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.