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Nov 30, 2022 - 3:05:17 AM
3 posts since 11/30/2022

I would like to use a tenor size banjo to accompany singers in a Concert Party that visits care homes. It would be easiest if it could be played like a ukulele. Has anyone else attempted this? I would appreciate any advice on strings etc.

Nov 30, 2022 - 4:47:16 AM

malarz

USA

473 posts since 1/5/2007

The baritone ukulele is tuned DGBE. That tuning is known as “Chicago” tuning and seems to be common among tenor banjo players. I think you won’t have any problems buying strings or finding chord charts online.

I went the opposite route and retuned a baritone ukulele to CGDA since that is the tuning I know. I don’t like the width of the baritone neck (wider than both my tenor banjo and tenor guitar) so I plan to restring the baritone with original strings and put it up for sale. Too bad for me but lucky for someone else. It is a Pono baritone which plays easily and has a wonderful tone.

Nov 30, 2022 - 4:50:06 AM

B0bIII

USA

97 posts since 4/2/2009

^ beat me to it.

Edited by - B0bIII on 11/30/2022 04:51:25

Nov 30, 2022 - 5:00:15 AM
Players Union Member

jduke

USA

1177 posts since 1/15/2009

My second instrument is ukulele. I've always played a banjo-uke, but now mostly play my vintage National Tenor Guitar, tuned Chicago and caped at the 5th fret. I like it because it gives me a different voice than guitars while using chord positions I familiar with.

Nov 30, 2022 - 5:22:13 AM

3 posts since 11/30/2022

Thanks for the feedback - very useful.
The reason for doing it is to give a sound slightly louder and a bit more distinctive than a ukulele, without it having the full 1930s Formby type tone.

Nov 30, 2022 - 11:01:21 AM
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Fathand

Canada

12090 posts since 2/7/2008

Baritone ukes have scale lengths in the 20 inch range, Tenor banjos in the 21 or 23" range with 17 fret tenors being 21ish.

If you want to use regular baritone uke tuning and strings, you may have better luck using the shorter scale 17 fret tenors. A 23" scale tenor might have issues with strings not reaching tuners or possibly breaking.

For myself, I build my baritone uke banjos with 20 inch scale and 10 or 10.5" head.




Edited by - Fathand on 11/30/2022 11:02:52

Nov 30, 2022 - 11:09:45 AM

malarz

USA

473 posts since 1/5/2007

Do you have a website for your banjo ukes?

Nov 30, 2022 - 2:35:17 PM

3 posts since 11/30/2022

Thanks for the warning Fathand, I will be trying it out on an old 23"scale tenor, so I will pitch it down a tone or so.

Nov 30, 2022 - 5:00:26 PM

646 posts since 5/29/2015

Gold Tone makes a current production of a baritone uke-banjo. I only know this as I was searching for more information about a Musima Banjo baritone uke from the 1960s(?) which I have laying around here.

Dec 1, 2022 - 3:49:48 PM

342 posts since 10/26/2018

I use classical guitar strings on my baritone ukulele. The wound strings last longer than any I've used that were marketed for ukulele.

Dec 2, 2022 - 3:26:14 AM
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179 posts since 7/14/2017

I've seen this done and it works fine, even on a 23 inch scale.

I'd suggest you use classical guitar strings to get the length, as baritone ukes both have a shorter scale and usually a fixed bridge, which means you need extra at both the peghead and to reach the tailpiece.

If so you won't want to tune down, because classical guitar strings are sized for a longer scale length, However, banjos seem to like less tension than guitars, so DGBE should be fine.

Your main issues will be:

(a) Nut slots and bridge slots will need widening at least for the B and E, as the strings will be a lot fatter; and

(b) The fretboard width at the nut will be rather narrow for the fatter strings - it's just a matter of getting used to this.

Have fun!

Dec 8, 2022 - 2:59:41 PM

14 posts since 10/21/2022

I have three tenor banjos, two for Irish and one for chording. I use Chicago tuning for the chord banjo because ukulele is my first instrument. I got string size suggestions for Chicago tuning from Deering’s site. I buy individual strings. It works great, but my wimpy ukulele-trained fingers struggle with barre chords on the steel-stringed banjo.

Dec 13, 2022 - 9:04:18 AM

1263 posts since 1/30/2019

Hi, I have an old Wizard tenor set up as a baritone uke. It's for sale. Link here to see it. youtu.be/bv27EV-5gKw
And here
youtu.be/zSbl-zZWEKA
It has a really nice Maybell style tone ring. But check out my wizard Tenor Banjo posts on here to see the repairs I've done.....
It works fine to my ear!

Dec 26, 2022 - 4:01:27 AM

Fathand

Canada

12090 posts since 2/7/2008

quote:
Originally posted by malarz

Do you have a website for your banjo ukes?


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