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Jun 14, 2024 - 11:45:31 AM

Kellie

USA

229 posts since 1/19/2018

Recently I was left with a decision to make. Which tuning to use. The truth is I didn't know at first and I still don't really know, but I found that the old old A tuning suits it best. eAEG#B I know it's very low but this has two main benefits for one more resonance. In other words the strings vibrate for a longer duration no matter if they're held down or not. And the second benefit is that it's not as tough on the nails with steel strings at this tension. C major or gCGBD tuning has one benefit, the volume. Higher tension equals louder dynamics, but lower tension allows me to create more drama in my playing. I find that I utilize the buzzing for an interesting effect. If one learns to control the buzzing then they can get even more dynamics out of the banjo. I'm no expert, but it's just my thoughts on the matter.

Jun 14, 2024 - 12:49:40 PM

8359 posts since 9/21/2007

As always, you can do what you like.

Historically, the pitch went from A to Bb in the 1870s, to C by about 1884 and some professionals (like Farland) went up to D in the 1890s.

The advantage of C is that you are "on the same" as other instruments. A "C chord" is a C chord.

I read equally in both A and C notation and I find this very useful, particularly for reading "fiddle tunes" which are often in A, D, and E.

But you have made it clear you are not interested in the repertoire of the classic era, which is fine.

Personally, most of my banjos are pitched to C. My "tubs" (early rimmed banjos) are in A and I keep some 1870s banjos in Bb. And that suits me just fine.

I pretty much stopped using the "Briggs" pitch.

Jun 14, 2024 - 1:23:20 PM

Kellie

USA

229 posts since 1/19/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

As always, you can do what you like.

Historically, the pitch went from A to Bb in the 1870s, to C by about 1884 and some professionals (like Farland) went up to D in the 1890s.

The advantage of C is that you are "on the same" as other instruments. A "C chord" is a C chord.

I read equally in both A and C notation and I find this very useful, particularly for reading "fiddle tunes" which are often in A, D, and E.

But you have made it clear you are not interested in the repertoire of the classic era, which is fine.

Personally, most of my banjos are pitched to C. My "tubs" (early rimmed banjos) are in A and I keep some 1870s banjos in Bb. And that suits me just fine.

I pretty much stopped using the "Briggs" pitch.


I don't know yet. I have been studying Farland's compositions. From his national book of banjo. It's just that tuning is the standard tuning of that book, so learning any tune in it requires that tuning. I tried to read it as a transposition instrument, but it just confused me more. I just need to standardize a tuning system for myself in order to be able to sight read music efficiently.
The reason I use Farland is because he wrote multiple pieces in every key. Flats and sharps. Major and minor. He's probably the best book out there for sight reading. I know Emile Grimshaw is pretty good, but he only covers the basic keys. The easy keys of the banjo.
Is that what it's called? Briggs pitch?

Edited by - Kellie on 06/14/2024 13:24:55

Jun 14, 2024 - 1:36:41 PM
likes this

8359 posts since 9/21/2007

Jun 14, 2024 - 1:38:30 PM

8359 posts since 9/21/2007

Read that article. Since I wrote it, I have found one earlier C notation tutor printed in the US, and there was a guitar teacher in England that used C notation for banjo very early (pre American Civil War), but both of those seem to have had little if any impact.

Jun 14, 2024 - 3:50:33 PM

Kellie

USA

229 posts since 1/19/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

Read that article. Since I wrote it, I have found one earlier C notation tutor printed in the US, and there was a guitar teacher in England that used C notation for banjo very early (pre American Civil War), but both of those seem to have had little if any impact.


I will get back to you when I have time to read it

Jun 14, 2024 - 5:44:35 PM

11387 posts since 4/23/2004

 
Is that what it's called? Briggs pitch?


The Briggs Banjo Instructor, arguably the first banjo tutor, used dGDF#A tuning. All (I can't recall another) subsequent American tutors taught eAEG#B tuning...which is read directly using the "A notation", common to American tutors and sheet music thru the turn of the century.

If we had more Briggs style tutors and sheet music, we might call it "G notation".

Jun 15, 2024 - 1:41:31 PM

Kellie

USA

229 posts since 1/19/2018

quote:
Originally posted by trapdoor2
 
Is that what it's called? Briggs pitch?


The Briggs Banjo Instructor, arguably the first banjo tutor, used dGDF#A tuning. All (I can't recall another) subsequent American tutors taught eAEG#B tuning...which is read directly using the "A notation", common to American tutors and sheet music thru the turn of the century.

If we had more Briggs style tutors and sheet music, we might call it "G notation".


So Briggs is the oldest surviving banjo tutor?

Jun 15, 2024 - 2:07:01 PM

11387 posts since 4/23/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Kellie
quote:
Originally posted by trapdoor2
 
Is that what it's called? Briggs pitch?


The Briggs Banjo Instructor, arguably the first banjo tutor, used dGDF#A tuning. All (I can't recall another) subsequent American tutors taught eAEG#B tuning...which is read directly using the "A notation", common to American tutors and sheet music thru the turn of the century.

If we had more Briggs style tutors and sheet music, we might call it "G notation".


So Briggs is the oldest surviving banjo tutor?


AFAIK. It is generally accepted as the first.

Elias Howe published a "Banjo Preceptor" a few years earler but it is just a collection of tunes. Howe had a bunch of tunes and adopted/adapted them for many instruments...not necessarily insuring playability. Also, his tuning scheme was a step lower...cFCEG (IIRC).

Jun 15, 2024 - 4:17:39 PM

Kellie

USA

229 posts since 1/19/2018

quote:
Originally posted by trapdoor2
quote:
Originally posted by Kellie
quote:
Originally posted by trapdoor2
 
Is that what it's called? Briggs pitch?


The Briggs Banjo Instructor, arguably the first banjo tutor, used dGDF#A tuning. All (I can't recall another) subsequent American tutors taught eAEG#B tuning...which is read directly using the "A notation", common to American tutors and sheet music thru the turn of the century.

If we had more Briggs style tutors and sheet music, we might call it "G notation".


So Briggs is the oldest surviving banjo tutor?


AFAIK. It is generally accepted as the first.

Elias Howe published a "Banjo Preceptor" a few years earler but it is just a collection of tunes. Howe had a bunch of tunes and adopted/adapted them for many instruments...not necessarily insuring playability. Also, his tuning scheme was a step lower...cFCEG (IIRC).


I can't imagine it getting any lower than A lol

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