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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: 4 string jazz banjo on tenor chicago tuned or 5 string-chicago tuned ?

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:

banjerpicker47 - Posted - 05/13/2019:  18:47:37

I have a 5 string banjo which I have tuned like a guitar with the 5th string "floppy" so it doesnt sound. I have seen quite a few topics where tenor banjos are tuned to chicago tuning ....I am wondering, in your opinion, which would sound the best for chord melody style tin pan alley songs...I am not willing to learn new chords, but want a good banjo sound. I would be willing to get a tenor banjo if properly strung with correct guage strings, it would sound more "banjoy" Thanks in advance and I am sure this topic has been covered many times...even perhaps in another section of the forum, so I apologize for the repeat.

BanjoBelle - Posted - 05/13/2019:  19:43:11

While I understand about you not wanting to learn new chords, have you considered a tenor banjo tuned GDAE (Irish tuning?) would sound excellent for 20's stuff. Also- if you stick with chicago tuning,you may want to try the Gold Tone AC-4 tenor banjo. I have one and it's a really great instrument.

tdennis - Posted - 05/13/2019:  21:42:59

If you have a five string, you can get a great voice & feeling by simply stringing only the first 4 strings guitar style, (ignore putting a 5th string on your instrument). . (A plectrum banjo tuned Chicago is a sweet instrument).

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 05/14/2019:  07:14:56

Since you have a five string banjo, just use it with Chicago tuning, just as you are now doing. It will actually sound more banjo-like than a tenor because the strings of a five string are longer so you'll get a higher tension with that tuning than you would with a tenor. That higher tension will give you more banjo "bite."

There's no real sense buying a tenor banjo, which would sound better tuned conventionally (CGDA) and would thus require the learning of new chords.

banjerpicker47 - Posted - 05/14/2019:  15:15:52

Thanks guys for the responses...for now I will stick with my RK banjo and take off the 5th string and keep using it...I have played guitar for 56 years.. most of it chord melody style....I wanted your input and appreciate it very much...

Omeboy - Posted - 05/14/2019:  15:24:58

Paul Scavarda plays Chicago tuned plectrum banjo and is clearly one of the best banjoists of that tuning. You can find a good number of his videos on YouTube.

Rob MacKillop - Posted - 05/14/2019:  15:38:04

banjerpicker47 - you might be interested in the plectrum-banjo stuff on my website:

Veerstryngh Thynner - Posted - 05/24/2019:  13:50:13

Dear Rob,

I'm really, really glad to see you back in BHO. You have been, and still are, in my personal development as banjo player, a massive inspiration. One of only two inspirational people showing me a direction away from Trad (although I don't expect to give up on Trad altogether).

Please come back to BHO.

Veerstryngh Thynner

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