Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Strings for tuning Plectrum banjo as Irish Tenor capoed 3rd fret

  1. #1

    Question Strings for tuning Plectrum banjo as Irish Tenor capoed 3rd fret

    New guy here. I've played guitar for over 60 years. I also play Tenor Ukulele and Electric Bass. A while back I bought a '67 Vega Wonder Plectrum Banjo, and being a guitarist, tuned it Chicago style (DGBE). But then I got a Mandola (Eastman MDA315, CGDA) and subsequently a Tenor Banjo (Goldtone IT250R set up for CGDA). I'm enjoying 5ths tuning! So now I'm thinking I want to set up my Plectrum as an Irish Tenor tuned GDAE when capoed at the 3rd fret.

    The Plectrum has 22 frets and a 27" scale. So if I tune it open at E B F# C#, It would be G D A E capoed @ the 3rd fret. If I capo it at the 3rd fret, that leaves 19 frets and a 22.75" scale.

    So, could anyone recommend a proper set of string gauges to accomplish this? I'm thinking maybe .012p .016p .024w .036w might do it.

    Wait - that's exactly the gauges of the D'Addario EJ63i Irish Tenor set!
    Assuming they're long enough, if I tune them down a minor 3rd in open position (@ 27" as proposed above) the tension should be OK!
    My local fretted instrument tech, Glenn Nelson of Mockingbird Music in Berlin MA, says that should work.
    They're not expensive; I'll include them in my next string order.
    And I'll post my results in this thread.

    Oh, and glad to be here!
    ~ Tom Karol

  2. #2

    Default Re: Strings for tuning Plectrum banjo as Irish Tenor capoed 3rd f

    Good News/Bad News:

    They're plenty long enough, and the action, intonation, and tension is good. They sound good and are very playable.

    But ...

    I had to tune them to G D A E in OPEN position or else they were too loose/floppy. So, now I guess I have a "Long Neck Irish Tenor" or an "Octave Bandolyn."

    If I want to follow my original plan and have it tuned G D A E when capoed at the 3rd fret, I'll need to go up to AT LEAST .014p .018p .026w & .038w. I'd probably use phosphor bronze for the wound strings in that case.

    I'm still happy with the results, but it appears that I'm not yet done experimenting.

  3. #3
    Registered User zoukboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Lubbock, TX
    Posts
    1,244

    Default Re: Strings for tuning Plectrum banjo as Irish Tenor capoed 3rd f

    Try these: .013/.022w/.032w/.042w

    C#4 277.18 Hz 27" 0.0130" PL 0.00003744 lb/in 21.71 lb
    F#3 185.00 Hz 27" 0.0220" NW 0.00009184 lb/in 23.72 lb
    B2 123.47 Hz 27" 0.0320" NW 0.00019347 lb/in 22.26 lb
    E2 82.41 Hz 27" 0.0420" NW 0.00032279 lb/in 16.54 lb
    84.23 lb

  4. #4

    Default Re: Strings for tuning Plectrum banjo as Irish Tenor capoed 3rd f

    Thanks, ZB, I will!

  5. The following members say thank you to 5Guitars for this post:


  6. #5

    Default Re: Strings for tuning Plectrum banjo as Irish Tenor capoed 3rd f

    I went with .014p .022w .032w .042w (the wound strings are phosphor bronze), and it worked. GHS makes a set called Custom Stainless Steel Celtic Tenor (.014 .024w .032w .042w) available for $6.99 @ Elderly Instruments – so I could go with those – but it sounded better with the D'Addario EJ63i Irish Tenor set tuned normally, so I’m sticking with the "Long Neck Irish Tenor/Octave Bandolin” iteration!

  7. #6

    Default Re: Strings for tuning Plectrum banjo as Irish Tenor capoed 3rd f

    Quote Originally Posted by 5Guitars View Post
    I went with .014p .022w .032w .042w (the wound strings are phosphor bronze), and it worked. GHS makes a set called Custom Stainless Steel Celtic Tenor (.014 .024w .032w .042w) available for $6.99 @ Elderly Instruments – so I could go with those – but it sounded better with the D'Addario EJ63i Irish Tenor set tuned normally, so I’m sticking with the "Long Neck Irish Tenor/Octave Bandolin” iteration!
    Hi, Im new to banjo. just bought a cheap 4 string tenor, 19 fret. Want to play irish with it so GDAE (no capo). What strings would you recommend? And what plectrum?

    thanks

  8. #7

    Default Re: Strings for tuning Plectrum banjo as Irish Tenor capoed 3rd f

    Sorry - I'm new to Banjo (and Mandola) too! I found the D'Addario EJ63i Irish Tenor set (.012p .016p .024w .036w) too light with a 22.75" (capoed) scale. All I can say is to try a few different sets from various brands, but make sure they're designed for Irish tenor banjo. As far as picks are concerned, that's a very personal preference kind of thing. I like small stiff pointy (less pointy for Mandola) picks in general - like Dunlop Jazz IIIs - but that's just me. Maybe someone more knowledgeable could chime in.
    FWIW, here's my own recipe:
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Screenshot 2022-01-21 195024.jpg 
Views:	62 
Size:	203.9 KB 
ID:	198944

  9. #8
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Co. Mayo, Ireland
    Posts
    3,479

    Default Re: Strings for tuning Plectrum banjo as Irish Tenor capoed 3rd f

    Quote Originally Posted by scoobykids View Post
    Hi, Im new to banjo. just bought a cheap 4 string tenor, 19 fret. Want to play irish with it so GDAE (no capo). What strings would you recommend? And what plectrum?

    thanks
    I play a 19 fret tenor banjo tuned GDAE and use 38w/28w/18w/12 plain - I sometimes switch the 18w for 16w if that's all I have to hand. Similarly if I've no plain 12's around I might put on a plain 11 for E string. I use Newtone strings - when I lived in the States I ordered them online from the UK and usually had them in about 7-10 days. Another good source for strings would be: www.tradbanjo.com (who are located in the States).
    2018 Girouard Concert oval A
    2015 JP "Whitechapel" tenor banjo
    2018 Frank Tate tenor guitar
    1969 Martin 00-18




    my Youtube channel

  10. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    2486 Govoners Drive South
    Posts
    218

    Default Re: Strings for tuning Plectrum banjo as Irish Tenor capoed 3rd f

    A Plectrum Banjo tuned GDAE w/ EJ63i Strings is great & the package really clearly says they're optimized for a 26.25 in scale which is the scale length of a Plectrum Banjo. The reason why they're optimized for tuning a Plectrum Banjo in 5ths is because the longer scale length will eliminate the floppy Low G String that's common w/ the shorter scale Tenor Banjos tuned down this low. Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Irish tenor Banjo.jpg 
Views:	48 
Size:	105.5 KB 
ID:	199267 I think the title of the string package is probably a little off it should say "Plectrum Banjo (in 5ths Tuning)".

  11. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to s11141827 For This Useful Post:


  12. #10
    Registered User zoukboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Lubbock, TX
    Posts
    1,244

    Default Re: Strings for tuning Plectrum banjo as Irish Tenor capoed 3rd f

    Quote Originally Posted by s11141827 View Post
    A Plectrum Banjo tuned GDAE w/ EJ63i Strings is great & the package really clearly says they're optimized for a 26.25 in scale which is the scale length of a Plectrum Banjo. The reason why they're optimized for tuning a Plectrum Banjo in 5ths is because the longer scale length will eliminate the floppy Low G String that's common w/ the shorter scale Tenor Banjos tuned down this low. Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Irish tenor Banjo.jpg 
Views:	48 
Size:	105.5 KB 
ID:	199267 I think the title of the string package is probably a little off it should say "Plectrum Banjo (in 5ths Tuning)".
    YMMV but those gauges are too light for my 22.125" scale OME. I use 13/22/32/42

  13. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    2486 Govoners Drive South
    Posts
    218

    Default Re: Strings for tuning Plectrum banjo as Irish Tenor capoed 3rd f

    Quote Originally Posted by zoukboy View Post
    YMMV but those gauges are too light for my 22.125" scale OME. I use 13/22/32/42
    John Pearse 450 Tenor Guitar Strings might work & some Banjo Tailpieces have holes so Ball End Strings will work.
    Last edited by s11141827; Feb-11-2022 at 9:25am.

  14. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    2486 Govoners Drive South
    Posts
    218

    Default Re: Strings for tuning Plectrum banjo as Irish Tenor capoed 3rd f

    Quote Originally Posted by zoukboy View Post
    YMMV but those gauges are too light for my 22.125" scale OME. I use 13/22/32/42
    Yeah these strings are actually meant to be on a Plectrum Banjo because the longer scale length of around 26.25 inches will eliminate the floppy string problem. A 5ths Tuned Plectrum Banjo actually gives you more notes that you can play plus it mellows out the sound. You've gotta watch the scale length cause they'll often measure the tension of the strings w/ a Scale Length that's longer than what they say they're for.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •