Minstrel Banjo/Rhiannon Giddens

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by slauson slim, Apr 25, 2021.

  1. slauson slim

    slauson slim Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Fascinating history and construction of minstrel banjos - gut strings, no frets - plus Rhiannon Giddens. Familiar headstock shape on an early banjo. Her interview by Steve Earle piqued my interest.

     
    Dave Hicks, scook, stxrus and 4 others like this.
  2. Tall-Fir

    Tall-Fir Tele-Meister

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    I love her playing style, and I think she is an extraordinary artist. Hope she reaches her goals with her terrific musicianship featuring the 5 string claw hammer banjo.

    My twin brother was a fine claw hammer player. We had a three piece string band back in the 70s. We also had a fiddle player, while I sang and played the guitar.

    BTW my brother made several of his own banjos. We played unamplified and I liked the sound of the fretted ones over his fretless ones. He always used steel strings though which gave his instruments a brighter bold sound which is much different than the sound of a banjo with gut strings. The video above clearly demonstrates the extraordinary beauty of the claw hammer banjo sound using gut strings.

    Thank you for posting the informative video on Rihannon Giddens, what an artist!
     
  3. trapdoor2

    trapdoor2 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Her minstrel banjo is a replica of a Levi Brown banjo made in the 1840s. I've played the original hers was based on. She is indeed amazing.

    Miz Diane bought me a Hartel Ashborn for our 20th anniversary and I picked it up from James H. at our Early Banjo Gathering in 2007. James is a great maker.

    If you look thru the pix on James' "artists" page, you'll find me sitting on a wall, wearing a goofy period hat and playing my brand-new Hartel Ashborn banjo.

    http://www.minstrelbanjo.com/MUSICIANSindex.html

    I just realized that the picture to the left of Rhiannon is Bob Winans, playing my banjo on the same day, same wall. Bob owns the 1852 original mine is copied from...and he also owns the original that Rhiannon's is copied from. Another wonderful human.

    I've studied this era and the banjo style (we call it "Stroke Style") since the 90s. I like to call it "proto-clawhammer" too.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2021
    slauson slim and Fretting out like this.
  4. stxrus

    stxrus Poster Extraordinaire

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    Cool video. Thanks for enlightening me
     
  5. cowboytwang

    cowboytwang Poster Extraordinaire

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    I did sound for Rhiannon a few times, years ago, and she inspired me to make my own banjos.
    About 11-12 years ago I made a couple tack head banjos out of gourds and a salad bowl.

     
    trapdoor2 and slauson slim like this.
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