Alright, 

So it may be the most mediocre rendition of Joe Morley's a Banjo Oddity ever played, but this morning I was able to play the piece in its entirety without making too many mistakes. I must say that I was quite proud. I just wanted to share this with others

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Brilliant!  Mistakes don't matter to anyone but you, they are the reason to practise. If we never made mistakes anyone could play the banjo. Whenever anyone points out my mistakes I simply tell them that it was a good job that they were here to spot them, and then hand them the banjo and ask them to show me how to play it correctly... they soon shut up :-)

Well done indeed... now the tricky bit:   Place video camera on its tripod (aka the one eyed video monster) and play it again with the red light on .......  staring at you.   :-)

We await a video.  Keep us informed of progress!

Wow, thanks for the encouraging words. You truly are... "The Really Nice Man". 

thereallyniceman said:

Brilliant!  Mistakes don't matter to anyone but you, they are the reason to practise. If we never made mistakes anyone could play the banjo. Whenever anyone points out my mistakes I simply tell them that it was a good job that they were here to spot them, and then hand them the banjo and ask them to show me how to play it correctly... they soon shut up :-)

Well done indeed... now the tricky bit:   Place video camera on its tripod (aka the one eyed video monster) and play it again with the red light on .......  staring at you.   :-)

We await a video.  Keep us informed of progress!

I call "mistakes" variations.  As in...

"I think you missed a few notes there." 

"No, that is a variation from my arrangement."

This is also more of a luxury for me, but anyways, I may also have found a period banjo from the early 20th century for a price well within my budget (an RS Williams). Great fun.

I have not held one of those but I have viewed many online and they look like great Stewart knockoffs.

If it is this one... https://www.banjohangout.org/classified/68004

I think he could do a little better on the price given that real SSS Universal Favorites in similar condition have sold for around $400US on Ebay recently.  Despite the wishes of dealers, "collectors," and people who are looking to unload accumulated banjos, the "going" prices of classic era banjos has all but tanked.

These used to have wider appeal in that "old time" banjoists would try and make them work for that style.  Now that there are much better "old time" specific banjos being built that are designed for that style the market for these is pretty small.

I would take a good look at the split heel as a good repair should be nearly invisible and that one is pretty blaring.

Note** these were not made by S. S. Stewart, they are copies that were made in Canada.  But I think they are pretty cool.

Yeah, as a Canadian It is all the more appealing hehe. As far as I could learn, they are either knockoffs of the SS Stewart or actually made by SS Stewart but were marketed in Canada under another name. Apparently the RS Williams Company was well regarded in Canada for its pianos, so I can very well imagine a well known US company subcontracting banjo making in Canada to a well established piano maker. Anyway, part of the fun of the banjo is the history.

As for the price, the seller had it listed for a much lower price on another classifieds site, so he agreed to sell it at the price.
And I will also be visiting a specialized folk music store this weekend that does carry some vintage banjos, so I'm excited about what I may or may not find.

There is no indication that SSS ever took on contract work for private label during his life time. He died in 1898 and through skulduggery and subterfuge his partner George Bauer took control of the company.  By 1900 they had moved locations and Stewart and Bauer Co. were making banjos that were sub-par to previous outputs.  Cost cutting caused the quality to suffer as shown by examples made after SSS' passing.

But that has nothing to do with Williams banjos.  I can tell immediately that they were made by different hands on different machines.  These were not made by any form of "Stewart" subsequent companies (Stewart & Bauer, The Bauer Co).

Does not mean that they are not good banjos. In a way, the knock off factor has charm.

 The RS Williams banjos are fairly close SS Stewart copies, but otherwise there is no affiliation. The company operated out of Toronto, and the banjos were made, as I understand it, in Oshawa (a town about 40 miles further east, for you non-Canucks). 

The success of Stewart's fine looking banjos begat anonymous knock-offs and the "borrowing" of his distinctive peghead shape by a number of prominent US makers. (Lyon & Healey, Bay State, T&O/Luscomb,  etc.) 

RS Williams are about the only established firm that made close SSS imitations labelled as being their own product. Perhaps they were protected from lawsuit by the international border. 

I may regret this, but I uploaded two videos of me attempting to play banjo. Any constructive feedback will be noted and appreciated.

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