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six string banjo strings, any ideas?

leftydee 23 Jun 08 - 10:21 AM
Leadfingers 23 Jun 08 - 11:39 AM
Mooh 23 Jun 08 - 12:12 PM
Phil Cooper 23 Jun 08 - 04:04 PM
Mooh 23 Jun 08 - 04:40 PM
banjoman 23 Jun 08 - 06:30 PM
Phil Cooper 23 Jun 08 - 11:06 PM
leftydee 25 Jun 08 - 11:39 AM
PoppaGator 25 Jun 08 - 11:54 AM
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Subject: six string banjo strings, any ideas?
From: leftydee
Date: 23 Jun 08 - 10:21 AM

I've acquired a 6 string banjo that tunes like a guitar. I've tightened the head and made a few adjustments that make it sound better than it did, but.... it still doesn't sound much like a banjo. It has Elixer guitar medium strings on it and I'm wondering if there are more appropriate strings for it. Any ideas?

Also, has anybody heard from Severn?


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Subject: RE: six string banjo strings, any ideas?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 23 Jun 08 - 11:39 AM

Lefty - Six String banjos rarely sound like a 'Real' banjo - I think a lot of the trouble is weight of strings - Standard weight for a Five String would be probably a 9 thou first and fifth!
And 9 thou is a LIGHT string with a vengeance , from a guitar viewpoint . Try a guitar ultra light set and see how that works , soundwise !


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Subject: RE: six string banjo strings, any ideas?
From: Mooh
Date: 23 Jun 08 - 12:12 PM

A call (1-800-845-7791) or email (info@deeringbanjos.com) to the Deering Banjo Company would probably help. They make some very nice 6 string banjos.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: six string banjo strings, any ideas?
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 23 Jun 08 - 04:04 PM

My significant other plays a six string banjo. She decided to put a high E string in place of the low e string and another B string in place of the A string. She tunes it in standard tuning, so you can play it like a regular guitar. Having the two low strings switched out with higher ones sort of imitates the high five string sound. It's not an exact match, but it does sound OK.


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Subject: RE: six string banjo strings, any ideas?
From: Mooh
Date: 23 Jun 08 - 04:40 PM

Hi Phil, that's a pretty cool idea, kinda Nashville tuning like. How about a G octave string from a 12 string set and open G tuning? (Btw, I just got a 5 string banjo again...)

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: six string banjo strings, any ideas?
From: banjoman
Date: 23 Jun 08 - 06:30 PM

If you want it to sound like a banjo then go to your local music shop and swap it for a banjo


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Subject: RE: six string banjo strings, any ideas?
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 23 Jun 08 - 11:06 PM

I think the high G would sound a little funky with it, Mooh. I tend to agree with banjoman, that a six string banjo is not going to sound exactly like a five string. On the other hand, I can fake frail a tune or two on Susan's six string banjo and not quite sound like a "guitar player playing a banjo" (a comment from an Old Time banjo playing friend on hearing me play a five string).


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Subject: RE: six string banjo strings, any ideas?
From: leftydee
Date: 25 Jun 08 - 11:39 AM

Thanks for your help everybody. With your help I've located a source for strings and some cool ideas (Nashville tuning, etc) for set up. Lefty


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Subject: RE: six string banjo strings, any ideas?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 25 Jun 08 - 11:54 AM

I've seen and heard six-string banjos mostly in the context of traditional New Orleans jazz, not folk/bluegrass, and they've generally sounded very normal in that kind of band. In other words, they can sound plausibly similar to a four-string tenor banjo ~ which is not the same as sounding like a five-stringer with that high G drone.

It never occurred to me that the intrument might be "high-strung" in Nashville-type tuning, but that is certainly a plausible and interesting idea.

In some cases, I suspect that the bandleader ~ in most cases, a clarinet or trumpet player ~ might actually own the six-string banjo, not the player. This would allow the leader to hire different temporary backing musicians for individual gigs or tours, and be able to select from the relatively large pool of guitar players rather than from the shrinking, if not yet non-existant, group of trad-jazz tenor banjo specialists.


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