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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Tenor Sheet Music

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NYCJazz - Posted - 04/30/2009:  07:27:31

Before eBay, finding sheet music for tenor was nearly impossible.

Since then, I've put together a collection of Harry Reser, Roy Smeck, Mike Pingatore, Pete Mandrell, "Banjo Bill" Morris", etc.

Anyone else collect (and use) vintage sheet music?

You don''t need any brains to listen to music. ~ Luciano Pavarotti

davidcava - Posted - 04/30/2009:  07:58:40

My girlfriend and her dad has collected a ton of old banjo sheetmusic throughout the years.....great stuff, and like you said, the internet has brought forth loads of this kind of material.....its awesome. I learning "alot" from this old sheet music.

Compass56 - Posted - 04/30/2009:  14:01:02

I've never even seen a piece of banjo sheet music. I've always enjoyed working up solo arrangements from single note melody sheets, but I've never seen banjo sheet music. i wouldn't know what it looks like!

neplusultra - Posted - 04/30/2009:  14:59:16

I have most of Reser's stuff...but I could use a scan of Pickins if anyone can help. I would love to track down the stuff by Emile Grimshaw. I had a copy of Take Your Pick once, but have no idea where is it now. His Banjo Vamp used to get a lot of play at banjo shows etc.

yellowdog - Posted - 04/30/2009:  16:48:31

I prefer using piano/vocal sheet music which has at least two piano lines of music (treble and bass clefs), chord names printed above the top line (not overly simplified but including the minor sevenths, major sevenths, etc.), and the words. And I especially like it when the music is in wire bound books so that you don't have to bend back the spine just to see the last note on the line of music. (Reading the music is tough enough not to have to put up with that kind of frustration.) The Readers Digest series of music books is a good example of this "ideal" binding.

The reason I prefer piano music instead of lead sheets or banjo music is because you really need the bass line and the "right hand" notes under the melody note to see what the composer really intended. Plus I've often found that the chord names are incorrect naming the chord that is in the notes. Also only the music shows how the interior lines of music are moving up or down beneath the melody, which even the correct chord names don't show. Another good reason to use piano music to arrange banjo pieces is that you can find it anywhere. A great source that I've used over the years is "Sheet Music Magazine", which was a monthly when I first subscribed about 20 years ago but today is a quarterly. The last issue of the year always includes an index of the tunes published that year which makes it easy to find individual tunes in the future if you stack them in order and keep the index current. I wish I was that organized. - Mine are scattered all over the house!

Frank Geiger

NYCJazz - Posted - 04/30/2009:  17:01:24


I have Pickins, and would be glad to scan it for you... Are you aware that the song Pickins and Old Town Pump are swapped on the track listing for Banjo Crackerjax?

Pickins was the first Reser solo I got off eBay, and I was baffled when I tried following the sheet music with the recording.

I do have Take Your Pick, and I'll scan that too.

As for Banjo Vamp, there is tab for it at the bottom of this page:

You don''t need any brains to listen to music. ~ Luciano Pavarotti

Edited by - NYCJazz on 04/30/2009 18:14:36

neplusultra - Posted - 04/30/2009:  19:01:43

thanks NYC...I am aware of the track listing issue on fact, I first fell in love with Pickins on a Howard Alden cassette I purchased at the Banjo Jubilee in San Jose in the late 70s...back when Howard was a regular at local banjo shows. It wasn't until years later that I got my hands of the Crackerjax LP and now CD.

Speaking of the Banjo Jubilee...we'd love to see you on the west coast September 12 & 13th. Lots of good banjo soloists and jamming in San Jose.

NYCJazz - Posted - 05/01/2009:  14:16:57


Send me your email.

I've made a PDF of Pickins.

Take Your Pick is next.

The Banjo savors strongly of the plantations through which the back streets of New York City run. ~ Joel Chandler Harris, 1883

PHIL WILKING - Posted - 05/02/2009:  08:28:00

Sign on to the Four String Banjo Mailing List at to ask for copies of old sheet music, instruction books, etc. Someone on that list sent me copies of the original British sheet music for "Take Your Pick," for example.

Don't forget the "New Orleans Banjo Rendez-Vous" in May. Details are at and can be downloaded.

Phil Wilking

NYCJazz - Posted - 05/04/2009:  08:28:28

I've posted Jpegs of Pickins to my photos folder.

Phil- Post your copy of Take Your Pick! It'll save me some scanning time!

The Banjo savors strongly of the plantations through which the back streets of New York City run. ~ Joel Chandler Harris, 1883

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