View Full Version : Banjo Ukulele Tuning Help.

11-23-2009, 01:00 PM
<All is well now!>

I just bought an old banjo uke right here on UU's marketplace. Physically, it looks great. It has new Aquilla Banjo strings on it. It sounds terrible. If I tune it to GCEA and put my tuner on it, it gets sharp instantlly as I go up the fretboard. Now, it could be a turkey and that explains why it looks so good after 80 years; no one played it because it sounded terrible. Or, it needs to be tuned differently. I haven't done the research yet and thought I'd start here. Would different tuning improve this uke? I know the uke wasn't always tuned GCEA and I bet the original design of this uke didn't take this into consideration. Any insight?

I just want all you UU'ers know that leftovermagic84 stood up and offered to buy this uke back from me if I wasn't happy with it. Magic is a stand-up UUer. This is what UU and ukes are all about; classy good folks. I'm proud to be a part of this family.

11-23-2009, 01:08 PM
Don't panic - it's only the position of the bridge. It should be placed the same distance from the twelfth fret, as the twelfth fret is from the nut - or up to, say, 1/8" more.

Slide it up there, and all will be well.

John Colter.

11-23-2009, 01:21 PM
I have an inexpensive banjolin (mandolin banjo) Try tightening the the "drum head" If the head is tight there will be less play for the bridge. hope this helps.

11-23-2009, 01:22 PM
I'll give that a try tomorrow. I left it in my office. I'll report back with my results. That makes sense. Thanks!

11-23-2009, 01:25 PM
best of luck. sorry the bridge got bumped somewhere along the way during shipping.

11-23-2009, 01:32 PM
an open string and 12 fret should be the same note. if its sharp on 12, move the bridge towards the tailpiece (making the string longer) if its flat move the bridge towards the nut (making the string length shorter)

11-24-2009, 03:53 AM
I moved the bridge about 1/8" down the head and that made all the difference in the world! It's still a little sharp on the first couple of frets but once you hit the first dot, presto! It's right in tune. At the 12th the G and C are perfect. I can't get my tuner to pick up the E or A as there isn't enough sustain to grab it but it sounds good to my ear.

Thanks fellow UUers!

11-24-2009, 04:03 AM
the beauty of a banjo bridge is the ability to move it (and angle it slightly if required) to get the right intontation.

Just keep adjusting it, pref with a digital tuner, until the open string reads the same as the same string fretted at the 12th fret.

TIP - once you are happy with postition, use a fine tipped pencil and mark the location of the bridge on the actual skin itself - if it ever gets moved again, you can move it back to position easily.

I really want a banjolele.