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Jun 22, 2021 - 6:36:31 AM
6039 posts since 8/19/2012

But it is not specifically about a banjo but.....
I have been looking at a banjo uke and wondering if anyone has tuned them like a banjo.
I am looking at a Gold Tone Little Gem because without a long explanation I can get one for free and I think they are kinda cute and look like fun. They also come with a gig bag and an adjustment wrench.
They are 'Concert' size which is a 15-16" scale length. I was thinking that if I tuned it like a banjo I could practice when I travel and would not have to learn new chord shapes.
Any ideas??

Standard Uke tuning is gCEA.
Banjo open G Tuning: gDGBD

Edited by - Bill Rogers on 06/22/2021 13:13:46

Jun 22, 2021 - 6:51:56 AM
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maxmax

Sweden

1496 posts since 8/1/2005

It's a four string uke, right?

In that case, I would just tune the first string down to G and you have the same intervals as the four long strings of a banjo, but tuned up to C. You can even put a low G string on the fourth instead of having it in reentrant tuning, so all your chord shapes will sound the same.

That said, I'd go ahead and get it but try it out for a while in standard C6 reentrant tuning. Uke's are a blast and I love the sound of the high fourth string. Strumming sounds more neutral where you can barely hear a difference between up and down strums. You loose bass, but hey, it's a uke after all!

Jun 22, 2021 - 7:03:11 AM

74703 posts since 5/9/2007

A couple of other choices are to replace the highest sounding string with a string tuned 1 octave lower and tuned like guitar or tune it like a mandolin.
Why not learn a few new chord shapes?
Once you know the basic 3 shapes Bob's your uncle.

Jun 22, 2021 - 7:11:18 AM
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57699 posts since 12/14/2005
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"Kid, it's YOUR banjo. Play it any damn' way you WANT to."
-Ken Haferman, local banjo expert, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, circa 1975-

Jun 22, 2021 - 1:15:07 PM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

24835 posts since 6/25/2005

Banjo ukes are banjos, just as are mandolin-banjos.

Jun 24, 2021 - 4:16:52 PM

2539 posts since 4/5/2006

I've heard them referred to as banjolele's which sounds to me more like someone trying to legitimize them by fluffing up the name. To my ear, a  Banjo Uke by any other name sounds the same, like $ch*tt. But to each his own. Someone makes a little travel banjo. It has a wood top & doesn't look much like a banjo, but it's small enough to play, even in econo class, has five stings, & doesn't cost too much.

Edited by - monstertone on 06/24/2021 16:17:52

Jun 24, 2021 - 7:47:26 PM
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482 posts since 1/24/2004

I learned to play ukulele in standard C re-entrant tuning using the high g string as one would the fifth string of a banjo. I use variations on common Scruggs-style three-finger rolls and use fingerpicks. Keys of C, F, G and A lay out well. It's pretty fun!

Jun 24, 2021 - 10:12:22 PM

Paul R

Canada

14708 posts since 1/28/2010

quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

Banjo ukes are banjos, just as are mandolin-banjos.


I respectfully disagree.

They are banjo-ukes and banjo-mandolins, the second name being the stringing and tuning, the first merely the body style. What we usually call a guitar-banjo (six strings) would properly be called a banjo-guitar. To me, a guitar-banjo has a guitar body and a banjo neck. It's a matter of how one wishes to define a banjo - by body or neck.

Jun 25, 2021 - 1:00:28 AM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

24835 posts since 6/25/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Paul R
quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

Banjo ukes are banjos, just as are mandolin-banjos.


I respectfully disagree.

They are banjo-ukes and banjo-mandolins, the second name being the stringing and tuning, the first merely the body style. What we usually call a guitar-banjo (six strings) would properly be called a banjo-guitar. To me, a guitar-banjo has a guitar body and a banjo neck. It's a matter of how one wishes to define a banjo - by body or neck.


I'm not going to engage in a semantic debate. If it has a banjo body, it's a banjo to me. 

Jun 25, 2021 - 9:05:14 AM

Paul R

Canada

14708 posts since 1/28/2010

quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers
quote:
Originally posted by Paul R
quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

Banjo ukes are banjos, just as are mandolin-banjos.


I respectfully disagree.

They are banjo-ukes and banjo-mandolins, the second name being the stringing and tuning, the first merely the body style. What we usually call a guitar-banjo (six strings) would properly be called a banjo-guitar. To me, a guitar-banjo has a guitar body and a banjo neck. It's a matter of how one wishes to define a banjo - by body or neck.


I'm not going to engage in a semantic debate. If it has a banjo body, it's a banjo to me. 


Fair enough.

Jun 25, 2021 - 9:19:06 AM
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6296 posts since 9/21/2007
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quote:
Originally posted by Paul R
quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

Banjo ukes are banjos, just as are mandolin-banjos.


I respectfully disagree.

They are banjo-ukes and banjo-mandolins, the second name being the stringing and tuning, the first merely the body style. What we usually call a guitar-banjo (six strings) would properly be called a banjo-guitar. To me, a guitar-banjo has a guitar body and a banjo neck. It's a matter of how one wishes to define a banjo - by body or neck.


I'll engage in support for your disagreement, which I agree with.

I'll go one step further and say that the Tenor Banjo (Banjo-Tenor) is also banjo in body only as it is from the mandolin family and not the regular banjo family if instruments.

Plectrum Banjo, on the other hand, is from the banjo family.   

Applying technology from one instrument (in this case, a membrane sounding board) does not change the system of another instrument. 

A banjo neck on a guitar (or lute, or mandola) body does not become those instruments without a hyphen.

Jun 28, 2021 - 12:20:16 PM

11540 posts since 10/27/2006

Back to the OP. Of course, you can tune that free Little Gem to whatever you like with the right strings. Look for Concert uke strings with low 4th tuning.

The Gold Tone Plucky 5-String. however, is a 5 string with the same scale and with the right Nylgut strings can be tuned anywhere you like up to the octave making it a piccolo banjo. Downside, it runs $329 just about anywhere.

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