All Classic Banjo Ning Fans

I 'm Satoshi Hara (Samurai Banjo), a Japanese banjo player and member of the Classic Banjo Ning.

I 'm always looking forward to entertaining and enjoying the huge amount of valuable material on Classic Banjo Ning. Thank you!

I think everyone is in a difficult situation due to the spread of COVID-19. How are you doing?

An important member of my 14-member band PASCALS, which lasted 25 years, died the other day.

We have very sad days.

Earlier this year, I heard that Reuben Reubens, a British banjo collector, died. I pray for the souls from the bottom of my heart too.

A part of his banjos collection has been preserved under Akira Tsumura and now in the Hamamatsu Musical Instrument Museum in Japan.

I and world-class banjo player Ken Aoki (Akira Tsumura's banjo instructor) went to the museum for two and a half years to organize about 760 banjos including Reuben Reubens's banjo collection.

We decided to publish more than many textbooks and albums on Classic Banjo Ning site for the paper materials owned by Mr. Aoki that were collected together with these banjos collection.

They are Sheard's banjo album that was published before the first issue of BMG magazine.  & No. 13, No. 43, No. 63 from the Mohawk Minstrel Magazine.  & Walter Howard Banjo TUTOR etc.

I hope that some of the missing puzzle pieces will be filled by publishing these materials.

best regards,

Satoshi Hara

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Yes, cover that in my forthcoming article on A/C notation.

Richard William Ineson said:

Essex published some banjo solos in A notation, I've got a few in my pile.

Joel Hooks said:

I don't much care for the piece, I am interested in the idea of A notation being printed in England. It is not hard to believe that it was simply a mistake. 

Thanks so much for this.  I have been researching Banjo in New Zealand and we had a number of banjo orchestras and BMG clubs through out the country.  The town I was living in until recently, Paeroa, had a popular Mandoline, Banjo and Guitar Club in the late 1890s until at least the 1914 war.  And a number of newspaper reports list some of their programmes.  I was especially pleased to see some of the pieces this orchestra featured including their theme tune Goodbye, Dolly Grey.  I'd love to put on a concert of their material one day.  So thanks so much for this.

I don't know where this FVE arrangement came from originally, it was in a pile of music somebody gave me some years ago, but it has just occurred to me that it must have appeared in the 'Five Stringer' at some time so I should have acknowledged the FS and the ABF as its source .

Richard William Ineson said:

While it is possible that it came from the ABF library (or not, I don't know), it has not been published in the 5 Stringer.

But we appreciate the plug Richard! 

This is a guess, but isn't the key A because it's a gut string?

By 1884 it was common to pitch the banjo to C (4th string standard tuning).  Despite this change in pitch, banjo music in the US continued to be written as if the banjo was pitched to A.  

Banjos were strung with gut strings (with rare exception proving the point) until sometime near 1920 when pick played banjos became more popular with steel wire strings.

Since the banjo did not hit major popularity in England until the early/mid 1880s they started publishing music as if the banjo was pitched in C (which it was by that time.. sort of).

I have about 8 pages written for an article in the next "5-Stringer" on this subject where I flog every aspect of it to death.

Samurai Banjo said:

This is a guess, but isn't the key A because it's a gut string?

I look forward to reading that 8 (or more) page article, Joel.

I may be more confused than usual but I have a vague recollection of a long correspondence in the readers' letters page of the B.M.G. magazine from Colonel Collins who was still supporting the use of  'A' notation in the 1960s. I cannot remember who won the argument or even if there was a winner.

Jody Stecher said:

I look forward to reading that 8 (or more) page article, Joel.

Hi Richard, I read through the 1960s BMGs this morning and was not able to find anything.  I'll try the 50s when I get a chance.

Hi Joel, I've taken look and the Col. Collins correspondence seems to have started in 1953, there are letters from W.M.Brewer in the August and October issues in which he mentions criticism of his B.M.G. articles 'The Banjo in America' which Col. Collins published in the 'Five Stringer. at the time.

Joel Hooks said:

Hi Richard, I read through the 1960s BMGs this morning and was not able to find anything.  I'll try the 50s when I get a chance.

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