The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #121794 Message #2663513
Posted By: Richard Bridge
24-Jun-09 - 11:21 AM
Thread Name: how far can you tune strings on a banjo?
Subject: RE: how far can you tune strings on a banjo?
If you can't stand the ribbing, don't play the banjo!
More seriously, it seems to me (as a non-banjo player although I did once rebuld a banjo-mandolin and have played a tenor in mandolin tuning) that the banjo has a more serious structural problem than the guitar in re-tuning, although the pot is usually metal.
First, the skin is quite elastic (unless you are a bluegrasser with a plastic skin done up tighter than a piccolo snare), so tune one string up and the increased pressure on the skin pushes the bridge in and puts the other strings flat by varying amounts. This also varies the action. And vice versa. In the guitar the top is stiffer so this effect is much less.
Next there are different types of rod mechanisms across the pot. With many, the change in string tension will tend to twist the sides of the pot, which will also change the neck angle. In the guitar the top to some extent resists thrust (which a skin does not) so IMHO the effect is less.