I have really enjoyed playing stroke style from the Briggs' book on my tackhead but I'm finding the classic style much more satisfying, even at this very early stage. I'm taking it very slowly, working from 'Ellis's Thorough School' and as I'm retired, I have plenty of time to practice. I really do appreciate your offer of help.
If you, or any fellow players live near me and might fancy meeting up occasionally, please message me. I live near Eastbourne, East Sussex. I also travel to Oxfordshire every couple of weeks for a camping weekend so I could make a brief detour.
I started a msg to you, but my finger hit a button somewhere...away it went. You mentioned you liked City Point Jig. If you would like a copy I can send it or post it on this site somewhere. It's in "A" notation. Clarke
Yes, The Buddy Bolden 'cylinder' was my masterpiece. I cobbled together the sound of a blank wax cylinder at 80 rpm added to Humph playing Make Me A Pallet On The Floor from a BBC Radio programme called Buddy Bolden's Blues recorded many years ago. Humph and his band were trying to re-create the Buddy Bolden sound, and to my mind they did a very good job. Of course I had to tell jazzers I'd faked it in the end!
Me too re Rob MacKillop. It was only when I saw an early Youtube clip of his that I realised it was Classic banjo I'd been trying to play all these years. I must emphasise that despite the time-span I remain a pretty rubbish player. My nickname of 'Black Jake Two Fingers' goes back about 50 years to a concert at what is now Norwich Puppet Theatre, and they were trying to think what name to give me. One of the members of Cosmetheka (I think) who were the main attraction, suggested that because of my limited two finger style of banjo playing that's what I should be called.
Yes, I agree most of my English banjo-playing friends like to emulate American Old Time, but thankfully there are people like you around! Not that I have anything against American Old Time.
I did go to one of the banjo meets in Derbyshire but my health deteriorated and I was unable to travel to any further ones.
I've just ordered a couple of Olly Oakley 78's. In the meantime I've got a lovely old Clifford Essex ZB to restore. Hope I don't make a hash of it!
I know you are interested in the Music Hall. Family legend has it that my distant relative Alfred Glanville Vance (name regularly mis-spelled including Wikipedia), aka 'The Great Vance' played a Temlett ZB shortly before his death on stage at The Sun Music Hall in 1888. I would love to have this confirmed as I'm the only family member left who knows about this story.
I am attempting to discover all I can about the English Zither-Banjo before it is to late. I also have what I believe to be the oldest English ZB known to still exist -it's very like a Dobson with wood screws to tension the vellum.
Just a word about the Barnes & Mullins 'Perfect' mute. I too have never seen one before. I have a number of Barnes & Mullins 'Perfect' ZB's, one of them claiming to have a Patent mute, but not a sausage on closer examination. So I've been very pleased to find someone has a photo. I guess it was one of those items which might or might not be fitted and someone decided it wasn't worth the expense on any of mine. There's not even anywhere where it could be fitted without pulling the thing apart and drilling extra holes in the lower tensioning ring!
For some reason I missed your question on Music Hall artifacts. Alas, not a sausage! But I did get a birthday prezzie from daughter Naomi and Grandson -a book on The Great Vance (recently published and very difficult to obtain a copy). Unfortunately doesn't say if he bought a Temlett Snr. ZB just before he died on stage in 1888, and doesn't tell me much I don't know already. I seem to be the last of our family who knows anything about him, and that's all based on family legend i.e. what my mother and aunt (both now long dead of course) when I started on banjo around 60 years ago. Did discover he played in Norwich! But don't know where. Any questions don't be afraid to ask. I will always reply if I get the message.