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Mar 16, 2022 - 11:06:40 AM
86 posts since 11/10/2021

Can anybody recommend me some 1920s/30s/40s/50s recordings of solo chord-melody banjoists (plectrum or tenor) that are not Harry Reser or Eddie Peabody? Thanks! :)

Edited by - adamrhowe on 03/16/2022 11:07:16

Mar 16, 2022 - 11:25:09 AM
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3035 posts since 1/15/2014

Search for Emile Grimshaw on Youtube. There are period recordings of him with his banjo quartet, and there are modern interpretations of his many compositions. He wrote for 5-string (classic style) and plectrum and played both.

Mar 16, 2022 - 11:51:56 AM
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815 posts since 10/6/2017

Mar 16, 2022 - 10:40:27 PM
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464 posts since 10/8/2018

Check out YouTube videos by the great Brad Roth.

I just chose this clip at random but every single one he has posted is of equal quality… this is solo plectrum banjo at its best…

Edited by - guitarbanjoman on 03/16/2022 22:41:09

Mar 17, 2022 - 7:21:24 AM
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3167 posts since 6/27/2013

On the plectrum side, go to Youtube on the world wide web and check out Buddy Wachter, Lee Floyd, Ken Aoki, Scotty Plummer, and Dave Marty. The inspiration for all these great players was the "man with ten-thousand fingers," Perry Bechtel. Google Perry's name for more information on this legendary banjoist.

Mar 17, 2022 - 8:53:56 AM
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9636 posts since 8/28/2013

Roy Smeck sometimes played chord-melody tenor banjo.

Mar 17, 2022 - 10:16:24 AM
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88 posts since 7/9/2012

Here's another tenor banjoist of the 20's era - Lou Calabrese playing a feature solo on "Lipstick".

He became more widely known as a bandleader in later years under the shortened moniker of "Lou Breese".

Mar 17, 2022 - 10:17:34 AM

86 posts since 11/10/2021

Thank you all this is great!

Mar 18, 2022 - 5:52:36 AM
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477 posts since 7/20/2007

I recommend that you search John Becker on Youtube. John was a professional tenor banjoist living in St. Louis who regularly performed with a lady piano player and vocalist (think "Red Hot Mama") and an American Indian who played a fretless bass guitar in the bar of the Showboat (a real one) on the Mississippi River just below the famous Arch. There is a Youtube video of john performing a solo on a stage at an advanced age with tenor banjo playing skill that is truly hard to believe. The video is really a "Must See" for tenor players because it shows what is possible with the tenor banjo. You will be amazed.


Mar 18, 2022 - 8:18:48 AM
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651 posts since 2/16/2005

In your search for chord melody players, don't forget to take a look at plectrum banjoist Don Van Palta.  He can be seen and heard on YouTube: "The World is Waiting for the Sunrise" [ ] and "Heartaches" [ ].  

Don was the banjoist with the Mickey Finn band during its years on ABC television and in Las Vegas, and then he played on cruise ships for many years.  He also wrote and published a series of six booklets of plectrum banjo chord-melody solos that are great learning tools, if you can get ahold of a set (they are now out-of-print).  SETH

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Mar 25, 2022 - 1:53:06 PM

181 posts since 1/7/2011

You can also go to Jazz Banjo Radio and listen to solo artists, tenor and plectrum 24/7


Apr 6, 2022 - 4:30:59 PM

43 posts since 2/15/2020

You should check out Ken Harvey. He was one of the greatest and very unknown. He lived in the UK but was from America, we managed to get some of his rare recordings converted to digital:

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