Hello Gentlepeople,

I have been a banjoist for 30 plus years, and have recently been diving deep into classic style. I am looking for recommendations on building my repertoire.  Currently I have "The Palladium Rag" and "The Berkeley March" learned. And am arranging "The Chrysanthemum" by Joplin. There is SO MUCH music available here, but I would love to get a few "standards" under my fingers.


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Ha! I just answered my own question. I found the song list on the ABF site. That will do.

What I generally hear or play at rallies seem to vary rally to rally and person to person-- we all have our favorites.

Ragtime Episode, Eno

Banshee, Grimshaw (played as fast as possible for some reason)

Darktown Dandies, Morley

Freckles, Morley

Mister Jollyboy, Grimshaw

Smiler Rag (this was never officially published as a banjo solo).

Calliope Rag, Robert Darch (this is a fairly modern piece that was not published, nor composed, during the "classic era")

Whistling Rufus.  This was published by Clifford Essex but a strain was omitted.  When this is played that part of the trio is added but this was not published during the "classic era"  

In fact, I'll add the comment here that a surprising number of Boomer standards were not published for banjo during the classic era.  These tend to be piano rags that were arranged for banjo during the post The Sting ragtime revival. 

Most of these pieces are pretty difficult IMO.  I am not a professional musician and to me music is a way to take time for myself, sort of therapy.  I personally enjoy playing (reading off of the page) A notation short pieces such as those published by Stewart or Gatcomb.   I also like the "jigs, reels, hornpipes, clogs" type two part pieces that are found in the tutors. 

That said, if playing with others is what you want to do then learn all the basics and get good at reading.  I can sit in on most pieces just by reading along.  This skill comes in real handy. 

Thanks Joel. I have some sight reading ability with "C" notation. With "A" notation I have to transpose as I read it. Not sure I'll ever get there with A notation. Thanks again for the list of tunes.

I was going to mention the ABF list of standards...but I got sidetracked.

Amazingly, Bill Talley's "Banjo Jukebox" is still up and running. There, you can find his list of additional ABF standards as well as his favorites...which are good ones.


Like Joel, I prefer the sweet and simple. I've been to the "hard and fast" and have finally decided I no longer want to expend the brain power required. A. J. Weidt's compositions are a great balance of "tuneful" and "intermediate" (many are easy). And...they're seemingly endless.

If you prefer tab to notation, let me know. If I don't have it already, I'll put it in the queue for you.

Thanks Tb2. That helps too. Thanks also for the tab offer. But I prefer to read the dots.

Weidt!  Yeah, I almost forgot.  Sweet Corn, Dat Yam Rag,  Pink Lemonade, and That Banjo Rag come up.  Good stuff.  What I like about Weidt is his use of counterpoint which is pretty limited on the banjo.  His guitar work was Cleary an influence. 

Another we tend to break out into at random is Tyro Mazurka from the Van Eps book.  This is not difficult but has some fun chords. 

Back to me... one of my go to things for fooling around in the evening is the Jacob's Banjo Collections.  I printed all the 5 string issues out and bound them together with a comb binder.   This does not stray far from my stand.  This collection has a great mix of formerly A notation pieces from the Gatcomb library,  popular piano pieces in excellent arrangements for banjo, as well as banjo specific compositions (such as those by Armstrong, Lansing and Weidt).  This is some of the most mistake free music I know of.

That's a great idea Joel. I may do the same thing with the Jacob's collection.

Hi David, Now that A.J Weidt has been mentioned, I arranged 4 of his lesser know tunes some time back that you might want to have a look at and listen to. They're all in the library with midis. 'Here They Come' and' Queen City' are two very  good marches and the other two are 'Ken-Tuc-Kee', a fox trot and one of his early tunes published in 1899,'Koonville Koonlets'. I'd forgotten about the first two so I intend to give them a run through as soon as time permits (She who is to be obeyed always seems to find something for me to do each time I pick up my banjo!).....Steve.

hanks Steve

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