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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Irish Music on 5-String Banjo + capo


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/361053

bh2win - Posted - 02/10/2020:  07:25:38


Hello everyone,



New banjo player here. I'm fully absorbed into pub songs and other music similar to that of the Dubliners. I'm learning to play the clawhammer style and I have a simple question.



When using a capo, what note should I tune my 5th string down to? I understand a capo on the 3rd fret brings the notes up a full step, so do I go from open G-tuning to A on the 5th string?


Edited by - bh2win on 02/10/2020 07:43:05

Half Barbaric Twanger - Posted - 02/10/2020:  08:47:19


To keep the 5th string consistent, you need to tune it up the same three frets, just like you thought. It is also possible to capo the 5th string.



I have been quite satisfied with the "Strum Hollow" 5th string capo. It comes with a pouch, and can be transferred to other banjos, just like your main capo. You can even use it to capo the first string, or the 4th string between the nut and the fifth string peg, although that might damage the winding on the 4th.



There is also an "Uncle Earl's" 5th string capo, but I have no experience with that one.  



I have always enjoyed The Dubliners and Tommy Makem's banjo playing with the Clancy Brothers.  I hope to hear more of you.  







Bill


Edited by - Half Barbaric Twanger on 02/10/2020 08:50:02

bh2win - Posted - 02/10/2020:  11:26:45


quote:

Originally posted by Half Barbaric Twanger

To keep the 5th string consistent, you need to tune it up the same three frets, just like you thought. It is also possible to capo the 5th string.



I have been quite satisfied with the "Strum Hollow" 5th string capo. It comes with a pouch, and can be transferred to other banjos, just like your main capo. You can even use it to capo the first string, or the 4th string between the nut and the fifth string peg, although that might damage the winding on the 4th.



There is also an "Uncle Earl's" 5th string capo, but I have no experience with that one.  



I have always enjoyed The Dubliners and Tommy Makem's banjo playing with the Clancy Brothers.  I hope to hear more of you.  







Bill






Thanks for the reply Bill.



Not to be dense, but I just wanted to verify that I'm tightening the fifth string even more from G to A? Since it's already at G, I sense the string is already pretty darn tight and I don't want to necessarily break another string. Does it make more sense to tune it by loosening?



Thanks for entertaining my neophyte questions.

Half Barbaric Twanger - Posted - 02/10/2020:  12:36:18


Your 5th string can ALMOST certainly take that much, but probably not much more -at least if it's a standard scale (26 1/4") instrument. Many years ago I tried to tune my banjo up to about a C (not too smart :-) and I didn't break any strings, but the cheap sheet metal tailpiece disintegrated. But, I was using light strings, which would have had less tension than medium ones. Tuning the 5th string up will increase the tension, if your tunes require fretting the 5th string. Or, you could even install an extra light 5th string.

Also, you might want to think about a removable 5th string capo. Both the Strum Hollow and the Earl's Suspender Capo 5th string capos are around $15 and available online. Unlike railroad spikes and Shubb capos, they can easily be moved from one instrument to another, just like your 4-string capo.

Good luck,

Bill

johnedallas - Posted - 02/13/2020:  05:54:59


As a rule of thumb, you can safely tune a 5th string down two semitones without impairing the tone quality, and tune it up one semitone without it breaking.
Consequently, a railroad spike or 5th-string capo at the 9th fret is enough to cover all the capo positions you're likely to want.

For 20 years I was a sort of "poor man's Luke Kelly" as the singer and banjoist in an Irish folk group. I must admit I found a sliding capo (like the Schubb, but home-made) to be very useful. In Irish folk, as opposed to American old-time, we like to change keys from song to song, if possible, and the sliding 5th-string capo is simply the fastest and most reliable method.

Cheers,
John

Zen Rabbit - Posted - 02/15/2020:  01:50:51


I use a Banjo Highway fifth string capo which does the job on my Goldtone White lady but prefer the railroad spikes on my other banjos. Something to consider if you have a luthier nearby who can fit them

Lorilee - Posted - 02/15/2020:  09:34:53


I have railroad spikes on my banjo in the usual 5th and 7th fret positions. If I needed to tune the 5th string up to, say, the 8th fret, is it good practice to use the 7th fret RR spike and then use the tuning peg to tune up to the proper tone from there?

Lorilee - Posted - 02/15/2020:  09:56:30


I meant the 7th and 9th frets. Duh.

Bill Rogers - Posted - 02/15/2020:  22:31:49


Have you checked out Tom Hanway’s material? He’s perhaps the best 5-string Irish player around.

chuckv97 - Posted - 02/15/2020:  22:59:02


If you have no spikes you can use a big pen cap

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