My new A-scale banjo came with strings (of course). But I want to keep it tuned to open G because more of my bands songs are in that key. I know guitar strings go by the diameter of the high E. .013 is a heavy gauge all the way to .009 which is light. DO banjo sets go by the same convention? I've been told to put heavier gauge strings on mine to get rid of some inequalities in tuning string to string and intonation, but what's considered heavy gauge in banjo strings?
GHS PF-160's are about as heavy as I'd ever go. 11-13-16-26-10
I have used D'Addario J61 Medium Gauge strings on my Reiter Ab scale tuned to G with no problems. The string gauges are 0.10-0.12-0.16-0.23w-0.10.
Either suggestion above sounds like a good option. Banjo strings come in different gauges but there is no standard when it comes to determining gauge between one manufacturer and another. You can only go by the gauge listed on the package. To find out which will work best on your banjo I would suggest starting with David Brooks' suggestion and see how they work. If you need to go up in gauge you will soon be able to tell. If you need bigger strings then try Robert's idea.
Sometimes one brand or set of strings will not work on a particular banjo. Then it may be necessary to buy individual strings and make your own sets.
"Sometimes one brand or set of strings will not work on a particular banjo. Then it may be necessary to buy individual strings and make your own sets."
Yeah I do that for fiddle strings, a custom set. THanks gents.
Just buy light gauge strings youngblood picker - be gentle with the instrument you're not Pete Townshend - mitch
"A scale" equals shorter string length, which equals lower string tension than a "G scale" when both are tuned to standard pitch, which equals potential problems with tone and intonation. It's a matter of physics.
.009" is generally considered to be light gauge for standard scale length when tuned to standard pitch.
.010" is considered to be medium gauge, and .011" is heavy.
I would try a set of 10's, and be prepared to go up further if necessary.
I have an A-scale strung with GHS PF160, and it does OK at G or A. Still sounds best in A, I think.
Replacing the plain 3rd string with a wound one (.018-.020) would probably improve the sound at the lower pitch.
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