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Strings for Clawhammer Banjo

Gern 12 Jan 01 - 09:14 AM
Zebedee 12 Jan 01 - 10:30 AM
GUEST,fretless 12 Jan 01 - 02:34 PM
Charcloth 12 Jan 01 - 10:15 PM
DonMeixner 12 Jan 01 - 11:12 PM
Margo 13 Jan 01 - 08:07 PM
BanjoRay 13 Jan 01 - 09:17 PM
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Subject: Strings for Clawhammer Banjo
From: Gern
Date: 12 Jan 01 - 09:14 AM

I need some advice here. I'm fairly new to clawhammer, and of course struggle to project a clear melody of any volume. Following a suggestion, I recently changed my Deering "Little Wonder" to Vega light gauge strings. Now, I'm hearing impaired (which some would argue is the ideal condition of banjo players), but I think the problem is getting worse. Any thoughts on the best gauge and brand of string to use for clawhammer. Bill from Alabama, are you out there?


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Subject: RE: Strings for Clawhammer Banjo
From: Zebedee
Date: 12 Jan 01 - 10:30 AM

As a general rule, the heavier gauge stings that you get, the louder they'll be. Heavy strings are harder on the left hand though.

My best advice (and I know restringing is a pain) is to try a few different gauges to find out which compromise suits you best.

Ed


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Subject: RE: Strings for Clawhammer Banjo
From: GUEST,fretless
Date: 12 Jan 01 - 02:34 PM

Look also at the string thread from this past November (set filter to "banjo" - no quotes - and 90 days)[sorry, can't do clickys from this station], but there are no magic answers. I personally like Vega lights, but it's all a mater of taste. And remember that EVERYTHING effects the tone on a banjo: quality of the instrument, where you strike the strings [over the neck vs. over the drum], plastic vs. skin for the drumhead, humidity, etc. Play lots, experiment, find the sound that most appeals to you. Enjoy!


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Subject: RE: Strings for Clawhammer Banjo
From: Charcloth
Date: 12 Jan 01 - 10:15 PM

I use med. strings. Mostly I use D' Addario J61 nickle wound. I have tried several others some I liked & some not But I hate Vega strings. My favorite strings are "Stay in tune" or SIT but I haven't been able to find them for some time. But never the less each banjo is different so trying a few different sets is not a bad idea. I like medium strings because they have less "slop" when you frail. That is they stay closer to where they should be so I am less prone to miss the string when I go to pluck the notes. Medium strings also seem to me to hold their tuning & life better. I am sure some will feel differently than I so experiment a little. The journey is part of the fun


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Subject: RE: Strings for Clawhammer Banjo
From: DonMeixner
Date: 12 Jan 01 - 11:12 PM

I like heavier strings than the usuall lites. Vega Long Necks, loop ends are heavier by a guage or two and they stay bright for awhile. Soften the top alittle bit too. That will get you a plunkyier sound. OR use weedeater chord and fishing lines of various sizes.

Don


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Subject: RE: Strings for Clawhammer Banjo
From: Margo
Date: 13 Jan 01 - 08:07 PM

My Little Wonder came with medium strings, and I was given a set when I bought it. The set I was given were light strings, and I noticed a big difference. I think I first noticed a very bright sparkly tone. But the strings actually felt "mushy" because they had such give, and I noticed it harder to keep in tune when adding the capo. I finally decided that I wanted the mediums. I play hard, though. (It's all in the hat, you know.) Margo :-)


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Subject: RE: Strings for Clawhammer Banjo
From: BanjoRay
Date: 13 Jan 01 - 09:17 PM

The last few sets I've used have been John Pierce mediums - they seem great, I play every day, and I usually go 6 months between changes. Its been years since I broke a string - I don't think I have since I stopped playing traditional jazz with a flatpick!. Dwight Diller recommends using a second string for your fifth if you do a lot of his sort of double thumbing - but this would be expensive unless you buy your strings individually.

Cheers
Ray


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