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Jul 4, 2020 - 9:02:14 PM
5 posts since 8/31/2011

Can anyone recommend an encyclopedic source of old-time banjo tunes?

I’m looking for a standard source in one volume, similar to Milner-Koken’s volume on fiddle tunes.

I’ve been through the common methods books. Rosenbaum’s being the most valuable to me.

Jul 4, 2020 - 9:06:47 PM



164 posts since 4/14/2014

There's a fake book out there with mostly clawhammer songs transcribed by Ken Perlman, Bob Carlin, and Harry Sapoznik. It's just called "The Banjo Player's Fake Book".

Edited by - Tweelo on 07/04/2020 21:07:58

Jul 4, 2020 - 9:10:36 PM
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164 posts since 4/14/2014

Tim Jumper' "Banjo Player's Songbook" has a ton of songs, though not all are OT. It's still a great book because Tim's arrangements are so clean. They are a good springboard for making more involved versions of the songs.

Jul 4, 2020 - 10:44:39 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)


23805 posts since 6/25/2005

There aren’t that many “banjo tunes” tht originated with and are played mainly on the banjo. Most banjo tunes are also fiddle tuness, and the Milliner-Koken book is the best compendium available.

Jul 5, 2020 - 3:01:11 AM
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535 posts since 7/4/2017

Doesn't exist as far as I am aware.

I think your best bet would be to gather a number of books(and printed sheet tab) together even though you would obviously have plenty of 'double ups'.

Dan Levensons Old Time Festival tune book has lots of tunes. Brad Leftwich's book is the most definitive roundpeak book available. Ken Perlman has a new Appalachian fiddle tunes book out.

Plenty of banjo hangout tab available, and the Tater Joe website has lots and lots.

Jul 5, 2020 - 7:35:10 AM
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56 posts since 12/6/2019
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I've been going through the Milliner/Koken tune list on slippery hills website since I got back into old time music a year or two ago. After a little more digging, I realized that Koken was Walt! My old banjo mentor. I grew up watching him and Clare (and a number of others) play old fiddle tunes around Steelville, PA and man those guys can play. Walking encyclopedias. There is quite a group of old time musicians in that area of Pennsylvania. I was a punk with a fretless mountain banjo I could barely play but they were always the most humble welcoming folks. I can't read music so the Milliner/Koken book isn't the most useful to me as a player, but it's an amazing resource just as a compilation of old time tunes. Shouldn't be hard to track down Recordings on the list and pick them out by ear, or if you can read, adapt the tunes for the banjo. A good number of them (maybe most of them?) are designed for banjo/string band accompaniment

Jul 5, 2020 - 2:17:52 PM

1673 posts since 4/10/2005

There was an indie compendium being sold out of McCabe's on the West Coast for a while there. Skeletal tab arrangements of a vast array of oldtime clawhammer tunes rendered in a Round Peak-inspired style that you could rearrange or build on at will. Can't recall the gent's name, and I think he has passed away. It was a fine resource.

Jul 5, 2020 - 8:43:40 PM



3043 posts since 8/7/2008

Steve Parker, an old friend... great guy, miss him. Do believe this is the book you're referring to

Edited by - RG on 07/05/2020 20:44:09

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