Trapdoor2's Blog (22)

Sylvester L. Ossman info

Somehow, I cannot post a .pdf file to the ongoing discussion, so I'll post it here.

This is the US Census record for Sylvester Ossman, Musician, for 1910. It shows the full family at the time, including Sylvester Jr.

They were living in Palisades Park, New Jersey.

Ossman Census record 1910

Added by Trapdoor2 on December 6, 2015 at 18:44 — No Comments

"Carry On" by Alfred Kirby, MIDI and TAB

Here's the MIDI and TAB for "Carry On", complete with Mike's "Intro".

"Carry On" MIDI

"Carry On" TAB

Ian, please put these in their proper place...should you be inclined to do so.



Added by Trapdoor2 on September 3, 2012 at 22:41 — 2 Comments

1880's/1890's banjo sheet music "in da house"

I nicked a box full of crumbly old sheet music offa ebay a week or so ago. Paid about $0.80 ea with shipping. See attached list for the titles, etc.

All of this stuff is American, pre 1900 and in A notation. Amazingly, not many duplicates (whew!) for me. Sure, some obvious ones like Darkey's Awakening, On The Mill Dam, Queen of the Forest, etc. However, there are a couple of previously unknown publishers (two female!) and nearly the entire output of a previously unknown (to me) New…


Added by Trapdoor2 on August 8, 2012 at 1:54 — 5 Comments

TAB for Jumbo Rag...


Jumbo Rag TAB.pdf

Added by Trapdoor2 on April 28, 2012 at 5:00 — 1 Comment

A shot rang out...!

Yesterday, I drove 2.5 hrs up to the Nashville, TN area for BUW (Breaking Up Winter). BUW is an Old-Time festival that has been held the first weekend in March for the past 15 or so years at a small State Park in Lebanon, TN (Cedars Of Lebanon State Park, no less).

This "festival" (it is really just an excuse to gather OT players and have an extended jam) is one of those places where you meet old friends, play a lot of music and unwind. I usually take a pile of banjos and spend a bit…


Added by Trapdoor2 on March 4, 2012 at 16:04 — 2 Comments

The Scorcher...

I saw this title in the random view in the new Music Library here...and knew exactly what it referenced...and knew I had to hear it.


Here's the cover art from the original piano score:



"Scorchers" were bicyclists of the 1880-1900 period who rode as fast as possible and without regard to either personal or public safety. They…


Added by Trapdoor2 on January 16, 2012 at 1:00 — 3 Comments

Cleaning house...

Well, I had a few moments today to sit down and clean out my binder of tunes. This is a three-ring binder that carries all the Classic Banjo tunes I either routinely practice, play thru or wish to work on. It has gotten to where it is overstuffed and hard to carry without dropping out loose pages or whatever.

So, I took it all apart and cleaned out all the junk I never play and then decided to arrange it by tuning, that is, all the gCGBD tunes and then all the 'raised bass' tunes. I…


Added by Trapdoor2 on December 19, 2011 at 0:30 — 8 Comments

Cannon Jig, J. Morley...

Here's a tune I brought back from the Nashville Gathering. Eli Kaufman played it for me and I actually remembered the title. This is an early Morley piece, probably from when he was still playing fretless. Easy and fun!

Cannon Jig all.pdf

Added by Trapdoor2 on November 14, 2010 at 3:23 — 1 Comment

Nashville Banjo Collector's Gathering...11/4 thru 11/6


I had a ball at the gathering. Got to visit with old friends meet new friends and see (and pick) a helluva lot of great banjos, teach, learn, yak (lots of that!) and generally eat-breathe-sleep collector banjo stuff for two days.

So much fun to hang out with Joel and Carl. Those guys went non-stop the entire time...every time I walked past their room, there was banjo music ringing thru the door. I'm amazed that hotel security didn't put 'em both in chains.…


Added by Trapdoor2 on November 7, 2010 at 20:51 — 7 Comments

Darkey's Dream Dots...for SAM

By request:

The Darkey's Dream dots.pdf

Somewhere In Dixie dots.pdf

I'll try and get "Somewhere In Dixie" scanned tomorrow night. Done!


Added by Trapdoor2 on October 17, 2010 at 4:30 — 2 Comments

Bare finger experiment

Well, I decided today to do a little experiment. I was cutting my nails and simply cut my usual picking nails back to the quick. I generally leave about 1/16” to 3/32” nail exposed on both index and middle finger (a bit more on the thumb, maybe 1/8”) and rarely cut those, rather filing them back occasionally.…


Added by Trapdoor2 on September 16, 2010 at 20:45 — 42 Comments

My 4-Day weekend adventure at SMBA...

Hi y'all!

I was selected to be on the faculty this year for the Smoky Mountain Banjo Academy (SMBA), acting as "Banjo Historian" and teacher of just about everything other than Bluegrass. The Academy ran from Thursday evening thru Sunday afternoon and although the size was low (less than 30 students for the full 4 days, though there were more 'walk ins' for…


Added by Trapdoor2 on May 10, 2010 at 21:10 — 2 Comments

Recent acquisitions...

Just thought I'd let y'all know what I got in the mail today from the estate of Z.M.Bickford. The seller seems to either enjoy classifying by publisher or perhaps Mr. Bickford simply had them filed that way. Anyway, the first set are published by Stephen Shepard, Patterson NJ (I had never heard of him). The first is 2 collections of "choice" banjo solos, all of which are 'single page' and all from ~1904-1914:

Book 1

Mazie Waltz (Shepard)

Three Star Schottische…


Added by Trapdoor2 on April 8, 2010 at 20:32 — 7 Comments

Happy Birthday...+ Zarh Myron Bickford

I just wanted to thank everybody for the nice e-birthday gifts, etc. I don't usually celebrate such things any more (I get a card from my wife and one from my favorite niece) but it was nice of y'all to think of me!

On another note...I have been buying some sheet music from a peculiar seller on ebay. This seller seems to have a wide variety of unusual Classic Banjo sheets including songbooks and tutors I've never heard of. He keeps saying he's got a large storage unit filled…


Added by Trapdoor2 on March 19, 2010 at 1:30 — 1 Comment

Handy Jack

Just in case you thought I'd's TAB for Cammeyer's "Handy Jack". Easy to do the TAB, not so easy to play well!

Handy Jack all.pdf

Here's a link to David Wade's Zither Banjo site...where you can hear good Ol' Olly Oakley running thru "Handy Jack".…


Added by Trapdoor2 on October 24, 2009 at 5:00 — No Comments

A Mexican Ride, Emile Grimshaw...

Hi Gang,

Ok, I've done my thing on "A Mexican Ride", I hope you like it. Notched the dots off of ebay the other day and thought I'd give 'em a go.


As the first four measures were left to the piano player, I xferred them to the 1st banjoist. Sounds OK on this end but if you want, you can make up your own. I'm sure I'll come up with some kind of messy intro...

In the TAB, m34 contains a quick set of 1/32 notes...this is a grace note ornament that… Continue

Added by Trapdoor2 on August 5, 2009 at 4:30 — 4 Comments


A week or so ago, I bid on a Stewart pot assembly evidently off of an early Banjeurine...and won! Today it showed up on my doorstep and it is indeed a 12-1/2" Banjeurine pot. Serial number is 5169, so it is probably ca. 1890. It has the heavy neck brace and is pretty complete, really lacking only hooks and nuts. Came with the "Common Sense" tailpiece and the complete dowelstick too.

The dowelstick gave me a bit of a turn though. I have a complete Banjeurine from this period (S/N… Continue

Added by Trapdoor2 on July 3, 2009 at 3:12 — No Comments


Parcel #1 has arrived!

As you may recall, I received #2 first, back on May 21. Parcel #1 finally hit my doorstep June 25...a full month later. That's 6 days delivery for parcel #2 and 45 days to deliver parcel #1 (both shipped the same day). Ain't the mail system a wonderful thing!! :-/

To recap, Parcel #1 contains:

Carl Fischer’s New And Revised Edition of Celebrated Tutors (1890)

Sherwood’s Imperial Diagram Method for the Banjo (1892)

Van Eps Banjo… Continue

Added by Trapdoor2 on June 26, 2009 at 16:01 — 4 Comments

Continuing issues with PC...comments on OCR for music, etc.

Well, still having problems. The new Laptop is very nice, very fast. I was able to get my old data off of the previous computer's hard drives (a big relief) so nothing was lost...

Except email. It is still there but I've been unable to migrate it over onto the new computer. So, for the time being, I have only the addresses of people who've sent me mail since the new laptop went online...and no access to archived mail.

Also missing is TablEdit, my TAB creating program. The… Continue

Added by Trapdoor2 on June 13, 2009 at 16:00 — 2 Comments

How to Excel...Grimshaw.

Well, here I am...starting at #1 and working my way thru. So far, so good! I was able to play numbers 1-5 last night without breaking anything (except minor ego losses).

Sure, lots of stumbling around, mistakes, rhythm errors, etc. I'm trying desperately not to do much "pencil marking" on the pages. There are a few finger-twisters such as the Dmaj in m14 (Exercise #4) where one holds a D on the 4th (second fret) whilst making an A on the third (second fret), a D on the second (third… Continue

Added by Trapdoor2 on May 28, 2009 at 16:24 — 7 Comments

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