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B&D set up for Irish tuning on a Plectrum.

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Oct 24, 2019 - 8:14:42 AM
Players Union Member

Ryk

USA

221 posts since 11/20/2011

I have a B&D Silver Belle Tenor that is set up for Irish tuning EADG as per advice here on the Forum ... Thank you. I'm wondering what changes need to be made to that set up to use on a Silver Belle Plectrum. (Tenor is Renaissance head at 94 on drum dial, Farquar bridge and a string set of 14-24-32-42) Thanks for any help.
Ryk

Oct 24, 2019 - 8:16:07 AM

csacwp

USA

2505 posts since 1/15/2014
Online Now

You'll need to downtune by a few whole steps and use a capo to bring it up to pitch.

Oct 24, 2019 - 8:54:46 AM
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6536 posts since 8/28/2013

I don't completely agree with John here, because I think strings can be found that will work without detuning. However, I will say that the strings used for GDAE on a tenor will not work on a plectrum banjo, due to the plectrum's longer scale length. (The extra length means the same strings will pull up to greater tension that can damage the banjo.) You'll need lighter gauges.

You could check with some of the online tension calculators such as the one by D'Addario to get an idea of what string gauges might work for this scale length and tuning.

Fender was producing the "Robert Schmidt" plectrum model for a while, designed to be used with Irish tuning. You might check on the original strings used on those, although it may be possible that those Schmidt models were built with stronger-than -usual necks.

It may also be prudent to check the serial of your B & D. The early models did not have reinforced necks, but the later ones (if I recall, after 1929) had a steel strengthening bar in the neck.

Oct 25, 2019 - 8:13:19 AM
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Fathand

Canada

11533 posts since 2/7/2008

A plectrum banjo is usually the same scale as a 5 string, 26 1/4" or sometimes 27".

There is no problem tuning the first string to E using a .010 string. For the second string A, use a 3rd string from a 5 string set, about .016. The 3rd string D would match a 4th string from a 5 string set, a Wound nickel about .022 -.024. 4th a wound nickel String about .036.

Oct 25, 2019 - 10:27:09 AM
Players Union Member

Ryk

USA

221 posts since 11/20/2011

Many thanks for all the responses. Great clues to get me started experimenting.
Ryk

Oct 28, 2019 - 8:29:43 PM

10540 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by csacwp

You'll need to downtune by a few whole steps and use a capo to bring it up to pitch.


Nonsense

The Fender Robert Schmidt plectrum banjo comes with D'Addario EJ63I Nickel Plated Steel Medium Gauge 4-String Irish 012 016 024w 036w.

Robert Schmidt Fender Strings

Similar to the gauges that I used on my Vega Senator plectrum tuned the same way — and my Imperial Electric tuned plectrum — and my Tubaphone NO 3 tuned Chicago (the only one I still have).

I never cared for the sloppy tone and feel if a octave tuned tenor. Irish tuned plectrums felt and sounded better to me.

The Robert Schmidt has been discontinued for 3 years now but is still available new. At the current $treet of $399, I think they're a great buy. I've recommended one to the person currently borrowing my NO 3.

Edited by - mikehalloran on 10/28/2019 20:46:29

Oct 28, 2019 - 8:48:14 PM

10540 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by mikehalloran
quote:
Originally posted by csacwp

You'll need to downtune by a few whole steps and use a capo to bring it up to pitch.


Nonsense

The Fender Robert Schmidt plectrum banjo comes with D'Addario EJ63I Nickel Plated Steel Medium Gauge 4-String Irish 012 016 024w 036w.

Robert Schmidt Fender Strings

Similar to the gauges that I used on my Vega Senator plectrum tuned the same way — and my Imperial Electric tuned plectrum — and my Tubaphone NO 3 tuned Chicago (the only one I still have).

I never cared for the sloppy tone and feel of a octave tuned tenor. Irish tuned plectrums felt and sounded better to me. Haqving been a cellist in my youth, the scale and tuning was no obstacle.

The Robert Schmidt has been discontinued for 3 years now but is still available new. At the current $treet of $399, I think they're a great buy. I've recommended one to the person currently borrowing my NO 3.

 


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