I started tenor on my grandfather's banjo... but his instrument wasn't nearly as good as yours!
Buddy Wachter is probably the best jazz tenor banjoist around. Eddy Davis is right up there, too. Look them up on YouTube Also, do a search on YouTube for WyattUrban. He specializes in filming banjo performances. His father was a tenor banjoist.
Here's my former teacher, Roy Smeck, back in 1926. The banjo is at the end of the video:
diarmaid, I think I'll go with flatfoot's suggestion, and give either a try. However, I may gravitate towards Irish music.
NYCJazz, I think I'll try teach myself some rudimentary stuff before I think about lessons. As for the book, I'll order one, once I get the proper funds. I'm pretty lacking in resources, so maybe I'll have it in a couple months.
VividBlack, If youre more likely to play Irish stuff, i would recommend tuning it gdae and using mandolin strings on it, or Tom Cussens Clareen banjo strings. Theres some really great instructional material for playing Irish stuff tuned gdae, by Gerry O'Connor, and recently, stuff by Enda Scahill (Banjoed is Enda Scahills banjo hangout username).
heres some free lessons from youtube to get you started theyre played on the mandolin, but the tuning and finger positioning is identical to a gdae tuned tenor banjo, before this, it would be worth learning simple scales, which should be practiced until thy can be played fluidly and effortlessly up and down, later adding ornamentation as you progress. http://www.youtube.com/results?sear...conyard&aq=f
If you think it needs restoring, don't try and do it yourself...take it to at least one professional luthier for opinions. I learned the hard way...I inherited my Dad's Epiphone Peerless tenor 45 years ago and because I didn't know any better, it ended up being butchered.
While most Irish players tune GDAE, Gerry O'Connor, arguably the best there is, plays in standard tenor tuning--CGDA. His book is tabbed in GDAE, but he notes that he doesn't normally play in that tuning.
Gerry usually capoes up two and plays daeb which suits his style a lot better. But I have seen him play GDAE with amazing results, too.
You have, as you have probably surmised, a professional level banjo, one that is loved by all :grin: and one that a lot of people would like to have. The Epi A is suitable for all sorts of music and especially prized by Irish players. When I was your age I was offered a B&D Silver Bell and having such a great instrument meant a lot to me over the years as not only was it a blast to play, but the quality of sound made me want to play better.
Depending on where you live, you can have that banjo looked at by an expert or you can post pictures - show as much of the banjo in several pictures as you can - and the experts here can comment. Setting it up for the music of your choice will not be a problem, in fact I would be glad to contribute a bridge and some strings for your style if you need one. We can steer you towards good teachers and other resources as you need them, too.
I've been playing Irish since Pontius was a Pilot, and have never felt the need to stray from GDAE. But whatever does it for you, go with it. If you use tabs, bear in mind that the vast majority are published in that tuning. Triplets rule!
Come winnow all my folly and you may find A grain or two of truth amongst the chaff. ...........W.S. Gilbert
VividBlack, check out my free tenor instructional book (free computer PDF file download) described in the instructional materials section of the classifieds on the forum. It's the "For Trade" (not actually a trade but free) and is the seventh item listed. The book is about building chords graphically but includes chord theory for both CGDA and GDAE tenor tunings. I think you will find parts of it helpful in understanding your Mel Bay book. Great banjo! Have fun with it.