Rag Pickings

Recordings of banjo solos were tremendously popular both sides of the Atlantic prior to 1900 up to the 1930s. The sophisticated picking style had developed from the earlier strumming ('stroke') style associated with the blackface minstrels who performed in minstrel shows from the mid 19th century. Both the minstrels and their more sophisticated successors were whites and the earlier playing method grew out of the style believed to be close to that of the black slaves. The picking style requires the player to pick the strings with thumb and first two fingers of the right hand and great virtuosity was obtained by a number of players whose recordings proved very popular amongst white middle-class society in both USA and Britain. We feature three of these banjo greats here


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