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Jul 23, 2021 - 12:38 PM
3 posts since 9/15/2015

I have a wooden rim Liberty Buckdancer currently strung with metal strings . I have had it strung with Nyligut in the past for playing early fingerstyle things. I'd like to restsring the instrument with heavier nylon strings and tune the instrument a 4th or even a 5th lower. I have quite an assortment of classical guitar strings. Any suggestions for daimeters, etc.   Is this practical?  

Thanks   BigUn

Jul 23, 2021 - 2:02:17 PM

13877 posts since 6/29/2005
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I buy early instrument (lute) strings from LaBella, which they sell in singles: I got this idea from Joel Hooks on this forum who strings classic banjos with them.

http://shop.labella.com/c/early-instruments_singles

By buying them as singles, you can make your own set, and for heavier gauges, I really like their silver plated copper wound ones, and have developed a 5-string set using rectified nylon and silver plated copper wound as follows: .028-.034-.024(silver/copper wound)-.029(silver/copper wound)-.028

Also, for wound 3 and 4, silk and steel guitar strings are a very nice half-way transition from steel strings.

Edited by - Ken LeVan on 07/23/2021 14:02:49

Jul 24, 2021 - 12:30:43 PM

316 posts since 4/3/2012

I would try using the top 4 strings (DGBE) with an extra e for the 5th string. If you have high tension strings, tuning down should work. Aquila also has a minstrel banjo set designed for this.

Jul 24, 2021 - 1:08:36 PM

11702 posts since 10/27/2006

The issue that many have is the wound 4th which goes dead and wears out quickly.

The D'Addario EXP Classical wound strings are coated which lets them stay bright till the frets wear through the winding (been there done that). They appear to be discontinued and I'm no longer seeing single D strings at Just Strings but someone may still have some in stock (I have sets but no singles).

Looks like I'll have to call D'Addario and inquire about the X that have replaced them and see if there's any old stock EXP Ds I can buy.

Jul 28, 2021 - 12:59:56 PM

114 posts since 11/26/2020

Looks like I'm a little late to the party on this one, but for what it's worth, yes, your goal is totally do-able in my view.

I have a Gold Tone BC-350+ open-backed clawhammer that is strung with Chris Sands Heavy gauge nylon strings (silver wound 4th, otherwise, all nylon). I bought a boatload of them back around 2005 (as sets), and sadly, it's my understanding that they're not made or available anymore, but they are flat-out "awesome". Great warm tone, great action, great lifespan. Had to re-work the slots in the nut, the 5th string pip and the bridge, but I absolutely LOVE them on this banjo!

Can you replicate them in terms of gauge and nylon composition? I suspect so, but with the long scale length on a banjo, the overall length of the strings could be a problem. Worth brand flurocarbon strings are very close in texture, tension, playability and feel to the Chris Sands, and they come in double length (like 72"!!), so maybe something like their baritone ukulele strings would get close?

Anyway, good luck! I hope you can solve it, because I think you'll really like the sound. yes

Edited by - Patriot on 07/28/2021 13:01:34

Jul 28, 2021 - 2:13:59 PM

6433 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Patriot

Looks like I'm a little late to the party on this one, but for what it's worth, yes, your goal is totally do-able in my view.

I have a Gold Tone BC-350+ open-backed clawhammer that is strung with Chris Sands Heavy gauge nylon strings (silver wound 4th, otherwise, all nylon). I bought a boatload of them back around 2005 (as sets), and sadly, it's my understanding that they're not made or available anymore, but they are flat-out "awesome". Great warm tone, great action, great lifespan. Had to re-work the slots in the nut, the 5th string pip and the bridge, but I absolutely LOVE them on this banjo!

Can you replicate them in terms of gauge and nylon composition? I suspect so, but with the long scale length on a banjo, the overall length of the strings could be a problem. Worth brand flurocarbon strings are very close in texture, tension, playability and feel to the Chris Sands, and they come in double length (like 72"!!), so maybe something like their baritone ukulele strings would get close?

Anyway, good luck! I hope you can solve it, because I think you'll really like the sound. yes


Labella sells direct nylon monofilament and silver plated copper wound over floss strings singles.   The nylon go from .016 to .045 .  Wound go from .017 to .080.  They are cut long and are plenty long for even my Fred Van Eps banjos that have a 28.5" scale.  They will be long enough for any banjo within reason.  If you need longer, send them a message, I imagine they could cut them as long as you need.

https://www.labella.com/strings/category/rectified-nylon-singles-singles-early-instruments/

https://www.labella.com/strings/category/silver-plated-copper-wound-on-nylon-singles/

Jul 28, 2021 - 2:38:17 PM

114 posts since 11/26/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks
quote:
Originally posted by Patriot

Looks like I'm a little late to the party on this one, but for what it's worth, yes, your goal is totally do-able in my view.

I have a Gold Tone BC-350+ open-backed clawhammer that is strung with Chris Sands Heavy gauge nylon strings (silver wound 4th, otherwise, all nylon). I bought a boatload of them back around 2005 (as sets), and sadly, it's my understanding that they're not made or available anymore, but they are flat-out "awesome". Great warm tone, great action, great lifespan. Had to re-work the slots in the nut, the 5th string pip and the bridge, but I absolutely LOVE them on this banjo!

Can you replicate them in terms of gauge and nylon composition? I suspect so, but with the long scale length on a banjo, the overall length of the strings could be a problem. Worth brand flurocarbon strings are very close in texture, tension, playability and feel to the Chris Sands, and they come in double length (like 72"!!), so maybe something like their baritone ukulele strings would get close?

Anyway, good luck! I hope you can solve it, because I think you'll really like the sound. yes


Labella sells direct nylon monofilament and silver plated copper wound over floss strings singles.   The nylon go from .016 to .045 .  Wound go from .017 to .080.  They are cut long and are plenty long for even my Fred Van Eps banjos that have a 28.5" scale.  They will be long enough for any banjo within reason.  If you need longer, send them a message, I imagine they could cut them as long as you need.

https://www.labella.com/strings/category/rectified-nylon-singles-singles-early-instruments/

https://www.labella.com/strings/category/silver-plated-copper-wound-on-nylon-singles/

 


Very cool! The only obstacle facing him now (the OP), is determining gauge relative to pitch, specifically for the banjo (not guitar).

I remember trying to develop a suitable chart for this myself a few years back, and I got so frustrated, I eventually gave up! There are tons of charts available for the typical (shorter) scale of the guitar, and I'd bet there's a practical way to extrapolate one from the other somehow, but the longer scale of the banjo definitely complicates it a bit. Fortunately, the worst thing that can happen during such experimentation is, maybe you break a string or two? Hardly fatal. frown

Edited by - Patriot on 07/28/2021 14:40:14

Jul 29, 2021 - 6:55:14 AM

155 posts since 7/14/2017

quote:
Originally posted by Patriot
Very cool! The only obstacle facing him now (the OP), is determining gauge relative to pitch, specifically for the banjo (not guitar).

 


If you know of a set of nylon strings which works with your scale, then that gives you some idea of the likely gauges for (say) 5 frets down, for at least three of the strings.

If that set's 1st string is a D, and you want to drop it 5 frets to A, then you know the gauge of the current second string is OK for B. So probably one size thicker will get you to A.

And so on between 2nd and 3rd, and between 3rd and 4th, just leaving you guessing for the heaviest 4th string. But by then you probably have a good idea of the size differences between strings, and so can make a good guess.

Jul 29, 2021 - 7:15:16 AM

6433 posts since 9/21/2007

Gosh, that is a lot to work through. It must have been impossible to use strings when they were made from twisted gut. It is a wonder that anyone was ever able to play banjo or Spanish guitar.

Or one could take a set of calipers to the strings they like and just buy those sizes.

Jul 29, 2021 - 9:47:17 AM

114 posts since 11/26/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

Gosh, that is a lot to work through. It must have been impossible to use strings when they were made from twisted gut. It is a wonder that anyone was ever able to play banjo or Spanish guitar.

Or one could take a set of calipers to the strings they like and just buy those sizes.


Twisted gut vs. nylon, guitar scale vs. banjo scale, standard tuning vs. detuned, big differences. Calipers aside, the OP doesn't yet have strings to even measure, and I could provide him with the diameters of my own heavy gauge Chris Sands strings, but that won't nail it down definitively either. So no, it's not that simple  He'll have to experiment as described above.

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