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I was given a GT CC Irish Tenor Banjo 19.75" scale Which strings for CGDA?

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Feb 10, 2019 - 5:08:39 AM
12 posts since 1/12/2019

I want to play in CGDA tuning but I'm not familiar with what string gauges to use on a 19-3/4" scale.

I had a 23" scale and I found that even 9s was just too much tension for my liking. I don't care for ultra bright sounds either, I prefer a good mellow sound for Jazz.

I am a bit worried that 9s would be too loose for it.

I can't tell for sure yet as the banjo is still being delivered to me and it should arrive here next week.

I'm sure there's some kind of strings that will work on it just fine, I mean my 14" mandolin uses 9s and works just fine.

(edit: I realized my subject line wasn't very clear so I changed it. My bad)

Edited by - ProperNoun on 02/13/2019 11:14:30

Feb 10, 2019 - 7:03:32 AM
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1654 posts since 5/2/2012

I have that model banjo. Bought it used and tune it GDAE with the strings that came on it, so I don't have any experience with playing with string choice for CGDA tuning. The GT web site indicates the strings from the factory for that banjo are .013 .020w .030w .040w gauges and is to be tuned GDAE per the factory, so if you're thinking .09 for the first string that is quite a bit "lighter" and I'm guessing brighter. I did buy a set of "medium" strings (9,16,23,30), which D'Addario says gives a "bright tone, dynamic projection" on the package, to switch over to CDGA tuning, but haven't gotten around to it. I'm thinking the head might also factor into the equation, as far as shooting for a mellow tone, so you might need to think about switching to a something like a Ren or Fiberskyn head to get a mellower tone. Or do the "stuffing the head" thing that the old time players do, like an old sock between the co-rod and the head, to mellow out the sound. You might think about modifying the title for the thread to include the phrase "string choice" and you might get more looks and responses from those who are in the know.

Feb 10, 2019 - 7:39:39 AM
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50478 posts since 12/14/2005

Oh! You're looking for STRING advice.
When I saw the topic title, I thought you were looking for PERMISSION to play YOUR favorite music on YOUR banjo.

Best wishes for a load of fun.

Feb 10, 2019 - 8:11:48 AM
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1529 posts since 12/31/2005

Check out this page.  Towards the bottom he gives advice on strings to use at different scale lengths for different tunings.   https://riverboatmusic.com/banjos/four_string/4_string_banjos.htm

Feb 10, 2019 - 8:41:02 AM

5390 posts since 8/28/2013

A standard tenor banjo set should work. Usually they are about .009, .016, .023wound, and .030wound. On a short scale, you may wish to go .001 heavier, but you should experiment with gauges in that approximate range, as no two players and no two banjos are alike. (I buy individual strings, myself because the sets don't match the sizes I use.)

Also, going from ITM to standard CGDA means that you'll probably need to replace the bridge and the nut. The string slots for the heavier ITM strings will be too wide for CGDA strings and could cause rattling. A somewhat thicker, heavier bridge can produce a slightly more mellow sound, but again, this may be a place to experiment.

Feb 13, 2019 - 11:19:25 AM

12 posts since 1/12/2019

quote:
Originally posted by thisoldman

I have that model banjo. Bought it used and tune it GDAE with the strings that came on it, so I don't have any experience with playing with string choice for CGDA tuning. The GT web site indicates the strings from the factory for that banjo are .013 .020w .030w .040w gauges and is to be tuned GDAE per the factory, so if you're thinking .09 for the first string that is quite a bit "lighter" and I'm guessing brighter. I did buy a set of "medium" strings (9,16,23,30), which D'Addario says gives a "bright tone, dynamic projection" on the package, to switch over to CDGA tuning, but haven't gotten around to it. I'm thinking the head might also factor into the equation, as far as shooting for a mellow tone, so you might need to think about switching to a something like a Ren or Fiberskyn head to get a mellower tone. Or do the "stuffing the head" thing that the old time players do, like an old sock between the co-rod and the head, to mellow out the sound. You might think about modifying the title for the thread to include the phrase "string choice" and you might get more looks and responses from those who are in the know.


I see. 
Well the Banjo should be arriving in like a day or two so once I swap the strings out I'll be sure to let you know if the standard d'dad strings will do the trick. 

Any advice on crown height? I've got a low and medium crown renn head in the closet. 

(I went ahead and changed up the title as you suggested, though it's probably a bit too late)

Feb 13, 2019 - 11:23:10 AM

12 posts since 1/12/2019

quote:
Originally posted by G Edward Porgie

A standard tenor banjo set should work. Usually they are about .009, .016, .023wound, and .030wound. On a short scale, you may wish to go .001 heavier, but you should experiment with gauges in that approximate range, as no two players and no two banjos are alike. (I buy individual strings, myself because the sets don't match the sizes I use.)

Also, going from ITM to standard CGDA means that you'll probably need to replace the bridge and the nut. The string slots for the heavier ITM strings will be too wide for CGDA strings and could cause rattling. A somewhat thicker, heavier bridge can produce a slightly more mellow sound, but again, this may be a place to experiment.


I can get strings that suite me better later on, I'm just hoping the standard d'daddario sets I have won't be floppy. 

I ordered an uncut Zero Glide nut, and a new bridge so if the current nut causes any issues, I'll go with the Zero Glide. 

I can do setup just fine.  Also I can salvage bridges with oversized holes. Its not ideal but it'll work in a pinch and for initial breaking in period. 

Feb 13, 2019 - 4:03:50 PM

1654 posts since 5/2/2012

The GT website says the head is a LC smooth, and I'll take a wild guess that LC is code for low crown, but if you have both low and medium in the closet, just pick the one that has the same crown height (and diameter). I have not taken my GT CC-IT apart, so I have not checked the crown height. The Stew Mac website will show you how crown height is measured and the "standards" for low, medium and high crown heights.

Feb 13, 2019 - 4:13:45 PM

1654 posts since 5/2/2012

Thought I should share this with you as well. The weak points of this banjo, from my perspective, are the tuners and the j-hooks. When you go to switch out the head, make sure you don't crank down too hard on the hooks. I've not had a problem, but they don't look that sturdy. The tuners? You may find that you will be tuning every time you play (which you will be checking anyway and it is not a bad thing, really) and if you pick hard, you may need to check the tuning mid-practice.

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