JAMES HARTEL

http://Minstrelbanjo.com

I have only recently been attempting to learn to flat pick Irish tunes on Vega Style M Tubaphone banjo that I originally acquired to convert to a 5-string banjo. This banjo so well appointed in it’s original condition that I didn’t have the heart to disassemble it. So this superb instrument has led me a little in this direction.

I’ve been making and playing banjos on and off since 1973 when I made a banjo for my 2 year old daughter. She didn’t learn to play that banjo until she was thirty, though, and by then, I had dug around enough in the history of American banjos to start making authentic replicas of minstrel banjos. I have had access a vast array of surviving early banjos through the generosity of banjo history experts, collectors of early musical instruments, and museums. I’ve documented the exact dimensions, construction techniques and detailed characteristics of each individual instrument that I replicate. Also, I continue to research and fine tune my banjos regularly so that they look and sound as much like the banjos of the early minstrel period as possible. I make around 10-15 banjos a year. My banjos are used by historical interpreters, museum sites, and musicians throughout America and in many other parts of the world.