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Loud – Clear Tone – Easy To Play – Historically Accurate – Beautifully Made
BELL MINSTREL BANJO
Joel Sweeney Style
is a beautiful dark brown walnut color. Easily recognizable as one of the very first all wood minstrel banjos, all the parts except the pegs are handmade in the Bell Banjo shop. The rim is a big 12 5/8″. Men will appreciate the wider string spacing, the width at the nut is 1 1/2″ which is wider than modern banjos, making it easy to finger the strings. The goatskin is an off-white natural color. The quality of the wood cannot be beat. I have the beautiful rim wood milled especially for me from Michigan’s “Thumb” area. The neck wood comes from Michigan’s cold upper penninsula where trees grow straight and strong. The Bell banjo name is fast becoming known for quality and great sound in old time banjo circles.
This is a photo of the original by Joel Sweeney and this new Bell Sweeney.
Notice how the sound of the minstrel banjo is lower than modern banjos. Most minstrel tunes are in the “fiddle friendly” keys of G or D. My friend Tim Twiss has a book / CD available that is great for folks wanting to play in the minstrel style. This is a loud, fun, and easy to play “Early” style banjo.
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was the inventor of the adjustable skin banjo. He assisted Joel Sweeney by attaching his rim to Sweeny’s neck. It makes a beautiful result. The plain but graceful and smooth neck is a joy to hold. The 1800’s syle peghead is shiny and smooth.
the index finger and thumb, the “Minstrels” of the 1800’s entertained
crowds here and abroad, in a style of banjo playing that would seep into
the Appalachian mountain area and become clawhammer style. The minstel
style is fast becoming a popular sound at reenactments and folk get
togethers of every kind. Books and CD’s of minstrel music are at a new
height as these banjos are quickly moving back into the American
pop up from time to time regarding the old-world construction methods.
I’m proud to say that these banjos are 1800’s style in every way. An ebony pin (see photo) secures the neck to
the rim. Details like these are what make these banjos so interesting. The goatskin head is treated with an invisible layer
of vinyl, keeping the moisture out which is so important when playing outside. I get many questions about the friction pegs. Apparently some people have played other banjos with friction pegs and are not too happy with them. But people have made
positive comments on MY pegs, saying they are smoother and quicker than
even modern mechanical tuners. This is how it should be. Years ago I
was taught the correct way to form and install friction pegs by violin
maker Rudolf Gotchall. The finish on these banjos is a traditional
hand-rubbed high luster. Similar to fiddles and antique furniture, the
look and feel are likely to fool onlookers and they’ll wonder if your
banjo is over a century old ! The best materials, great prices, and above all – a great sound. You’ll be surprised at the ease of playing and the bold sound of a Bell Banjo.
Read about Joel Sweeney on WikiPedia.
Bell Banjos, in Michigan, has made countless banjos and kits for pros, amateurs, and museum display.
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MY TREASURE GROVE
On Mar-23-13 at 12:47:22 PDT, seller added the following information:
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