I just bought a Deering Boston 6-String Banjo and happened upon your website as I am perusing the internet reading about Banjos. Great stuff!
A reader writes:
How come no mention of the jug bands in the 6-String banjo article?
Also, just wanted to let you know that this band I am a part of, is actively using 8, 6, and 4 String banjos in many different styles. The band is called Bones Jugs and we are from Urbana, IL
You can listen here: https://bonesjugs.bandcamp.com
We have lots of different recorded material...
- Ragday features a 4 String Vega Tenor
- Ragday 2 features a 6-String goldtone (both Ragday albums are instrumental ragtime xylophone with original arrangements )
- sprinkled throughout both Partys in the... and Don't Waste a drop is lots of banjo, resonator guitar, bones, jug, and more in a contemporary early jazz/ragtime/jugband/Calypso and more!
- also!!! When I was in the Caribbean I heard some amazing banjo music on 6-String and 4-String featuring alternate tuning, rhythmic and melodic playing
Thanks for getting in touch. I'm very glad to hear from you. The information about banjos in the Caribbean is most interesting.
I'll have to look up more about jug bands' historical relationship to 6-string. The jug band music I'm most familiar with is post-1960, and most of them didn't use 4- or 6-string banjos, if they used banjos at all. Of course, the kind of blues guitar that Dave Van Ronk brought to the genre could work VERY well on a 6-string banjo.
Of course, anything that you can get a sound out of CAN be used in a jug band, so I've probably overlooked some good examples.
Here's a fun one - have you seen the Mungo Jerry video of "in the Summertime"? Their banjo player Peter King plays a jug on a stand while picking an archaic 5-string "Zither Banjo" you can barely hear.
By the way, did you want to receive my infrequent newsletter "Momma Don't Low"? If you don't, that's fine.
Have a great day,