Wow! I haven't put anything up on here in almost 18 months! Well, since then TFS (short for "The Fair Sandra") and I have made several Princess cruises (to the Baltic, Hawaii, southern Caribbean, and a Transatlantic from the UK to the USA by way of Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland).
In the banjo world I have acquired two new banjos - well, one "new" and one "new/old": A new reproduction of the 1850's "Boucher" fretless minstrel banjo built by Terry Bell, and a 1925 Vega Style N conversion done by Gary Schattl.
I'm using the Boucher to teach myself the minstrel "stroke" style of playing, something I've always been curious about. I suppose I could have worked on the style with *ANY* banjo but having a fretless Boucher with the 12" skin head and nylgut strings really gives a more authentic sound and makes the style more fun for learning and experimentation.
The Vega satisfies a long-held desire to have a pre-WWII open-back banjo with which to seriously pursue classic-style finger-playing. It has a Remo Renaissance head and Chris Sands nylon classic banjo strings, and with the "Little Wonder" tone ring it really is a great-sounding banjo for classic-style playing! I am really having a ball trying to master this style.
I still play "Snowflake" in Bluegrass every so often (but no longer very fast) and I also try to keep up on the Victor Banjola as I use that sometimes for church music.
All of this pursuit of varied styles is in hopes of being able to more effectively present my "History of the 5-string Banjo in America" lecture by being able to actually demonstrate various styles on appropriate instruments, rather than to just "talk" about them.
Now, back to working on Bach's "Minuet in G" and Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag", both in the "classic" style. ;-)