The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #25416   Message #297618
Posted By: Uncle Jaque
14-Sep-00 - 09:05 PM
Thread Name: Banjo string advice
Subject: RE: Banjo string advice
I "retroverted" an old Sears 5-string to Civil-War Minstrel configuration with fretless neck, calfskin head, gut strings,and friction pegs to recapture that old "plunkey" sound of the period. They used more primitive but effective styles back then including the "Stroke" and "Guitar" styles. Reprints of period instruction manuals are availabe for those wishing to learn these old - timey methods. Also, banjos were tuned around Ab, 2 1/2 steps lower than the modern "Bluegrass" tunings. If you have not tried gut, I'd reccomend it - but frets will damage them as will picks of any sort and they are NOT cheap! I get mine from BOSTON CATLINES. An old Bertram LEVEY album featured him on a nylon - strung 5-string, and he listed the nylon guitar strings to use as replacements for each string on the banjer. I wrote them down in one of my banjo books and could probably look 'em up if you'd like. In my youth, I strung up an old 5-string with a tennis - racket string for the bass and fishing leader in various guages for the trebles... and y'know, it didn't sound half bad!