Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

340
Banjo Lovers Online


Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!
Jul 4, 2020 - 6:22:57 PM
11 posts since 5/17/2020

Hi, So I decided to re tune my banjo as Ive been playing it for a few months. I had no joy with a app I got so tried the electronic tuner. Ive used it before and seemed to be fine but couldn't get to the sound Im used to?? Eventually broke a string so decided to replace all strings, that made it worse. Again I used the electronic tuner but was way out and only got close to what I know by tightening or loosening. I must say I am a beginner and as such I cant tune by ear. Is there any where which is recommended by you?? many thanks.

Jul 4, 2020 - 6:29:40 PM
like this

chuckv97

Canada

50975 posts since 10/5/2013
Online Now

Hi Bristol. When you took off the old strings did you mark where the bridge was positioned? If the bridge was placed wrong your banjo will sound off when playing chords, even if you’ve tuned the open strings with the tuner.

Jul 4, 2020 - 6:46:08 PM
likes this

29 posts since 4/16/2020

A couple of the free android phone tuning apps are pretty good. Get one that specifically lists 5 string banjo in the instrument list and select it. There are a couple that do. Then you can then select each string on the app and it will guide you and ensure you don't tune past each proper strings tuning. Great for beginners. Get it close, then measure the distance from the nut to the 12th fret... then measure the same distance from the 12th fret to the bridge. Both distances should be the same. Place the bridge there. This will get you close. Then you can check the intonation and make minor adjustments to get it perfect.

Edited by - coherent on 07/04/2020 18:46:51

Jul 5, 2020 - 8:10:06 AM
likes this

Alex Z

USA

3878 posts since 12/7/2006
Online Now

"re tune my banjo as Ive been playing it for a few months. . . .  tried the electronic tuner. Ive used it before and seemed to be fine but couldn't get to the sound Im used to?  . . . I must say I am a beginner and as such I cant tune by ear. "

To provide good advice in this situation, we should start at the beginning:

    If you hear two notes, can you distinguish which one is higher or lower?

 

For a beginner, that's the basic skill that's needed first.  If you have that, we can go on to the next step. If not -- or not so good -- we can work on that first.  And then step by step get to positioning the bridge correctly, matching notes to an electronic tuner, etc.

If your banjo has not been tuned for months, it is possible that the sound you are "used to" is the sound of not being in tune.  

Edited by - Alex Z on 07/05/2020 08:10:27

Jul 5, 2020 - 8:17:08 AM

2188 posts since 5/2/2012

Once you get this sorted out (bridge in the correct place, intonation close to perfect as you can get, all the strings tuned to the correct pitch), do a search using the phrase "relative tuning for banjo". I check relative tuning at the start of every pratice session, then with the electronic tuner when things sound a little off (usually after a change in temperature or humidity). If you have a good set of tuners, it should stay in tune for a number of days, may be a week (or two if you're lucky). If you don't have decent tuners, you might find yourself retuning every day, or even during your practice session. Of course, if you are going to be playing with others, whip that tuner out so that you match up with others.

Jul 5, 2020 - 2:59:17 PM
likes this

145 posts since 4/1/2016

Check the instructions for the tuner. The display should be showing A 440 hz - it’s adjustable. Also, some have adjustable flat modifiers - never used them (don’t even know what they’re for) but if it’s inadvertently flatted, tuning will not be true. I know - drove me nuts at a jam once until someone pointed it out to me.

Jul 5, 2020 - 3:19:36 PM

n1wr

USA

789 posts since 12/27/2010

Bristol: Lots of good advice I won't repeat. You are over in England, so banjo pickers might be scarce. Do you know someone that plays guitar? They also are proficient in using the electronic tuners, and one could likely get you in tune. Your G sting (3rd string) will be tuned exactly like the G string on the guitar. The one difference that you need to be aware of is the placement of the bridge. Do a search for "setting the bridge on a banjo.' you will find numerous videos, here's one: youtube.com/watch?v=o3GPARmX0C0

Good luck and welcome to the hangout.

Jul 9, 2020 - 3:47:45 AM

3521 posts since 12/6/2009

once you get banjo set up this site is a godsend.....I use it all the time.
get-tuned.com/html5-banjo-tuner.php

Jul 9, 2020 - 4:23:05 PM

11 posts since 5/17/2020

WOW? You guys and galls are great. I did as mentioned and got very close to what I m used to. Strangely I did find if I altered the strings then I would be way out, this maybe cause I’m heavy handed on tuning?. Practically there now though the bottom string seemed too high, after carefully adjusting I noticed the note is like a high pitched ting which sounds longer than before? Excuse me if I’m being a pain, just trying to learn. Thankyou all for your help.

Jul 10, 2020 - 11:23:50 AM

Paul R

Canada

12977 posts since 1/28/2010

Not a problem! Keep in mind that tuning a banjo is more finnicky than tuning a guitar because the skin (or mylar) head is not as stable as the wooden soundboard. When you tune one string it affects the tuning of the other strings. When you tune, be sure to go back over every string to see how much fine tuning still needs to be done.

Jul 10, 2020 - 12:12:12 PM

2188 posts since 5/2/2012

Sounds like you have things sorted out. Couple of things to think about. Not unusual to have to go back and retune some of the strings when you are tuning all 5 strings. Like if you tune strings 1,2,... you might find that after tuning the 5th string you might need to go back make slight adjustments to strings 1,2,3... Second, you can get some sympathtic vibrations from other strings when tuning, so you may find the need to dampen the other strings when tuning a string. Finally, it helps tune "up" to the correct pitch than tune "down" to it.

Jul 24, 2020 - 3:19:42 PM

11 posts since 5/17/2020

quote:
Originally posted by thisoldman

Sounds like you have things sorted out. Couple of things to think about. Not unusual to have to go back and retune some of the strings when you are tuning all 5 strings. Like if you tune strings 1,2,... you might find that after tuning the 5th string you might need to go back make slight adjustments to strings 1,2,3... Second, you can get some sympathtic vibrations from other strings when tuning, so you may find the need to dampen the other strings when tuning a string. Finally, it helps tune "up" to the correct pitch than tune "down" to it.


Jul 24, 2020 - 3:21:23 PM

11 posts since 5/17/2020

Thankyou all, this old man, what do you mean by “ tune up” rather than “ tune down”?

Jul 24, 2020 - 4:00:44 PM

2188 posts since 5/2/2012

Bristol By tune up I meant from lower to higher (correct) pitch. I read that some time ago, and I personally find it easier to hit the right pitch going from low to high. I seem to "overshoot" the right tone going from high to low.

Jul 24, 2020 - 6:50:04 PM

chuckv97

Canada

50975 posts since 10/5/2013
Online Now

If you tune high to low some slack might catch at the nut slot. You always want to keep tension on the string which occurs going low to high.

Jul 24, 2020 - 9:44:13 PM

89 posts since 11/18/2014

Surprised no-one has mentioned frequency of tuning. I typically tune my instrument every 15 minutes or so whilst practicing and try to retune between every song when performing (sometimes I get carried away and forget).

If you are doing this and tuning half a dozen times a day you will quickly get more of a feel for it.

Jul 25, 2020 - 1:56:19 AM

47 posts since 8/15/2017

I tune my banjo once a day

Jul 25, 2020 - 6:20:30 AM

BobbyE

USA

2731 posts since 11/29/2007
Online Now

If it was a new banjo, and is several months old, the head might have become a bit slack in tension thus your not hearing what you thought you used to hear.

Bobby

Jul 25, 2020 - 1:17:44 PM

11 posts since 5/17/2020

That really surprises me that some tune so frequently. I think I need to learn how to recognise tuning. At present I feel like I’m just experimenting.

Jul 25, 2020 - 1:41:15 PM

Alex Z

USA

3878 posts since 12/7/2006
Online Now

" I decided to re tune my banjo as I've been playing it for a few months."

"That really surprises me that some tune so frequently. I think I need to learn how to recognise tuning. At present I feel like I’m just experimenting."

We all have different tolerances for being in tune and out of tune.  These tolerances can change over time, however.

A banjo is not like a piano, where a careful tuning on a stable instrument can be acceptable for several months for a lot of people.

If your banjo has not been tuned for months, it is very likely that it is not even close to being what most players would call "in tune," and you've become used to that sound.  Thus tuning the strings to any other frequencies will sound bad, at least for a while.  

I'll ask the same question as before, because it is step one in any solution here:  If you hear two notes, can you distinguish which note is higher or lower?  

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.2226563