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Six string banjo

GUEST,EnfieldPeter 30 May 06 - 10:39 AM
Leadfingers 30 May 06 - 11:31 AM
fretless 30 May 06 - 12:14 PM
Leadfingers 30 May 06 - 12:25 PM
GUEST,Bobby Finn 30 May 06 - 12:46 PM
Dave Hanson 31 May 06 - 02:22 AM
GUEST,Bobby Finn 31 May 06 - 03:51 AM
Dave Hanson 31 May 06 - 10:55 AM
GUEST,Bobby Finn 31 May 06 - 01:45 PM
Leadfingers 31 May 06 - 01:59 PM
Dave Hanson 01 Jun 06 - 01:45 AM
Wallyvt 01 Jun 06 - 10:44 AM
Albert O'Balsam 02 Jun 06 - 06:59 AM
GUEST,Bobby Finn 02 Jun 06 - 10:41 AM
Big Al Whittle 03 Jun 06 - 10:36 AM
Leadfingers 03 Jun 06 - 10:59 AM
GUEST,Bobby FInn 03 Jun 06 - 12:09 PM
GUEST,Brad Sondahl 03 Jun 06 - 12:13 PM
GUEST,novice 15 Jun 10 - 07:58 AM
Geoff the Duck 15 Jun 10 - 08:23 AM
Leadfingers 15 Jun 10 - 08:56 AM
Art Thieme 15 Jun 10 - 06:21 PM
Leadfingers 15 Jun 10 - 06:29 PM
Phil Cooper 15 Jun 10 - 08:35 PM
GUEST,richie 16 Jun 10 - 05:21 PM
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Subject: Six string banjo
From: GUEST,EnfieldPeter
Date: 30 May 06 - 10:39 AM

I have just been loaned a six string banjo. I want to put new strings on it (it only takes banjo not guitar strings) but cannot find a set of six strings. What strings can you suggest? The banjo is a 1930s model.

Thanks

Peter


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: Leadfingers
Date: 30 May 06 - 11:31 AM

Try a call to Doug Parry at John Alvey Turner in Ware , Herts - He will be pleased to help you -Mail order and good service !


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: fretless
Date: 30 May 06 - 12:14 PM

Interesting. I only play 5-string and I always assumed that a 6-string banjo was just a guitar with a skin-head body. If that's correct, then a set of guitar strings ought to do the job. Peter, your message suggests that you are looking for an answer that is more sophisticated than an assumption. Let us know what you find out.


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: Leadfingers
Date: 30 May 06 - 12:25 PM

Banjo's tend to have lighter strings than Guitars , fretless , so you need to be careful what you put on , or you will lose a lot of the tonal quality .


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: GUEST,Bobby Finn
Date: 30 May 06 - 12:46 PM

On the ones I've set up, something like 11, 14, 16w, 22, 32, 42 seems to work. They're not easy to set up and it's important to get it right - they don't sound good if you don't.


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 31 May 06 - 02:22 AM

6 string banjo = guitar banjo,therefore guitar strings work perfectly, you should be able to get loop ends if it needs them.

eric


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: GUEST,Bobby Finn
Date: 31 May 06 - 03:51 AM

6 string Stratocaster not= 6 string Dreadnought. Horses and camels both have 4 legs. Not many camels in Grand National. Just my view Eric, no offence. Happy playing.

Bobby.


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 31 May 06 - 10:55 AM

Irish tenor banjo players as a matter of cours use heavier gauge strings
than jazz tenor banjo players, often on the same instruments with no harm.

No offence taken Bobby, eric


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: GUEST,Bobby Finn
Date: 31 May 06 - 01:45 PM

Hi Eric

It's not really the harm but the sound that I'm talking about. Changing the gauge of only 4 strings on a tenor or plectrum banjo don't seem to have the same impact on a banjo as changing 6 on a guit banjo - especially when 2 of the 6 are - if standard guitar gauges are used - far heavier than anything you'd really want to put on a banjo.

The total tension from 6 strings is greater than 4, and this too seems to limit the scale of the acceptable performance envelope (forgive me for using that term but I can't think of a less pretentious one that would say what I mean).

I dare say you can get some sort of sound with any guitar strings, but I've found that for the banjos I've set up, the gauges I described make the crispest and brightest sound whilst delivering a reasonable response in the bass register.

Sorry to seem to preach, but I think it's worth a bit of experimentation to transform a passable instrument into a better one.

Best regards

Bobby


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: Leadfingers
Date: 31 May 06 - 01:59 PM

Precisely why I suggested Peter should contact Doug ! He is just up the road from Enfield and would know what was best for that particular instrument . My banjos are all happy with different gauges , so I dont generalise .


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 01 Jun 06 - 01:45 AM

Point taken Bobby, sounds like good sense.

eric


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: Wallyvt
Date: 01 Jun 06 - 10:44 AM

Six strings w/drum head - Banjo Guitar
Five Strings w/wooden guitar like body - Guitar Banjo
On Mike Seeger's "Southern Banjo Sounds", one of the cuts is played on a six string drum head banjo with two drones.

Wally Macnow


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: Albert O'Balsam
Date: 02 Jun 06 - 06:59 AM

Some 6 string banjos from 1800's have 5 "full length" strings, with the 6th being shorter, often fretless. Tuning?? I agree with difficulties with tone of heavy strings. If your instrument has a guitar neck,(sounds likely)then you could try "Nashville tuning" aka "Angel guitar" stringing with "high octave" half of a 12 string set. Less string tension and more banjo sound with some interesting chord inversions,tuned standard or open.


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: GUEST,Bobby Finn
Date: 02 Jun 06 - 10:41 AM

It's definitely worth experimenting. It's possible to get a good sound out of a very ordinary guitar banjo if you're prepared to take the time with setup and experiment with string gauges. Go for a bright setup.

I hope you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Best regards to all

Bobby


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Jun 06 - 10:36 AM

Are we definitely talking about a banjo that is strung like a guitar?


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: Leadfingers
Date: 03 Jun 06 - 10:59 AM

wld - There is a fairly long tradition of banjo heads with guitar necks - Johnny St Cyr( Armstrongs Hot Five and Seven and King Olivers Band ) played a guitar banjo -Six striings tuned like a guitar . Ozark , among others , does a fairly cheap Guitar banjo .


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: GUEST,Bobby FInn
Date: 03 Jun 06 - 12:09 PM

WLD: I've certainly been talking about guitar-strung banjos. My point has been that on less expensive instruments the only difference is in the neck and strings - the pot and tailpiece are identical to those on 4 or 5 string banjos - and that as a result setup is more critical. Only when you get to more expensive models such as Deering's Boston guitar banjo do you start to find specialised features which help performance.

Cheers all

Bobby


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: GUEST,Brad Sondahl
Date: 03 Jun 06 - 12:13 PM

I've been playing a modern cheap Tyler Mountain banjo-guitar for 2 or 3 years--I use Martin Marquis light gage strings. It came with loop ends, but takes the little knobby kind as well.   I like the sound--had to widen the bridge spacings to more approximate my regular Martion 00-18 spaces, but otherwise it stays in tune well and sounds good.
You can hear it on Corrina Corrina


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: GUEST,novice
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 07:58 AM

hi I have just found a John Alvey Turner banjo in my granddads loft
marked 33 Bishops gate London it has a six string guitar head stock original, banjo body, and only 5 sting holes in metal tail piece?
I can supply photos if any one can help me, looks old and tuners are rusty but would like to spend some time and no money doing it up to see how she plays, I am a guitar player and have limited experience on working with old guitars brought a few acoustics back to life can anyone help me with original photos


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 08:23 AM

Novice - the first things to look at are the nut and the fretboard at the 5th fret. Many British made 5-string banjos were made using machine heads manufactured for guitars. Only five of the heads were actually attached to a string.
Four of the strings went over the full length of the fretboard, so on the nut, you will only find four slots for strings. The fifth string disappears down a brass tube which is set below the fingerboard. The tube (and string) then emerge near the 5th fret (usually to go over a small individual "nut") in the position where, on a standard 5-string, there would be a tuning peg sticking out of the side of the neck. From this point, there are five strings going down the neck to the bridge, and then to the five attachment points for the loop end of the strings.
If my description matches - you have a 5-string "zither" banjo, which can be played using any style of playing that a standard side-peg banjo. There are plenty of discussions on mudcat about styles and techniques.
If not - ask more questions here.
Quack!
Geoff the Duck.


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: Leadfingers
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 08:56 AM

Novice - Where are you ? Alvey Turner was one of the better makers so you may well have something worth spending some time and money on ! If you JOIN Mudcat you can send a Personal Message to other members (Like me ) or E mail me - terryleadfingers at btinternet dot com !


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: Art Thieme
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 06:21 PM

Inb my experience. and I did try to play a 6-string banjo for about 9 months once:

If you are trying to play an instrument that actually sounds like a banjo, you will be very disapointed with a 6-string banjo.

The bass strings cannot be made to sound good.

Using guitar picking / strums on it just doesn't work very well at all---.
Art


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: Leadfingers
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 06:29 PM

Possibly it would work to have the Sixth String as an Octave G , and the other five to open G , and use the lower string for bass runs , the way the Seven String banjo was designed


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 08:35 PM

Susan uses a six string banjo with high E and B strings for the two low strings. She still tunes it standard. But, I agree with Art, with the low strings on normally, it sounds like a bad guitar. I like the way Susan's sounds.


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Subject: RE: Six string banjo
From: GUEST,richie
Date: 16 Jun 10 - 05:21 PM

Just a thought....has anybody tried D'Addario High Strung Nashville 010-027 strings.


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