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Thread: Long Scale Gibson Banjo question...

  1. #1
    Registered User CWRoyds's Avatar
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    Default Long Scale Gibson Banjo question...

    First, apologies for a banjo question, but I dont want to join a banjo forum to ask, and I figured one of you will know the answer.

    A friend asked me to restring and set up his Grandmother's Gibson Banjo.
    From the length of the neck, I am assuming it is an extra long scale style banjo.

    My issue is that it seems the fret markers are in the wrong place.
    For example the 5th and 7th markers are located on the 6th and 8th frets.
    Am I missing something?
    It is messing with my head.

    Secondly, what are these usually tuned to?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Mandolins: Northfield 5-Bar Artist Model "Old Dog", J Bovier F5 Special, Gibson A-00 (1940)
    Fiddles: 1920s Strad copy, 1930s Strad copy, Liu Xi T20, Liu Xi T19+ Dark.
    Guitars: Taylor 514c (1995), Gibson Southern Jumbo (1940s), Gibson L-48 (1940s), Les Paul Custom (1978), Fender Strat (Black/RWFB) (1984), Fender Strat (Candy Apple Red/MFB) (1985).
    Sitars: Hiren Roy KP (1980s), Naskar (1970s), Naskar (1960s).
    Misc: 8 Course Lute (L.K.Brown)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Long Scale Gibson Banjo question...


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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Long Scale Gibson Banjo question...

    With a capo on the third fret the fret markers make sense and it's like a normal banjo. Tuning open is BEG#B.

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  6. #4
    Mandolingerer Bazz Jass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long Scale Gibson Banjo question...

    Yep, capo it at 3rd then tune normally to an open G chord.

    Long-neck banjos are designed to be able capo down as well as up from the 3rd fret starting point.

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  8. #5
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: Long Scale Gibson Banjo question...

    That is a Gibson RB-175, which was Gibson's long-necked banjo model, that was inspired by Pete Seeger's modified Vega banjo. Long neck banjos were quite popular during the early 1960's.

    These long necks are designed from the point of view that they are adding 3 bass frets to a standard banjo neck configuration.

    While there are many ways to tune a banjo, the most common ways to tune the instrument are E BEG#B and E AEG#B, which is 1 1/2 steps or three frets below "standard" G tuning [G DGBD] and C tuning [G CGBD]. You can use standard light or medium gauge banjo strings as long as they are of sufficient length.

    And if you put a capo at the 3rd fret and pretend that the capo is the nut, you will find that the position markets are at 3, 5, 7, 10, and 12 above the capo.

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  10. #6
    Mandolingerer Bazz Jass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long Scale Gibson Banjo question...

    My Vega longneck capoed for regular G-tuning:

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  12. #7
    Registered User CWRoyds's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long Scale Gibson Banjo question...

    Thanks to all above.
    It makes sense now.
    I had no idea.

    It has a really nice tone.
    It is not super bright, and has a comfortable volume.
    Cool instrument.
    Mandolins: Northfield 5-Bar Artist Model "Old Dog", J Bovier F5 Special, Gibson A-00 (1940)
    Fiddles: 1920s Strad copy, 1930s Strad copy, Liu Xi T20, Liu Xi T19+ Dark.
    Guitars: Taylor 514c (1995), Gibson Southern Jumbo (1940s), Gibson L-48 (1940s), Les Paul Custom (1978), Fender Strat (Black/RWFB) (1984), Fender Strat (Candy Apple Red/MFB) (1985).
    Sitars: Hiren Roy KP (1980s), Naskar (1970s), Naskar (1960s).
    Misc: 8 Course Lute (L.K.Brown)

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