Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


banjo guitars -advice

GUEST,fogie 08 Dec 09 - 05:55 AM
bubblyrat 08 Dec 09 - 07:35 AM
GUEST,Jed Marum 08 Dec 09 - 09:35 AM
The Sandman 08 Dec 09 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,Songbob 08 Dec 09 - 11:35 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 08 Dec 09 - 11:51 AM
PHJim 08 Dec 09 - 11:53 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 08 Dec 09 - 12:38 PM
GUEST,fogie 08 Dec 09 - 12:43 PM
The Sandman 08 Dec 09 - 12:46 PM
DonMeixner 08 Dec 09 - 02:31 PM
deadfrett 08 Dec 09 - 03:20 PM
GUEST,Ancient Briton 08 Dec 09 - 07:27 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 09 Dec 09 - 01:27 AM
GUEST,Ancient Briton 09 Dec 09 - 07:23 PM
Stringsinger 09 Dec 09 - 07:42 PM
bubblyrat 10 Dec 09 - 05:57 AM
Rusty Dobro 10 Dec 09 - 06:12 AM
The Sandman 13 Dec 09 - 06:40 PM
GUEST,The Folk E 14 Dec 09 - 05:34 PM
GUEST,fogie 15 Dec 09 - 03:39 AM
dilly daly of Adelaide 10 Sep 11 - 12:17 AM
Geoff the Duck 10 Sep 11 - 06:36 AM
Big Al Whittle 10 Sep 11 - 07:49 AM
bubblyrat 10 Sep 11 - 10:25 AM
Phil Cooper 11 Sep 11 - 09:43 AM
PHJim 12 Sep 11 - 12:43 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: banjo guitars -advice
From: GUEST,fogie
Date: 08 Dec 09 - 05:55 AM

Have just been given a Dean banjo guitar -I already have guitars and mentioned I'd like the banjo sound. Has anyone got suggestions as to how to optimise the sound. My feeling is that the lower strings detract from the sound and wonder if anyone has experimented with higher strings like a 5-string or higher strings at the bass end~?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: bubblyrat
Date: 08 Dec 09 - 07:35 AM

I have been toying with the idea of getting one ,having tried one in a shop in Reading. I think it was a Cort...it was quite impressive for its price ( about £ 200). I tried tunes like The Seven Stars,Davy Davy Knick-knack,The Full-rigged Ship etc,on it,as I figured they would sound louder than on a guitar; they do !! But,as I play in Double Dropped D,I would go for thicker strings,ie Daddario 13--56 ; you could always try that----Go for it, I say !!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: GUEST,Jed Marum
Date: 08 Dec 09 - 09:35 AM

When I saw the name of this thread I thought, "My advice is get a real banjo." Jokingly, of course ... but maybe a little serious.

Your feeling that the lower strings detract from the sound is absolutely right on. A guitar just doesn't sound all that good as a banjo ... especially at the low end.

BUT this is the instrument you have been given and you want to know how to make it sound the best you can. I think you're on the right track in your thinking.

Rather then try to put a high 5th string on the lower ones, you might consider trying a Nashville tuning on the whole instrument, that is use thinner strings for the lower four, and tune them an octave higher. You might tune D to D or even C to C - rather then E to E - OR you could use an open tuning like DADGAD or VESTAPOL.

BUT, experimenting with high tuned strings on the low end of the guitar may well make the most of your new instrument.

Good luck. It sounds like fun!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Dec 09 - 11:13 AM

try dgdgbd,a lot of 5 string banjo tunes are in this tuning gdgbd,so its quite easy to play banjo tunes on guitar in this DGDGBD tuning,the next step is dgdgcd[sawmill banjo tuning].
Or take TWELVE STRING GUITAR G string[the higher octave one and put it on instead of your A [5] guitar string . you then have a high string on the place it would be it would be on a 5 string banjo.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: GUEST,Songbob
Date: 08 Dec 09 - 11:35 AM

There is no substitute for a good guitar banjo when playing a guitar banjo. Experiment with lighter strings, Nashville Tuning, whatever, and get "acceptable" sound at best.

I know, because I have an early GoldTone guitar banjo. The shell is essentially a drum, not a banjo -- there are eight brackets, I think, and the head is surely a snare-drum head -- and the tone is, well, long on thump and short on zing! Bass-heavy and much duller than the really nice Deering I played at Mandolin Brothers one time, years ago. That one cost $900 (at the time), and mine was around $400. Deans are usually $300 or less, I think, as are some of the off-brand models around.

So I would say to try either light-gauge strings, even electric guitar strings (but not light-gauge electric strings -- "9s" -- those are spider webs with so little tension you won't get much if any volume), and see what results. Or put on standard acoustic lights and live with the thump when you wanted zing.


Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 08 Dec 09 - 11:51 AM

I have a Dean six stringer and I like it very much, but it is not my main instrument. It is not much good for bluegrass but I play mostly folk, celtic, and old country.
After I bought it I re-strung it with extra light electric strings. This got rid of a lot of the bass thud. I use standard tuning but I play it with a thumbpick in a thumb-roll style with a lot of backpicking on the treble. It is very loud so any loss of volume from the light strings is negligible.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: PHJim
Date: 08 Dec 09 - 11:53 AM

Jed Marum's idea sounds interesting. I have a high strung guitar, but I'd like to try a high-strung banjo. I buy twelve string sets and put the higher strings on my high-strung guitar and the lower ones on a regular guitar. It's easier and cheaper than buying individual strings.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 08 Dec 09 - 12:38 PM

If it were mine, I'd take the opposite tack and try putting heavier, not lighter, strings on the bass end. Their tension would be higher which may make the banjo head respond a bit better.

May work... May not... Only one way to find out.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: GUEST,fogie
Date: 08 Dec 09 - 12:43 PM

thank you -this has been very helpful - goodsoldier for his alt tunings ,phjim for his suggestion about 12 strings , and a question for jed marum -what is vestapol??? I know dagdad but have never heard of this


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Dec 09 - 12:46 PM

vestapol is dgdgbd


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: DonMeixner
Date: 08 Dec 09 - 02:31 PM

I have small experience with Banjo Guitars. There was never a one of the not too many I played that sounded or even tuned good but one. A no name instrument. Quite old with a skin top and nylon/gut strings.

Don


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: deadfrett
Date: 08 Dec 09 - 03:20 PM

Sam and Kirk McGee used one when they played with Uncle Dave Macon. You might listen to some of those records. A lot of jug bands in the 20's and 30's used them, as did did early Jazz bands. Lots of fun to play. I always used medium-light strings. I believe Johnson, Dean and Rouge are all made at the same factory. Have fun with that six banger, Dave


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: GUEST,Ancient Briton
Date: 08 Dec 09 - 07:27 PM

Don't bother with anything shorter than 26" scale length. Cheap guitar banjos are built to fit tenor banjo cases so have 22" (give or take) scale length.

The short scale, coupled with the flimsy tailpieces on these mongrels makes them virtually useless for anything but ragtiome fingerpicking. Even for that, they need re-stringing with 13's as they're shipped with 9's.

banjos are banjos, guitars are guitars. Live with it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 01:27 AM

My Dean is 25" nut to bridge, so I am confused with the post 22" verses 26". While my Dean is built in China (something that I am not overly proud of ) it has a flawless, bound mahogany neck and great Grover tuners. The six string banjo is not a hybrid but it has a legacy going back to the early days of jazz when the six string guitar did not have the volume to cut through the brass instruments.(before the days of amplification) As a resonator instrument it predates the 5 string so the Scruggs fans ( I'm one myself) who say that it's not a real banjo should do some research. The thing has its limits, no argument, but within those limits it can be a lot of fun!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: GUEST,Ancient Briton
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 07:23 PM

forget 26" and call it "standard guitar scale length" if that makes it easier. Deans work better than the shorter models marketed under other brands.

I wouldn't doubt that guitar banjos have been around a long time but that doesn't mean that they were an improvement over banjos with fewer strings.

I believe that the tenor banjo was invented in 1915, and there's nothing better for cutting through brass instruments. The instrument was used very widely in jazz bands until the depression of 1929. Ok Django played a guitar banjo for a while in the late 20's, but most bajoists were using the tenor (and most of the rest the plectrum banjo) by the time the dixieland bubble burst.

I'd guess that guitar banjos emerged at the beginning of the jazz age for the same reason that tenor guitars emerged when dixieland died and guitar-accompanied swing came in - the "parent" instrument went out of fashion and professionals needed to make the newly fashionable sound quickly if they were to stay in work. Moving the stringing pattern to a different body saved learing time.

That's my rough and very generalised theory anyway. Enjoy your guitar banjo (or is that banjo guitar?)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: Stringsinger
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 07:42 PM

You might check what the master Johnny St. Cyr used.

I once played a rare Gibson trap-door six string banjo which sounded wonderful.
I haven't seen one since. I don't think they make 'em anymore.

The problem is that banjos need to have ring when playing with jazz bands.
The thump gets lost. Too much ring isn't good either.

There are certain banjos that sound better when you play a full chord across the
strings and then there are those that sound better played single-string.

You might determine which you have.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: bubblyrat
Date: 10 Dec 09 - 05:57 AM

Johnny Sincere (for that is how to pronounce St Cyr)----What a fabulous name !! Never heard of him,though.
Getting back to the thread ; obviously a guitar-banjo,or banjo-guitar,or even a 6-string banjo (as I call it) is never going to be any good for Bluegrass,or other forms of traditional banjo playing...but it would be great in an English Ceilidh Band,or even for Morris Dancing ,where guitars can't be heard,and the dreaded trombones make their ghastly groans. So it might be more popular in the UK than in the US.I think I WILL buy one,you know,so I can get more volume on,say, "Le Canal En Octobre" and " Vals Voor Polle " etc .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 10 Dec 09 - 06:12 AM

I had the Dean 6-string banjo for a while, bought from Ebay as an easy way to add a banjo sound to our country/bluesy band without having to learn anything new (I am very old). I had a lot of fun with it, but before long hankered after doing the job properly, so had a good luthier (Gary Silbert, Suffolk, UK 01986 784613) build a tenor neck onto it, and I'm now making progress with all those new chords. I would echo the earlier remarks: the Dean is nicely made, but the banjo sounds and works so much better than the hybrid.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 06:40 PM

my apologies VESTAPOL IS DA dF#AD,what I described was Spanish tuning


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: GUEST,The Folk E
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 05:34 PM

I would consider lighting a match to it and running away fast.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: GUEST,fogie
Date: 15 Dec 09 - 03:39 AM

gs sweik do you really mean DAdF#AD or DADF#AD ?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: dilly daly of Adelaide
Date: 10 Sep 11 - 12:17 AM

Am thinking about buying a Goldtone 6 string banjo maybe a GT-750.I play guitar and tenor ukulelee and am too old to learn 5 string banjo.I once bought a Martinez 6 string but found you couldn't realy strum it.Does anyone know if you can strum the Goldtone or any other make and produce a reasonable sound to accompany folk music? I will try fimgerpicking anyway.Just looking for something different.
                   dalying, Dilly.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 10 Sep 11 - 06:36 AM

You are never too old to learn 5-string banjo...
Quack!
GtD.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Sep 11 - 07:49 AM

Bill Harrison the mandolin maker, has just made a beautiful 6 string banjo. Stratocaster head and tuning pegs - a Banjocaster!

I tried it and immediately started playing lonseome Traveller - in that Limeliters sort of way - it sounded fabulous - so I bought it.

I think instruments are like people - they are quite brilliant in some respects, but none of them are perfect in every repect. You just have to love them for what they can do and what they are.

Not sure that monkeying around with the strings will pay huge benefits. Although having said that, Mac, the banjo/ guitar player in the Yetties set me straight about stringing the tenor banjo in Nashville tuning. the secret is to to use another top E string for the fourth D string. It flies - really does!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: bubblyrat
Date: 10 Sep 11 - 10:25 AM

Well , I bought one at last ; a cheap but well-made "Delta Blue" model,

which has a large & impressive resonator , but awful tuners ! However , it was , as they say , "modestly priced" . It's comfortable to play , once having got used to the tight string-spacing , and is great for playing Irish tunes , although strummed chords sound dreadful ! And ,of course , one doesn't need to learn any new fingering ; I am VERY happy with it !


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 11 Sep 11 - 09:43 AM

My life partner, Susan, got a six string banjo/guitar. She also put high E and B strings on the lower end for the low E and A. We both thought it just sounded like a bad guitar when it had the lower strings on it. It works fine for what we use it for.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: banjo guitars -advice
From: PHJim
Date: 12 Sep 11 - 12:43 AM

Despite what Bubblyrat said back in December of '09, we probably should call these instruments guitar banjos or guitjos and not six string banjos. I agree with him that guitjos are not what you want for playing bluegrass, but a six string banjo can be a very effective bluegrass or old timey instrument. Sonny Osborne and Raymond McLain both used 6 string banjos to play bluegrass and Sarah Jarosz uses one to play clawhammer. These are not guitjos, but banjos with five full length strings and a short thumb string usually tuned to a high G.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 23 July 4:33 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.