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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Gourd Banjo Tunings

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:

Noah Cline - Posted - 04/26/2020:  08:43:56

Here's a video I put together on gourd banjo tunings after having a couple people ask about how to tune one. This also can apply to other low-tuned banjos. These are mainly centered around what I refer to as the "D-range" and "E-range" pitches, and specifically cover gDGBD, gCGCD, and gDGCD relative tunings at those respective pitches along with some related tunings. 

Video notes: 

"This video covers various tunings for gourd banjos tuned to lower pitches. First tuning presented was verified with a tuner @ A=440; all following tunings were tuned by ear based off the first one. Each tuning is started from the bass string and played through to the fifth string, with each string repeated 3 times. Strings for each tuning are listed as 5th (represented by a lowercase letter), 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st.

Most common tunings include gDGBD, gCGCD, and gDGCD. For gourd and other low-tuned banjos, these tunings directly equate to dADF#A, dGDGA, and dADGA in the D-range, respectively (5 half-steps below standard pitch), and eBEG#B, eAEAB, and eBEAB for the E-range, respectively (3 half-steps below standard pitch). These pitches directly come from some of the earliest sources for banjo tunings, such as Briggs’ Banjo Instructor (1855 — dGDF#A), and Phil Rice’s Method for the Banjo: With or Without a Master (1858 — eAEG#B). Both of these tunings are relative to gCGBD.

dADF#A (gDGBD relative) — 0:27

dGDGA (gCGCD relative) — 1:10

dADGA (gDGCD relative) — 2:10

c#AC#EA (f#DF#AD relative) — 2:49

cACGA (fDFCD relative, “Last Chance tuning”) — 3:37

cADGA (fDGCD relative) — 4:21

eAEAB (gCGCD relative) — 5:06

eBEAB (gDGCD relative) — 5:47

eBEG#B (gDGBD relative) — 6:31

dBEAB (fDGCD relative) — 7:16

a#GCD#G (fDGA#D relative, “Mountain Staircase tuning”) — 8:01

Other related tunings not mentioned: 

cGCGA (fCFCD or gDGDE relative, “Sandy River Belle tuning”)

dGDGA# (gCGCD# relative)

dADFA (gDGA#D relative) 

c#F#BEA (f#BEAD, “Old Cumberland Gap tuning”)"

Edited by - Noah Cline on 04/26/2020 09:16:22

Critterhead - Posted - 04/27/2020:  22:03:06

Thank you! I hope to someday get a gourd or other type of low-tuned banjo so this is helpful.

Clizznas - Posted - 05/17/2020:  15:26:18

Just saw this and it’s so helpful - thank you! I love your YouTube videos by the way - seeing you demo your banjos on different songs is always awesome! I want to try slowing some down so I can pick up more on your great technique.

BrooksMT - Posted - 05/17/2020:  17:49:47

Thanks, Noah. I also drop my fretless mt banjo 5 semitones from standard tunings. I probably learned that from you in previous videos *smiles*. Nice to have the whole collection in one place, thanks.

Noah Cline - Posted - 05/17/2020:  18:56:27

To those that have replied -- glad I could help.  wink

Edited by - Noah Cline on 05/17/2020 18:56:51

banjo bill-e - Posted - 05/17/2020:  20:52:59

Wow Noah, what an amazing contribution for you to have put together and freely shared. Thank you. You continue to impress me as a player, as a builder, and as a person.

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