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9. So far

Posted by Rob MacKillop on Saturday, September 27, 2008

So far I've had a peek at minstrel stroke style, Irish tenor style, five minutes of Scruggs style (my brain couldn't cope with the rolls and the volume) and two days ago Brad Leftwich's Round Peak Style dropped through my letter box.

I was turned on to Round Peak (RP) style by the videos of Tom Collins - what a great player and communicator he is. I just loved his videos with fiddle players. There is something about the RP style which just sits beautifully with OT fiddle - a perfect marriage. I've read on this site how difficult the tab is in Brad's book, but I don't see the problem. If all else fails, read the instructions...it's all there. The one thing which is not fully explained is the raising or sharpening of a note by an unmeasured microtone. This he indicates with a + sign to the right of the fret number. Brad's playing on the accompanying CD is exemplary. What a great resource this man is. I might get his fiddle books just to hear him play and read his comments.

For me, the downside is not having a fiddle player around who comes close to RP style. Another drawback is not knowing the melodies of the songs properly. You can more or less get it from the tab, but the banjo doesn't allways clearly deliniate between melody and riffing between lines. I'm trying to learn Breaking Up Christmas - but with difficulty.

I started a Minstrel Banjo social network a couple of days ago. I have one or two worries about doing so. Some might see it as unneccessary as minstrel players already use BHO and they also have a Google discussion group. However, I have found it difficult navigating BHO for all-things minstrel, plus my feeling is that some minstrel players don't contribute here because they are very much in a minority and might feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff here (it is indeed a very large site now - and very useful, of course). My experience in setting up an Early Guitar network led me to believe that the minstrel guys would actually appreciate having their own site. So I set it up with the understanding that if it doesn't work out, I could take it down in an instant. We shall look at it in a month's time to see whether it is worth maintaining. I don't want to step on anyone's toes, so all comments welcome and will be respected and considered.


2 comments on “9. So far”

FretlessinTexas Says:
Saturday, September 27, 2008 @11:10:13 AM


That's one of my favorite tunes and I will get around to posting it soon. But I thought you might be interested in this excellent CD called "Breaking Up Christmas: A Blue Ridge Mountain Holiday."

Paul Brown, a newscaster/reporter for National Public Radio who is himself a musician, served as producer and host of a 1996 award-winning NPR music special, "Breaking Up Christmas: A Blue Ridge Mountain Holiday." The radio show included personal recollections of "Breakin' Up Christmas" experiences by old-time musicians, classic recordings of traditional songs, and performances on location at "Breakin' Up Christmas" celebrations in Beulah NC , Toast NC , Oak Grove NC and Damascus VA.

The CD is available from County Records/Sales in Floyd VA, a venue on The Crooked Road. www.countysales.com or call 540-745-2001.


Rob MacKillop Says:
Saturday, September 27, 2008 @1:40:48 PM

Looks good, Dean. Thanks for the notice. Looking forward to your recording.


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