I've just acquired a '30s (I think) 4 string banjo,British made "Melody Jo", seems to be a fairly low grade mass produced thing but not without its charm, tenor I think. It's a quite a cool looking thing (pics to follow) and in good condition for its age. I'm a 5 string player normally so wasn't 100 percent sure of the tuning but GDAE seemed to ring a bell from my days of meddling with a mandolin, it had newish strings on and someone had obviously set it up in the not-too-distant past as the intonation was just about right (well for an 80 yr old banjo!)and the bridge looks new-ish. I got it reasonably in tune in fifths GDAE and had a bit of a noodle - tuning constantly slipping, friction pegs of course - then I looked at the Mel Bay tenor banjo book that was in the case, which gave CGDA as the tuning, so I tried that but snapped the top string straight away anyway it seemed a bit ambitious for that banjo since it's got a high action already and no truss rod or any other simple adjustment on the neck. I'm wondering if I'd be better with nylon strings? And I reckon the head needs a tighten up as it's very plunky in that low tuning, but I guess I should go carefully as it's vellum - possibly the original head - and I reckon it might split quite easily if I give it a fright, I'm planning to tighten up in tiny increments all around the head till it's got more of a pop to it. Good fun to have a new toy especially when it's an old one! Any thoughts?2 comments
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monchan uploaded a video 'The Night Of Washington Square Is Over 2020/Mar/15' 78 days
Playing Since: 2004
Experience Level: Intermediate
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Cort resonator banjo, Goodtime open back, Melody Jo tenor, also acoustic and electric guitars (Gibson SG, Fender Strat), tenor ukulele
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Been playing rock type guitar for many years, took up 5 string banjo a few years back and have become addicted - tried playing my own "freestyle" picking/frailing at first, went on to bluegrass pickin', now I'm somewhere between the two! I play banjo in two bands - Antic Hay, a three piece band playing mostly original music in the bluegrass/old time/swamp pop cajun gumbo genre, and Hellbucket, a four to six piece goodtime skiffle band playing mostly daft covers in the god knows what genre. Guitar has kind of fallen by the wayside but I do harbour the desire to plug the axe back in and play some screaming blues once in a while. Now learning tenor banjo too. And there's a neglected mandolin hanging on the wall waiting for new strings...
'Banjo Ukulele' 1 hr
'Pentatonic Scales' 2 hrs