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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Chicago Tuning - what is the best starting place - Tenor or Plectrum


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/373743

PTOEguy - Posted - 03/20/2021:  14:27:57


Because I need an excuse to buy yet another four-string banjo, I'd like to ask the brain trust here on Banjo Hangout:

If you were going to tune a banjo "chicago" style (DGBE) what makes the best starting instrument to restring - Plectrum or Tenor?

tdennis - Posted - 03/20/2021:  14:36:53


I use Chicago tuning for all my tenors & plectrums, & have always been satisfied. Buy the kind of banjo you are most attracted to, Chicago tuning will work.  (Perhaps for ergonomic reasons, one type of banjo will be easier to play than another)


Edited by - tdennis on 03/20/2021 14:39:35

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 03/20/2021:  18:09:12


Generally, a plectrum banjo's longer scale will give a fuller tone, but some of that also depends on set-up and the banjo's quality. There can also be size issues. A small person might find a tenor more satisfactory, a larger person or one with large hands might prefer the plectrum.

I would suggest buying the banjo you feel most comfortable with; one that fits your playing style and physique, as either banjo can and has been tuned Chicago.

Dgbectrum - Posted - 03/23/2021:  10:21:13


Plectrum!

guitarbanjoman - Posted - 03/23/2021:  10:25:31


New rule: you should never ask a plectrum banjo player what kind of banjo to buy...

... unless you also ask the barber whether you need a haircut....


/s

Hot Club Man - Posted - 03/25/2021:  02:58:09


'My 2 cent's worth'-----

Whatever type of banjo you choose for 'Chicago' tuning it will sound like a banjo. Years ago I tried 'Chicago' tuning on a plectrum banjo and the sound did'nt do it for me. I went back to plectrum banjo tuning. If I bought a tenor banjo I would use tenor tuning--If I bought a plectrum banjo I would use plectrum banjo tuning. If you do want 'Chicago' tuning I would do research on who uses that tuning on their banjo and see if you can get a sound sample of their playing--the scale length of the banjo and the string gauge they use for that tuning.

Hope this helps.

Eric A - Posted - 03/25/2021:  03:16:39


If you like that tuning you could forget the banjo and buy a baritone ukulele instead. Then begin convincing the wife you now need to buy a few more ukuleles. She'd probably go for it, figuring maybe she could get you to sell off a few banjos, but LOL that's not happening.


Edited by - Eric A on 03/25/2021 03:26:07

guitarbanjoman - Posted - 03/25/2021:  14:22:18


“How many banjos does a banjo player need?”

“Just one more!”

sethb - Posted - 03/25/2021:  15:30:41


quote:

Originally posted by guitarbanjoman

New rule: you should never ask a plectrum banjo player what kind of banjo to buy...



... unless you also ask the barber whether you need a haircut....

 






As a plectrum player myself, 1) I think that's a very astute observation, and 2) "plectrum" is always the right answer anyway <grin>!  SETH

JudsonCarroll - Posted - 03/25/2021:  17:30:49


I like Chicago tuning better on plectrum than tenor. Tenor just seems more comfortable tuned in 5ths, more natural.

PTOEguy - Posted - 03/29/2021:  18:19:07


quote:

Originally posted by Eric A

If you like that tuning you could forget the banjo and buy a baritone ukulele instead. Then begin convincing the wife you now need to buy a few more ukuleles. She'd probably go for it, figuring maybe she could get you to sell off a few banjos, but LOL that's not happening.






I actually already have a baritone ukulele.  And a banjo uke, an expensive uke, a moderately priced uke, a super cheap uke, an electric uke and a bass uke - I sold the resonator uke to make room for the plectrum banjo I'm buying...



The thought was that if I didn't like the plectrum tuning I could retune it in Chicago and then at least I'd know the chord shapes - or I could capo at the 5th fret and turn it into a really big banjo uke.  Or if I liked the sound, pick up another plectrum for alternate tunings...  

geoB - Posted - 03/30/2021:  11:44:09


ICYMI

Chicago tuning = Baritone Ukulele tuning = high 4 strings on a guitar tuning.

A standard ukulele tuning is basically a guitar tuning at the 5th fret.

Violin tuning = mandolin tuning

Viola tuning = tenor banjo tuning = tenor guitar tuning = mandolincello tuning.

Cello tuning is the same as viola only an octave lower.

craig wood - Posted - 03/30/2021:  13:10:25


Maybe leave the Chicago tuning to the tenor guitar. Tiny Grimes.. a perfect example.
Yet the plectrum banjo would be more suited to the guitar tuning thats clear. Scale length.
Yet Tiny did pretty pretty good. A tenor, chicago tuning in 4ths not 5ths.

paulspafford - Posted - 03/31/2021:  21:59:01


Deering did an article on their blog a year or so ago about what string gauges to use if you’re stringing your tenor to plectrum or Chicago tuning. If you’re doing that, you need slightly heavier strings than if you’re doing it on a plectrum.

Use the right gauges and it’ll sound good on both.

PTOEguy - Posted - 03/31/2021:  22:31:04


quote:

Originally posted by geoB

ICYMI



Chicago tuning = Baritone Ukulele tuning = high 4 strings on a guitar tuning.



A standard ukulele tuning is basically a guitar tuning at the 5th fret.



Violin tuning = mandolin tuning



Viola tuning = tenor banjo tuning = tenor guitar tuning = mandolincello tuning.



Cello tuning is the same as viola only an octave lower.




And of course Irish Tenor is violin/Mandolin tuning an octave down...

geoB - Posted - 04/01/2021:  12:22:38


"And of course Irish Tenor is violin/Mandolin tuning an octave down..."


I always seem to forget about the Irish Tenor. Even though I use Irish tenors Strings on my tenor banjo (tuned to  to standard C).


 

PTOEguy - Posted - 04/04/2021:  08:12:16


OK so I finally got the Plectrum banjo I've been waiting on and I've been playing it in both Chicago and standard Plectrum tuning. Is it typical to use the same string set just retuned or do you get a separate set of strings?

guitarbanjoman - Posted - 04/06/2021:  11:35:05


Congratulations, Glenn.

I think using the same set of strings is fine.

But beware of chord confusion between the two tunings!

dannyburke1 - Posted - 04/06/2021:  12:54:12


Johnny Thorson uses Chicago tuning, to me, he has one of the best sounds in the business. Of course he is a great player and has a very nice banjo too.

There are plenty of amazing sounding banjos uses regular tenor or plectrum tunings

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