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oldtimeterry - Posted - 04/10/2007:  15:41:38

This might be a stupid question but is there any difference between a tenor banjo and a five string with the fifth string removed? Would that cause problems with neck tension?

pweller - Posted - 04/10/2007:  15:54:20

The problem is the scale, or the length of the neck. A five-string with the fifth string removed becomes a plectrum banjo, and it is still tuned either in open G or in DGBE, Chicago tuning. A tenor with 19 or 17 frets (as opposed to the 23 on a regular banjo) can take greater string tension and allows you to tune a banjo either CGDA or GDAE. This is known as fifths tuning. If you want to play dixieland, you can just play with the fifth string off. But to play Irish styles or other styles you need the shorter scale length of a tenor.

matrixbanjo - Posted - 04/11/2007:  08:21:14

standard plectrum tuning is CGBD. and yes, you can play irish music on a 5-string or plectrum. Just capo up on the third fret.

Banjo..? What banjo?

pweller - Posted - 04/11/2007:  12:11:00

Wow, I never knew that about the plectrum. Thanks for the correction, there's a reason why I don't teach others to play the banjo!

mikeyes - Posted - 04/11/2007:  14:40:35

Is there a lot of Irish Trad in Eb? Must be the trumpets. Although John Carty plays in Eb on some of his albums by either capoing up one or tuning up half a step <G>

Mike Keyes

DanielT - Posted - 04/11/2007:  16:35:08

Originally posted by mikeyes

Is there a lot of Irish Trad in Eb?

Only at sessions where they tune up because they don't want beginners joining in.

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