Hi everyone. Both a new member of the forum, and I've arrived armed with a "new" banjo too.

I'm a complete newcomer to the banjo, and recently got myself this late 19th century (or sometime between 1880 and 1905 from what I can discern) 7-string zither banjo by Howard's in Manchester.

I'm not necessarily looking to restrict myself to specific banjo music on it, as I want to be freer than that, which is why this forum appealed. I don't want to be just rattling out rolls at breakneck speed, that's not the forte of these instruments anyway from what I can glean. As I really ought to have some "structure" to my learning, I considered stringing this in gDADGAD tuning, and have ordered a mixture of strings from Clifford Essex (a 7 string banjo set, and a classic guitar set) and Eagle Music (steel loop end 1st, 2nd, and 7th) to play around with. I think the slower pace (typically) of DADGAD fingerstyle guitar should work well on this, and I have a couple of books on the way to work from.As I get a better appreciation of the instrument, I may well change tack in terms of tuning and what I want to play on it.

I've also bought a replacement vellum, but to be perfectly honest, I'm not sure it needs it. But what do I know? I've currently got the pot stripped down to clean it out, and clean up the metalwork a little. I'm not intending polishing, or removing all of its acquired character, just doing a little "housekeeping" before I fit the new strings. I'm planning on putting the original velum back on, and keeping the new one as a spare, just in case I do the head a mischief in my initial experimentation.

I look forward to learning from you all, and if there's anything in what I've said so far that soiunds abysmally wrong, please don't be shy in letting me know.


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Oops! Thankfully this happened in the comfort of my own home. I'm not trying to earn money with my musical fumblings. Maybe I should! I won't make any money from playing, but I might find people who'll pay me to stop...

I vaguely remember a friend of mine having one of those capos, maybe 30 years ago. I think he had "premature discharge" problems with it too. He certainly doesn't use one anymore.

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