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Wow I suck at restringing

Sunday, February 28, 2010

 Well after reading the feedback I got about when to restring your banjo, I realized that it was high time to change out my 9 month old strings.  So this morning around 9:45 AM, I collected my banjo, some diagonal cutters, a soft pencil, a new set of D'Addario LEO10 strings, and my Banjo for Dummies book...aka the Bible for Newbie Banjo Enthusiasts.

About 2 hours (yes, TWO HOURS) later, I finally had a tuned banjo with new strings.

The most problems I noticed having were keeping the loop ends around the tailpiece when drawing initial tension. I finally solved this by wedging in the tip of a mechanical pencil.  But I'm not sure I wound the excess string around the peghead in the correct direction or not, so I tried it both ways.  So when I started pulling tension, the loops around the peghead started unwinding and/or sliding off the top of the peghead, or I would get up to tension and find I had loops of slack all around the peghead. So I would unwind it and start over.

And over.

And over.

And over.

Finally, I think I have a nicely strung 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th string.  My 4th looks pretty suspect.  I tuned the instrument, played it for a couple minutes, and then re-tuned it.  It held that tuning throughout the next hour that I played the instrument, and I think it's still in tune, so it seems as though I was ultimately successful.

Too bad that I can completely string two tennis racquets in the time it took me to string 5 strings on my banjo!

Oh well. Practice makes perfect, right?


Playing Since: 2009
Experience Level: Novice


Occupation: Science Teacher / Engineer

Gender: Male
Age: 48

My Instruments:
Banjo (now), piano, bassoon, trumpet, euphonium, tuba

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
Sonny Osborne and Bill Evans

Classified Rating: not rated
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Profile Info:
Visible to: Public
Created 2/8/2010
Last Visit 9/9/2011

I spent so much of my time over the past several years in Southern West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky, that I listened to a lot of local radio. So one day I decided that I wanted to play the banjo. After telling a few people about it, I learned that there were several amateur bluegrass instrumentalists who worked on some of the same jobsites that brought me out in the first place. The hotel clerk's dad was a banjo player, one of the dozer operators was a banjo player, a miner was a fiddle player, and one of the electricians was a guitarist. After hearing them talk about their music and watching a couple video clips, I was convinced that the banjo was the next instrument I had to learn to play. Not that the banjo was ever far away from my instrumental tastes... my first 8 note polyphony Hammond organ (ca. 1980) had a banjo voice on it that I always used to play Stephen Foster music. So I researched banjos from the reviews on this website, and made a deal with my wife that if I went back to teaching and left my job as an engineer that required so much travel, I would be allowed to buy a banjo. Of course, the fact that teaching pays half of engineering meant that my funds were going to be limited. I looked up the affordable brand new instruments and settled on a Mastercraft Deluxe from thebanjohut. For what it cost me, I'm very happy with it. Hell, it cost me even less than a tone ring (which obviously means that it doesn't have one). All things considered, it does what it needs to do, and to the untrained ear (and most banjo non-enthusiasts), it sounds fine. I am teaching myself to play from Bill Evans' Banjo for Dummies and can competently play Cripple Creek in bluegrass style.

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