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Jim Pankey Teaches How to Re-String Your Five String Banjo

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Sep 24, 2020 - 7:31:39 AM
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1038 posts since 12/2/2012

Live today at 2:00 pm (Eastern Time, I think). Here is the link: Restringing your 5 String Banjo for Beginners (and Pros)

Don't need to read anything else I post from here on down, unless you're bored. . .

I remember reading a story about a guy who took his car to a mechanic friend for some sort of engine problem. The mechanic decided to take it for a drive to see what the problem  was. As he was driving the car was suddenly veering to left or the right and the play in the steering wheel was so loose that he thought he was going to crash. Come to find out that his friend had learned to unconsciously just kind of constantly move the the wheel left and right to keep the car going straight. The front end, of course, was dangerously worn out. The owner had not let anyone else drive his car so he was not aware of the problem because of lack of feedback.

I'm probably like that with my banjo strings. I play by myself. Don't jam. Have no musical training. No instruction other than self-taught. No second opinions to be found about my playing or how my banjo sounds. The grandkids - the youngest ones anyway - think I'm great.

However a recent  topic about Double C tuning got me thinking again about whether my banjo strings are worn out and aren't sounding as they should, regardless of what Mr. Snark says sitting up at the end of my banjo. So, after. . . what?. . . eight years? . . . I'm going to change my banjo strings. I've been really reluctant to do that because . . . what if I can't get it back together right? Will I get the bridge back in the right place? What's this "intonation" thing guys talk about? I'm going to trust Mr. Pankey that he'll get me through this.

Sep 24, 2020 - 10:34:43 AM

52 posts since 3/20/2019

You will hear an immediate difference in brightness, and they will probably feel alot slicker to play, once you replace those 8 years old strings! Some like the older string sound though, me included.

I also used to dread having to change strings when i was starting out. You wouldn't believe how irrationally angry id get when the end of the string would ping off the tailpiece, or id kink the string ruining it.

Id maybe think about having some spare strings with you, just incase you make a mess of it first time round as i did.

Sep 24, 2020 - 10:58:46 AM
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Players Union Member

Eric A


845 posts since 10/15/2019

If those issues worry you, change one string at a time.

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