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Thread: I've gone to the dark side

  1. #1

    Default I've gone to the dark side

    This basically new Alabama tenor banjo followed me home today. I know nothing about banjos but it does look to be very well built with a Remo head. Tuning machines are serviceable and a quick tweak on the truss-rod brought the neck into nice playing position.

    It measures to a 22.5" scale and is tuned in Chicago. I'd like to get it in 5ths - any suggestions on strings and gauges? I know nothing about banjos but it is very loud.

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  3. #2
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: I've gone to the dark side

    I use Newtone strings in 12/18w/28w/38w gauges for my 19 fret tenor banjo tuned GDAE. I know lots of players who use guitar strings in the gauges they like (Elixirs are a popular choice) and just pop the wee ball end things out to accommodate the loop end tailpiece.
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  5. #3
    plectrist Ryk Loske's Avatar
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    Default Re: I've gone to the dark side

    What Jill said about Newtone strings. I love them on my tenors and plectrum. You'll have a choice of nickel plated steel or phosphor bronze. Great strings.
    Ryk
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  7. #4
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: I've gone to the dark side

    I prefer slightly lighter string on my 23” scale banjo, unlike tenor guitars that can be sensitive to string tension, I find you have more leeway way with banjos.
    Certainly nothing wrong with the strings suggested but I just prefer the feel and playability of 11p 16p 26w 36w.
    The A can be wound or plain depending on you preferred sound.
    Lot of sets available but guitar singles are perfect too.
    Last edited by fox; Mar-01-2021 at 4:42pm.

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  9. #5
    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: I've gone to the dark side

    I've chosen Clifford Essex Irish lights for my 23" (19 fret). .011 (plain), .016 (nickel), .026 (nickel) & .036 (nickel). A few players have commented that it's the best sounding banjo that they've heard, & it's definitely not my playing they're talking about.

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  11. #6

    Default Re: I've gone to the dark side

    Great suggestions all. Keep them coming.

    The string tension was really sloppy when I got it. The fellow said it came from the store in CGDA but he tuned it to Chicago (DGBE) so I took a chance and it tuned up to CGDA no problem. Since this has the fret marker at the 10th fret and the guy said he only played it twice, I figured the stock strings were meant for 5ths and I was right.

    Overall nicely done as far as I can see. Nice neck and fretwork. Truss-rod works. Tuning machines are more than serviceable. Remo head. Aluminum pot is light but resonate. Lot's of snap and volume. I can see how these are perfect for gypsy jazz rhythm.

    I noticed the 2 wound strings have more sparkle than the plain. Is this normal on a banjo? If so I can see the appeal in going with all wound strings.
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  12. #7
    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: I've gone to the dark side

    I prefer a wound A (GDAE) but you won’t get a wound string to go onto the E. Not unless you use a tape-wound nylon string, which I have by the way but haven’t tried it yet (with a full set of nylons).
    I am just setting out the scale length on a banjo this morning & I keep thinking it may suite Bruce B or Jill McAuley E =22 3/4” to G= 23 1/4”. An openback woody tenor that already has a new home to go to. The dark side isn’t too bad O==•

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  14. #8
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: I've gone to the dark side

    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    I'd like to get it in 5ths - any suggestions on strings and gauges? I know nothing about banjos but it is very loud.
    CGDA or GDAE?

  15. #9

    Default Re: I've gone to the dark side

    CGDA

    will it go GDAE?
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  16. #10
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: I've gone to the dark side

    Ah we have been suggesting GDAE, if you want CGDA 9p 13p 18w 28w for 23” scale 10p 14p 20w 30w for 21” scale.

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