Banjo

“Rob brings many things to the table that the four-string banjo world desperately needs: A high level of music education/knowledge, a proven, critically-acclaimed performance record on several fretted instruments, a strong sense for historical preservation, a delicate musical touch on an instrument mostly known for loud and fast entertainment, and—the thing I personally need the most—a swift kick in the pants! He is raising the musical bar for all of us, and I for one look forward to the hard work ahead just to try to keep up.” Ron Hinkle

My Banjo Recordings

My Banjo Books

Bach on the Tenor and Cello Banjos

Classic Fingerstyle Banjo

Overview of Tenor and Plectrum Banjos

Cello Banjo

The Deering Eagle II Plectrum Banjo

Early Fingerstyle Banjo

Bradbury Studies

Frank Littig – early tenor banjo composer

The Scottish Tenor Banjo

Raising The Standard – Traditional Tenor Banjo

The Zither Banjo

The Scottish Early Ragtime Orchestra

Free Scores

Pegs on Cole Banjorine, c.1890

 

6 responses to “Banjo

  1. John W. Pierce

    Rob, don’t know how you feel about oriental music (Vietnamese, specifically) but here’s an instrument and technique you might find interesting. Sort of a three string fretless (and very long necked) banjo-like instrument, and a one finger strike-in-both-directions technique (as well as I could tell from the video). I believe this is the instrument known as the Dan Tam, but I’m not certain. If so, it’s covered with snake or lizard skin and is remarkably close to a banjo sound.

    • Cheers, John. Thanks for that – it does indeed sound like a gut-strung fretless banjo. Where is the percussion sound emanating from? Inside the body? And is it some kind of gourd? Very nice.

  2. John W. Pierce

    I’m pretty sure that the jingly percussion sound is from an instrument made from several chains of linked metal rings joined at the top and played by bouncing it up and down (by somebody off-camera). Various web pages say the dan tam has a soundboard with holes in it and is covered in snake skin. They also say it’s played with a pick as well as fingers. I saw a short video of pick playing but I accidentally closed the window and can’t find it again. Played that way, it sounded like a very deep banjo playing something close to slide Delta Blues. I couldn’t find a better description of it in English. It’s a little annoying that I don’t know more about it since I actually plucked at one a bit, a very long time ago. I’d mostly forgotten about it until somebody posted that video on the Delcamp forum. Anyway, I’m glad you found it interesting. Cheers – John.

    • There are a few moments where the jingle syncs perfectly with her finger stroke, but that might just be good ensemble playing! But it did make me wonder. There are some African instruments with jingles on the instrument. Anyway, I do appreciate hearing this. Thanks again, John.

  3. Joshua nichols

    Hey Rob, I’ve followed all your channels on youtube for a very long time. I love your work with baroque style guitars. The other day I was handed a tenor banjo that someone was trying to get rid of. I play five string and mandolin among others so im giving it a go. I’m trying to find some music to get into the repretore. I like the stuff you play on four strings and I really like the sound of Irish music but all the Irish tenor banjo players I can find play so fast that they don’t let the melody or any tone come through. Any suggestions on who I should listen to?

    • Hi Joshua,
      Thanks for your nice comments. I don’t know anyone playing the stuff I play. That’s not at all arrogant of me, it’s just that the tenor players I’ve heard play either jazz or Irish styles. I like those styles, but prefer the earlier styles which are not popular any more. More’s the pity. There are free scores elsewhere in my banjo pages, so have a look, but almost nothing in tab. You have to learn to read the dots – maybe you can already. Any questions, just ask.
      Rob

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