In 1855 this was the first widely circulated instruction booklet for playing what came to be called the Minstrel style banjo. There were obscure predecessors and other instruction booklets would follow, but this was the beginning of the “codification” of the stroke method of playing which would be adopted by many of the mid-19th century minstrels.
Though there were still a great deal of self-taught improvisational styles, this method became common among the professional entertainers. By the 1860s, classical picking styles (resembling classical guitar techniques) gained popularity among banjo players, but the old stroke style remained common throughout the 1800s and even into the 20th Century.
Original copies are extremely rare and even reprints can be difficult to come by. Being in the public domain, it offers limited profit potential to commercial publishers. With this in mind, we offer this 52 page facsimile free of charge. Enjoy!
Click where it indicates download below below to get a PDF copy of the complete 1855 edition.
There is a modern reprint available, including tabs, on Amazon.