Looks like little is happening for now on the site.  Why is that?  I've been learning traditional clawhammer for about 2 years and using an old Kay cheapie banjo.  It's been a good learning instrument  I will have a Cammeyer banjo soon (it's with a luthier now) and am anxious to learn some classic tunes.  I tried "Sunflower Dance," and that isn't too difficult.  I am experimenting with the tutorial on the picking method used on the banjos of that era, and found that the sound, even on my little Kay does sound different in a good way, as opposed to the clawhammer way.  I think that some of the dropped thumb method could work, but it might be too soft.  I can hardly wait to get the Cammeyer and try the classic picking.

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It's the weekend, Ginny. It ebbs and flows around here. Is your Cammeyer an open back or a zither-banjo? If the latter, it has to be set up  *Just So* or it will sound unmusical. Do a site search for zither-banjo and/or zither-banjo strings and a lot of info should turn up. One more thing: there is no reason you cannot play classic banjo music on your Kay. Just put on some nylon strings. Clawhammer sounds better with soft strings anyway so you can use the same banjo for both. Also I've played and recorded clawhammer banjo using a Cammeyer Zither-banjo  (the one that got stolen in 2010)

http://classic-banjo.ning.com/profiles/blog/show?id=2667446%3ABlogP...

 with the usual combo of steel and gut and copper wound on silk (well,on nylgut actually) and it sounds great.

Hi, Jody,

Yes, I know that everyone is not on line every minute, either.  Thank you for responding so I can see that this is not a black hole.  I am interested in those old tunes when the banjos of this era were made.  It will be fun to try learn more about this as I go.

I have the zither Cammeyer.  My husband has an old friend who visited the UK about 35 years ago, and brought it back as a gift.  It's been sitting unplayed all this time, just waiting for someone to come along who is nterested, that being me!  

I saw a video you made when I first got excited and found this site.  I've seen you play around Sonoma Co, too, and love the variety of instruments and tunes that you enjoy performing.  Hope to see you again sometime.

What are your thoughts about incorporating the dropped thumb or even not just using the finger tip to play the Cammeyer?  I haven't gotten to try it, yet.  I've had fun, so far, just on the Kay.  We have had this for about 40 years, too.  There's not much to it, but it's not that difficult to play  (I'm still just beyond beginner, so lots to learn, but it's been really amazing and fun.)

Thanks, Jody, for your thoughts.

I think a zither-banjo Properly Set Up is a versatile instrument and can accommodate all techniques. But it cannot be strung all steel or all nylon. It has to be very light gauge steel for string 1,2 and 5, gut or nylon for the third string, and something along the lines of a classical guitar string (or "classic banjo" string) for the bass. Otherwise a zither-banjo is a horrible beast and not good for any kind of technique or any kind of music. There were many models of Cammeyer banjos made. Do you know your model? Some of the names were Vibrante, Vibrante Royal, and Patent. Most Cammeyer banjos have a very long scale (length from nut to bridge) so you need very light gauges of steel for the trebles. 

Another reason for the quietness at the moment is that some of the most active members are in the UK and Europe and they are eight or nine hours ahead of California and sleeping. Or ought to be.

Hi Ginny,

We have 896 members that have signed up for accounts on the site. We have a massive collection of sheet music, videos, photographies, biographies, tutor books, video lessons etc etc... but if people don't want to join in the discussions unfortunately we have no power to make them! 

We actually have over 20,000 page views per month!  Maybe it is a sign of what the Internet has become? Information is there for everyone with little effort other than the click of a Google button, so why bother to contribute???

We would all like the Classic Banjo Site to be 'buzzing" all the time with posts and discussions, but after 4+ years, much has already been said!  

Come on Members, ask questions and join in with discussions or the site may as well become "just" a normal website with no discussion Forum at all  !

Ian

Welcome to the banjo world of Ning, Ginny. There are usually some interesting discussions going on here, and we are lucky to have people like Jody, who knows a lot about all kinds of banjo playing,to share his thoughts with us. There is a lot of interesting stuff in the back pages, take a look. I have a couple of Cammeyer zither banjos and much Cammeyer music, Cam was quite a character. My favourite pieces written by the 'Great Cam' are 'Down Devon Way' 'Cornish Dance No2' 'Marche en Passant' 'Danse Bizarre' 'Don't Sigh, Don't Cry' 'Dustman's Picnic' . Cam also wrote two books, his autobiographical 'My Adventuresome Banjo' which is really a catalogue of the famous people for whom he performed and also, a booklet about banjo technique, called 'The Cultivation of the Hands' which is quite interesting, if you are interested in becoming what Cam would have called ' a finished player' finished, in what way, he doesn't say.Please post a photograph of your Cammeyer banjo, on the site.

"Much", yes. "Most"  or "the best", I hope not. What amazes me is that newcomers do not ask the same questions over and over. It's usually something new or a new angle on an old topic.

thereallyniceman said:

 after 4+ years, much has already been said!  

Indeed "Much", but NOT "Most". The Classic Banjo world is expanding so there will always be things new and old to discuss.

What confuses me is that we have many sign ups to become members and then the, very welcome, newbies do not introduce themselves or make any posts!

It would be nice to hear about their hopes and aspirations in the banjo world. Some will already be accomplished players, many will be beginners who need guidance.

Signing up is now a series of hoops to jump through in my attempt to stop the spammers and hackers breaking in. So new members, you have put a lot of effort to arrive here...why not say hello as you will be welcomed with opened arms.

Hi, Ian.

Please know that I understand your frustration in a lack of response from "members" who sign up and don't engage.  There are, surely, many reasons why this occurs, mainly, security risks, world-wide, as well as just time.  I wanted you to know that your tremendous efforts in classic banjo assistance to others is really appreciated!!!!  Your videos are understandable and clear.  It has given me a good kick-start in seeing the value in what I have at hand, and the possibilities ahead.  Thank you very much.

I have found the pictures of my Cammeyer (It is at the luthier's now for some repairs), and it does have patent numbers on it.  For security reasons, I am wondering how to have you see these without it being out there for the world.  Would you please let me know whether or not this is a concern, and I would love to share this with you.

Thanks, again.  I have many questions, and I am so glad that you are willing to spend the time with me, as well as Jody, so far!  



Jody Stecher said:

"Much", yes. "Most"  or "the best", I hope not. What amazes me is that newcomers do not ask the same questions over and over. It's usually something new or a new angle on an old topic.

thereallyniceman said:

 after 4+ years, much has already been said!  



Ginny Matheson said:



Jody Stecher said:

"Much", yes. "Most"  or "the best", I hope not. What amazes me is that newcomers do not ask the same questions over and over. It's usually something new or a new angle on an old topic.

thereallyniceman said:

 after 4+ years, much has already been said!  

Hi, Jody.  I'm trying to find my way to replying corrrectly, and not over-stepping along the way.  I don't have much experience in being a member of sites, so hope I can get some help, and not offend anyone.  It's a wonderful thing that some of you are offerring your time and advice!

It looks like the zither if have is a Patent (or is it a Patent number?)  It needed some minor cleaning up and some of the inlay needed to be reattached on the fingerboard.  The luthier is going to try to adjust the action by switching the bridge.  It seems quite high at this point.  He said that that the neck is somewhat bowed, and can adjust it by taking it off and doing a little sanding.  I suggested he try a shorter bridge, first, and we are awaiting nygut strings to be sent and then see what happens.  I sent him the suggestion about using both, nygut and steel strings, thanks to information sent by you kind gentlemen on Classic Banjo before I go off half-cocked!  Thanks, guys!

Hi, Richard.

Thanks very much for your information.  I found pictures I took of my Cammeyer zither banjo before it went to the luthier who is doing some minor work on it.  I haven't even tried to play it yet as it had pretty wasted steel strings on it.  I will try to post some pictures if I can figure it out.  Besides trying to play the banjo (still learning clawhammer traditional American fiddle tunes (and a smattering of 2-finger Bluegrass), I am trying to figure out Windows 8 and how my PC handles pictures.  It is giving me fits  I'm making some progress, but don't want to, accidentally, post a picture of my cat or something, instead of the banjo!

I'm so glad you listed some of your favorite tunes Cam composed.  Are they posted somewhere on this site?  Thank you very much!  Ginny

Richard William Ineson said:

Welcome to the banjo world of Ning, Ginny. There are usually some interesting discussions going on here, and we are lucky to have people like Jody, who knows a lot about all kinds of banjo playing,to share his thoughts with us. There is a lot of interesting stuff in the back pages, take a look. I have a couple of Cammeyer zither banjos and much Cammeyer music, Cam was quite a character. My favourite pieces written by the 'Great Cam' are 'Down Devon Way' 'Cornish Dance No2' 'Marche en Passant' 'Danse Bizarre' 'Don't Sigh, Don't Cry' 'Dustman's Picnic' . Cam also wrote two books, his autobiographical 'My Adventuresome Banjo' which is really a catalogue of the famous people for whom he performed and also, a booklet about banjo technique, called 'The Cultivation of the Hands' which is quite interesting, if you are interested in becoming what Cam would have called ' a finished player' finished, in what way, he doesn't say.Please post a photograph of your Cammeyer banjo, on the site.

Ginny, "Patent" is the name of the model. Confusing, yes.  All the models had the name and the number.  My Patent (which is in need of restoration) is Patent 4421. Apparently that means it was 4421st Cammeyer banjo made, including all models and including some of the  Essex and Cammeyer banjos that were made before Cammeyer went off on his own. Eli Kaufman was able to deduce that mine is the 626th Patent made. 

The Patent is a good banjo. And beautiful too.  All Patents I have seen have needed restoration. Dare I ask who is the luthier? There are some gooduns in north california. and some not-so-gooduns. You can respond off-line by accepting my "friend invitation". Then we can communicate privately. If I like the work of the luthier you are using I will communicate publicly. No reason to insult anyone on the internet. 

Nylgut strings are excellent for your Kay. They will make your Cam sound like a mattress with strings. (All steel strings will make it sound like tin can with strings). Try this: keep the fourth and third string from the nylgut set and use them on the Cam. They may be too heavy but they won't harm the instrument. for the fifth and first string use .008 " steel and for the B string use .10" steel.  My favorite for the bass string is an Aquila copper-wound lute string ("D type" #108 available from aquilausa.com)  but the nylgut bass might be good.

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