means, and so my itch was scratched for a good long while; a few years later I began focusing on slightly newer music, played on more modern, fretted instruments, so it's just been hibernating, mostly out of sight out of mind.

I certainly don't *need* another banjo but I've been bitten by my older fascination of making objects that make music, and as I mentioned the other day, Boucher's banjos were beautiful objects in and of themselves, I'd love to have a clone hanging on the wall even if I don't wind up playing it much.

Show thread

It's player, and pilot John Hartford :johnhartford: who's a little bit outside the historic banjo figure milieu, but he did have an ear in the past while still doing his own thing. He's someone I greatly respect and admire and wish I had been able to meet youtube.com/watch?v=onWArx6Ui1

Show thread

It's and maker William Esperance Boucher, whose company was one of the first to mass-produce banjos starting in the mid-. :wb:

Show thread

Cleaned up the C minor transcription I made last fall and added a tab staff because why not? (Whoops, that C chord in measure 12 should be a C minor)

Show thread

I just encountered this as a direct-to-facebook video post, and wanted to make sure it was available elsewhere. The sound quality is dreadful but it's still fantastic.

William J. Ball was an incredible classic style banjo player - there are some clips of him from the 1980s on YouTube that I should mirror as well peertube.social/videos/watch/3

I have so many musical irons in so many fires right now, but I got bitten by the plectrum/jazz bug tonight; I acquired this wonderful Paramount Style A last year and earlier this year I put LaBella 17 nylon strings on it, which was a game changer. I've been playing on nylon strings for so long that any calluses I had from my clawhammer days are long gone.

Just a week or so before the pandemic really started to hit my neck of the woods, I found out about a jug band open session near me and I was super-excited to finally have a chance to work on my plectrum chops, but then of course everything went sideways.

The @magicians project will give me more of an excuse to tinker with early jazz/blues plectrum banjo, but I need to get some other stuff cleared off my metaphorical desk before I can really dig into it.

Meanwhile, here's the verse of 'Louisiana Fairytale', marginally played.

peertube.social/videos/watch/c

It's Philadelphia banjo maker, composer, writer and publisher Samuel Swaim Stewart :sss:

Show thread

Thank you to everyone who bought some music yesterday. It's super-encouraging and makes a person want to record more!

I've just added printed sheet music of yesterday's 'Funeral March' to my bandcamp merch section; your choice of Notation + Tab, or Notation only. Includes a digital download of the track itself.

magicians.bandcamp.com/merch/f

Show more

Who Runs Banjotown?'s choices:

Banjotown

The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!