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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Maurice Tell me: diffrncs 'tween banjos (40) RE: Tell me: diffrncs 'tween banjos 22 Oct 00

It seems that the guy who started this thread wanted to decide which type of banjo he should buy. Well, the thing to decide is what type of music would you like to play? If you want to play bluegrass and accompany American-style folksongs you need a five-string. Any style of 5-string will do to get started on, you can pin it down a bit more as you learn. If you want to play dixieland jazz you need a four-string. These divide into two types, tenor and plectrum (rather misleading, since both are normally played with a plectrum). Plectrum has a longer neck and is really more or less the same as a 5-string without the short string. If you want to play Irish instrumental music you need a tenor. Tenor tuning is c-g-d-a (from the bottom) but here in Ireland this tuning is almost never used. "Irish" tuning is g-d-a-e (again, from the bottom) which is a fifth below the "correct" tuning. This is a little low for standard tenor strings, the gauges you need are approx. 042,032,017,012. The reason for all this is that it puts the banjo exactly an octave below the fiddle and fits in more easily with the most commonly used keys. There are of course other types of banjo, and a creative player could for instance play bluegrass on a tenor to some extent, but I think that this summary should point a beginner in the right direction. Whichever type you go for, have fun!

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