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Briggs' Reel - Wes, Paul, ..& Clyde the limberjack. Dunker Church, Antietam 2014

musician/member name:
Duration: 00:02:08
Wes on fiddle, Paul on minstrel banjo, and featuring 'Clyde the Clogger' walnut limberjack from Virginia.This was during the Sunday public concert of the Antietam Early Banjo Gathering, June 2014, at the historic Civil War location Dunker Church in Sharpsburg MD. Tune is Briggs' Reel from the Briggs banjo tutor instructor book of 1855.
07/04/14 06:25:14PM @strumelia:

Ken, yes there were some people dancing/clogging during the weekend, but not for the concerts. Sometimes they do though and its great!

Robin, I love hearing that you and your beautiful bride played music together that way and discovered a new way to coordinate playing! I LOOOOOVE when that happens.

Ken Backer
07/04/14 05:46:23PM @ken-backer:
Hi Lisa, I'm a little late in commenting. Have been away and am just catching up. I am glad you posted this, and the mix is so "down home". Loved the sound and Clyde really did his part. By chance did you have any real cloggers? Looking forward to the video of you singing at the barn concert!
Robin Clark
06/30/14 10:18:17AM @robin-clark:

Thanks for the info Lisa - that's really useful Smile.gif

I watched the technique videos on the Minstrel Banjo site yesterday and I must say I thought the introduction video to thehistory of the minstrel banjowas very thoughtfully presented. I have played around with the tunings and bridge position quite a bit, and already found that lower was better! Ann hasn't played fiddle for a while but with me in D tuning(dADF#A) we found that she could play the A tunes she knew but a string lower with the same fingering, so we spent an hour or so playing tunes together yesterdaySmile.gif I need to have a good look at the old stroke style - it is close to clawhammer but not quite the same and I've not wired in whatthe differences are yet. But that will come with more study. I have Aquila Classic mediums fitted at present and they are a little slack - I have a set of Chris Sands heavy gauge strings on order so I'll try those when they arrive. They are great sounding instruments Grin.gif

06/30/14 09:59:55AM @strumelia:

Thanks Robin- the Antietam Early Banjo Gathering AEBG in Maryland is my 'Big Adventure' every year now...a 7 hour drive each way, but sooo worth the four days of communing, learning, jamming, and playing in early stroke style banjo. I have two wonderful minstrel style banjos and I've been learning to play in old stroke style and the Briggs low bass tuning for a couple of years now- I love that 1800s repertoire and the stroke style of playing is somewhat different from the familiar oldtime clawhammer way of playing. Playing these tunes in regular clawhammer style just doesn't give the same effect. I love the challenge and the charm of working with it. We're an impassioned bunch gathering from all over there in the wonderful Pry House threshing barn. I don't consider myself confident enough just yet to play stroke style banjo in the two public concerts we give during the weekend, but maybe next year! In the meantime, Clyde was invited to dance to my friends Wes and Paul playing.

I was also able to sing an old song from 1842 for the barn concert, and had the great honor of being accompanied by Mark Weems on gourd banjer and James Pentecost on bones. I'm trying to wheedle a video of that now from a guy but it's a bit like pulling teeth sometimes. I just have a photo for now. Be sure to watch the various videos over on MinstrelBanjo site to really see how it's done! (You need to be mostly in Briggs tuning to do it justice dGDF#A for playing in G, or eAEG#B for playing in A...with a high bass tuning of dADF#A for playing in D) Don't tune your gourd or minstrel banjo up tight into oldtime keys or it will only sound thin and icky, losing its resonance...moving the bridge up won't solve this completely..they are made for lower tunings. Hope you love your gourd as much as I love my Menzies pig-head gourd (see my photos)- Brian and I were just playing with 'Piggy' and fiddle last night on the porch!

Robin Clark
06/30/14 08:14:25AM @robin-clark:

Hi Lisa - Great video Grin.gif

Quite by chance I saw the video on Friday on the Minstrel Banjo website when I was looking for info on strings and tunings (a Nate Calkins tackhead banjo No 035 has come into my possession Smile.gif ) and spotted you!!!!

It must have been a great day out Grin.gif

06/28/14 11:05:03AM @strumelia:

Little Dunker Church, site of the Battle of Antietam 1862... today and in 1862... note too the cannon holes blown through the church walls...

John Henry
06/28/14 10:47:53AM @john-henry:

As Oliver Twist said in the workhouse "please sir, came we have more"


I envy the visit to the Dunker Church, one day.............

06/28/14 10:28:18AM @strumelia:

Dusty- it's so true... I sometimes feel guilty about my limberjack possibly upstaging the musicians, who are really doing all the WORK.

There were 5 very young children lined up on the pew to my side, watching Clyde the whole time.

Dusty Turtle
06/28/14 02:37:26AM @dusty-turtle:

I also have a walnut limberjack made by Keith Young. And I got a cherry one for my brother. I got a third not made by Keith Young in the shape of a dog for my daughter. Sometimes the limberjack makes a bigger splash than any instrument no matter how well played.

Looks like you had a great time, Strumelia.

Ken Longfield
06/27/14 10:52:29PM @ken-longfield:

Very nice. Keith made great things. Thanks for sharing this Lisa. Last night I saw a dancing limber dog at MLAG.


"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

06/27/14 10:47:30PM @strumelia:

Thanks John and Patty! Patty, this limberjack was made by the late great Keith Young, dulcimer maker of Virginia. He made them from his walnut remnants leftover from making dulcimers. I cherish it.

Patty from Virginia
06/27/14 09:06:40PM @patty-from-virginia:

Great!!! I'm glad to see that limberjacks are made in VirginiaSmile.gif

John Keane
06/27/14 07:14:27PM @john-keane:

Gotta love a limberjack! Y'all did a great job! Smile.gif