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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: long neck banjo tuning

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wold - Posted - 05/11/2010:  22:08:46

I am guessing this has been covered somewhere here but would appreciate an update. I understand the long neck banjo (I have ordered one and eagerly await it) is Tuned to E,B,E,G#,B.

My question is how this relates to the tuning I am using, which is a "C' capoed at the second fret to make D,A,D,E,a.

I am guessing the first string of the long neck banjo must be almost a full octave below the "D" I have on my banjo? Is this right? Is the "E" of open stringed long neck banjo therefore at the same pitch as the "E' of the first string of my guitar? Or is it an octave up from that?

I guess some of this will become clear to me when I get my hands on the banjo but could anyone clarify it for me?
Many thanks,

goldtopia - Posted - 05/11/2010:  22:44:58

When you are barring on the second fret the tuning should be D G B D which means open strings should be C F A C and the 5th string to F. You can use other tunings but I think this is the most common.


LarryD1 - Posted - 05/12/2010:  04:34:34

A 'C' tuning capoed at the second fret becomes a 'D' tuning.

The long neck will be tuned to an open 'E' tuning which is a little higher pitch than the 'D'.

It would be like capoing your 'C' on the fourth fret, however, you will be playing in the open 'G' formation instead of the 'C formation.

Hope this helps. I've always wanted to try a long neck.

scruss - Posted - 05/12/2010:  04:51:31

Originally posted by wold

I am guessing this has been covered somewhere here but would appreciate an update. I understand the long neck banjo (I have ordered one and eagerly await it) is Tuned to E,B,E,G#,B.

My question is how this relates to the tuning I am using, which is a "C' capoed at the second fret to make D,A,D,E,a.

Open strings for a long neck equivalent to aDADE are eAEAB. The fifth string is the same pitch as the first string of a guitar.

Playing in D on a long neck is interesting - the fretboard seems so short! You will also likely accidentally play "above the capo" a couple of times, and wonder why things aren't working ...

Hankulator - Posted - 05/12/2010:  05:48:33

you can tune it how ever you'd like. but if you normally play in open G you would tune down to open E (eBEG#B) i'm pretty sure that's how Pete Seeger usually tuned his. but i took mine and tuned it down to low D (dADF#A) that way i could play in every key from the G format. with the long neck and the regular banjo.

Helix - Posted - 05/12/2010:  06:04:19

That is so funny, nobody knows about this.

There you are jamming with your longneck, with the capo up in C or something where you have less neck being played on one side of the capo and neck storage on the other.

Then, play above the capo, meaning in blank space, and watch who notices, usually takes some time.

Michael Cooney used ALL of his longneck.

I am still learning, duh. I don't use double C tuning yet. So I use Pete Seeger's drop C.

On a longneck, in open E with the 4th string down to whatever, you get the Key of A,

so.......E/A, F/Bb,F#/B, THEN G/C on the 3rd fret.

I suggest 6 spikes for the longneck (7,8,9,10,12,14), it ain't too many, real handy, I used a Shubb sliding capo at first, but spikes work just fine in the dark on stage, stuff like that.

Having 6 spikes allows you to experiment with 5th string notes other than the root, like the 4th and 5th above the root. Play.

The longneck gives you access to six new keys that use your familiar fingering like in G. The first time I showed this at jam, none of us had heard those frequencies before. I began to mainstream the longneck in stage performances with traditional and written material.

Like you said, get pumped, it'll all become very clear with it in your hands.

Lots of longnecketeers here, basic strum, frailing, clawhammer, double thumbing and 3-finger, that should do, make up some new stuff. I'm open to that.

Longnecks rule ( ):)===='==== ::}

Edited by - Helix on 05/13/2010 04:43:01

wold - Posted - 05/12/2010:  06:13:02

Thanks for the many great responses!! I will have to ponder them all. My motivation for getting this banjo was to have some more lower notes to play. Sometimes playing on my existing banjo, I really want a lower note when I hit that D string on the bottom of the scale. True, there are many lower notes on the guitar, but its a guitar :)

Will be very interesting to try to work this out. Of course the first thing is whether it plays well. Thats the problem of buying over the internet ;)

vega long neck - Posted - 05/12/2010:  17:28:50

90% of the time I play with my long neck tuned A - E - G# - D. For years it was really easy using an A-440 tuning fork and then along came electronic tuners and it's even easier.

If you capo at the 3rd fret that gives you the equivelent of a standard scale neck and you'd be in C - G - B - D, what I've heard refered to as Standard C, sometime Seeger C. It's a much better tuning for chord shapes and it the tuning Seeger has for his entire chord page in How to Play The 5 String Banjo. I think it's really easy to navigate the fretboard with this tuning and most note you're looking for are right in the basic shape.

Tune the 4th string up one full step and you're in open E for the full neck and open G capoed at the 3rd fret.

howseth - Posted - 05/12/2010:  17:42:28

.... Someday, after my ship comes in, I want to buy a custom Ome openback with a long neck and radiused fingerboard, on a 12" pot with Silverspun ring.... perhaps the Zen Magician model. However, my ship is way out to sea at the present time.


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