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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: String gauge?


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/350844

Richj - Posted - 02/03/2019:  22:57:28


Hi Folks,

A really naive question! I have been playing my (Deering Goodtime) banjo for around 4 months and now want to change the strings. Whilst new to banjo, I have played guitar for many years so my fingers are tough enough. When I order strings, what would be a sensible gauge to go for?



Rich


Edited by - Lynne on 02/04/2019 05:49:42

Neil Allen - Posted - 02/03/2019:  23:21:23


I'd go for light gauge. They are (probably) a bit easier on the hand for Scruggs style players who tend to play near the bridge where the strings are stiffer. Also, I believe the Goodtime does not have a truss rod, so no point in putting unnecessary strain on the neck.

Richj - Posted - 02/04/2019:  02:20:26


Thank you for that, Neil Allen. Do I simply ask for, 'light' or do I need to specify some other measurement, diameter or weight etc?

glosardo - Posted - 02/04/2019:  02:36:22


Rich,

I'm a novice (about 1 year's playing time), but I think I can answer this one. You can purchase the strings from the Deering website; they are labeled "light" and also have the associated gauges listed for each string:  10-11-13-21-10.  Another brand you may wish to consider is GHS.  You can purchase them from Amazon.  Their light gauge is ID number PF-140 with gauges of 9 1/2-11-12-20-9 1/2.  Their medium light gauge is PF-145 with gauges of 10-12-13-22-10.


Edited by - glosardo on 02/04/2019 02:44:06

Emiel - Posted - 02/04/2019:  04:33:30


Here's a chart with banjo string gauges. All those sets that have a first string of 9 or 9.5 can be considered "light":

zeppmusic.com/tips.htm#stringsets

Neil Allen - Posted - 02/04/2019:  04:41:49


Rich,

Yes, as Gerry said, there are slight differences in string gauge with different manufacturers, but they are generally labeled "light" or "medium". As long as you specify "light gauge strings for 5-string banjo" you won't go wrong.

Richj - Posted - 02/04/2019:  05:04:13


Brilliant! Thank you all for your help. Really very useful

Rich

teddy ruxpin - Posted - 02/04/2019:  05:48:39


quote:

Originally posted by Richj

Hi Folks,

A really naive question! I have been playing my (Deering Goodtime) banjo for around 4 months and now want to change the strings. Whilst new to banjo, I have played guitar for many years so my fingers are tough enough. When I order strings, what would be a sensible gauge to go for?



Rich






Rich,



Light strings are what the goodtime manufacturers maintenance manual states. I seem to remember Janet D saying you "could" use mediums and "should" not have any issue. 



Feel free to ask Deering. They takes calls like this everyday so if you have any questions and want to hear it from the horses mouth. Also ask for a maintenance manual PDF.



We are all willing to help but somethings are just better to ask the manufacturer for warranty purposes. Deering is pretty good about helping.



respectfully,



Teddy

Richj - Posted - 02/04/2019:  06:42:46


Thank you very much for your thoughts, Teddy.

Rich

steve davis - Posted - 02/04/2019:  07:53:49


The tone of the banjo changes with each string choice.
Give them all a shot over time to see what you like best.

The Old Timer - Posted - 02/04/2019:  09:39:45


You should compare a set of lights, and a set of mediums, and see what you prefer for sound/feel. It's a small investment, and will set you down the path of infinite banjo "tinkering", which is half the fun of the banjo.

Dan Gellert - Posted - 02/04/2019:  09:46:54


If you're an acoustic guitar player, you're used to string gauges being reasonably consistent from brand to brand. Yeah, sometimes you'll see a set which would usually be called "light" labelled "medium-light", but if the high E is 12 thousandths, you can be very sure that the low E won't be as heavy as 58, or as light as 50.

Banjo gauges are all over the place. Deering's light gauge banjo set has a .010 first and fifth, which some would say means it's not really light gauge. Check out the variety of banjo sets in the GHS line. With banjo strings "light" and "medium" are pretty much meaningless-- you have to read the fine print (the individual gauges of each string).

steve davis - Posted - 02/04/2019:  10:15:30


I liked going to single strings and making up my own sets for years.
I started with the Euphonon String Company in the 70s and had medium sets sent in a straight paper tube but then changed to Keith Reds through the 80s and 90s (11 11 14 22pb 11) on my StewMac maple "Vintage" flathead kit.
Over time with my 1999 tb2/Cox conversion it grew to 11 12 15 22pb 11 which wasn't available as a set.
I shopped by going to the single string selections at Just Strings or any GHS "catalog" until a couple of weeks ago when I tried a set of GHS pf200.
11 12 14 22s 11 and I've again found my new favorite sizes that I can now buy as a regular set...though I'm still going to try a 22pb at the next change.
It's an ongoing thing with me,I guess.

Kimerer - Posted - 02/04/2019:  18:45:58


The Deering Goodtime banjo has no steel reinforcement in the neck. At least, my old Goodtime does not. They might have changed that in recent years. I don't know.



 They specify light gauge strings to keep the neck from bending under the tension of the strings. I would be careful putting heavier strings on the Deering Goodtime. Too much tension on a neck with no truss bar can wreck the neck.

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