Recently a banjo friend offered a very large number of BMG magazines to help fill the gaps in the John Field LIBRARY.  After a LOT of work scanning I can now announce that all the following PDFs are available for FREE download.

Also they have all been processed using Adobe Acrobat Pro to produce clean OCR versions of the files, so when you download the PDF you can use your browser or Adobe Reader to find any text that you are interested in.

Thank you to all concerned in helping the BMG LIBRARY expand and I know that it is being used by not only the B but the M and G players and researchers around the world.

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I am already using the OCR feature in these new additions to the JF Library to round off my bio of Bert Bassett.  It's a great help.

The OCR is sometimes a bit approximate and I keep coming up with a reference to a banjo player by the name of Oily Onkley.  Whatever became of him?



Ah yes!   Old Oily was a slippery character and not a patch on his cousin, so I guess that is why we hear so little of him. Thank goodness for OCR!

I have recently replaced all BMGs from 1903 to 1940 with "Upgraded EXACT OCR", or that is what Adobe claim, so you may even find second cousins now ;-)

Good luck with Old Bertie's Biog.

This collection of BMG magazines is such a valuable resource, I really appreciate it being made available  - THANKS VERY MUCH :)

Well done Ian, what a job!

Belated thanks for this, it’s wonderful: I only found out about it a week or so ago.

I read BMG from about 1962, and was always on the lookout for back-issues. I went to university with John Field, and we remained lifelong friends (in fact, we wrote joint articles for BMG in the ’70s). If anyone would like to hear to some long-lost recordings of John playing Bluegrass banjo with Malcolm Price and his Trio, they can be found on my website:

I did notice one slight glitch: the picture of the June 1956 edition is correct, but the download gives the July edition, as does July itself. Presumably, since the June picture is correct, a scan of that edition exists somewhere?

Thank you Paul,

The glitch identified and corrected. The June scan was hiding on an old backup drive in my office... phew, lucky that I do keep back-ups!

Many thanks, Ian! And I couldn’t agree more about back-ups.

Hi again Ian,

Just to say that, for my own purposes I have indexed much of the content, and have published an index of all the classical guitar music from 1956 onwards. It is here:

Of course, I realise that this is not of much interest to banjoists. But if anyone has the time and energy to extend the index (I’m pretty much burnt out right now), I should be happy to provide a copy of the Filemaker database I’ve compiled, and to publish the results when done.

Alternatively, tab-separated text would be usable.

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