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View Full Version : Tenor Banjo conversion Banjolele?



banjoprat
02-04-2012, 09:26 PM
A couple of months ago I build a Tenor banjo for myself but I just realise that I don't play it as much I should , I Thought I could convert it to a Banjolele, The string length is a bit longer than a Bariton , make it a bariton would works Ok but I rather an Instruments with Uke standard tuning, I just seen at the aquila web that there are C tuning strings set for bariton, do you thing it will work, would it makes a nice instrument?

aaronckeim
02-05-2012, 07:41 AM
I have done this multiple times. The best stringing and tuning is dgbe where the d string is re-entrant. The C tuning baritone set just doesn't sound good. With the long scale length and bigger pot, DGBE is better and the high d string makes it sound more uke and less tenor banjo.

banjoprat
02-05-2012, 08:57 AM
Thanks for the info....What kind of string do you use for de dGBE tuning?

aaronckeim
02-05-2012, 09:01 AM
I use fluorocarbon strings from worth.
high d .024
G .032
B .029
E .024

banjoprat
02-05-2012, 09:05 AM
Thanks, tomorrow I will make a new nut and bridge for the ukulele strings...
aaronckeim just say that I really like your playing I have seen some of your youtubes videos and are great!

YooperUker
02-07-2012, 04:36 PM
When I read the subject, I thought you were considering putting a tenor uke neck onto a soprano banjo-uke pot. Glad you're not.

banjoprat
02-10-2012, 01:18 AM
Finally I have made the conversion...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4Xgve5v2X0

igorthebarbarian
05-31-2013, 09:33 PM
Digging up an old post, but I just tried this out with Living Water re-entrant dGBE strings (high d) on an old Tenor Banjo that I got from Jake at Antebellum Instruments.

It is MUCH easier on the fingers than the prior strings - ah, my dainty fingertips!

One tough part was getting a good solid knot for the end tailpiece so the strings didn't pull through. The strings were long enough for the 17 frets, headstock and tailpiece.

It does sound a little "muddled" though to my ears. The strings might just need time to settle in though. It's definitely easy to do though and not something to be scared of trying out.

carlsharp
06-02-2013, 06:52 AM
My knowledge of fret theory is limited; but when I hold a bari uke and a tenor banjo side-by-side I notice the fret spacing lines up exactly starting at the second fret of the banjo. So, technically, should the nut be at the second fret to be a banjolele, or is the difference in spacing not matter enough?

Thanks
CS

Barbablanca
06-02-2013, 07:06 AM
Here is evidence of one I did a few months ago (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoBhOGGpMFM). It has customised Living Water strings on. Low D (unwound).

Liam Ryan
06-02-2013, 10:03 AM
If you put uke strings on it it's a banjolele......

carlsharp
06-05-2013, 06:22 PM
Maybe I asked the question wrong. The banjo has 19 frets, the bari 18. The fret spacing lines up exactly starting at the second fret. So, when its converted to a banjolele, does one finger their chords normally, relative to the nut?

Barbablanca, i notice the capo at the second fret, is that necessary to play it as a uke?

Thanks
CS

igorthebarbarian
06-10-2013, 08:48 PM
Carlsharp - no changes if they're tuned the same way. Say for example, you have DGBE tuning (standard Baritone) on both instruments, which I'm guessing would make the most sense and be easiest to get strings for.
You would play them both the same. So 0003 is a 'G' on both your 19-fret banjo and your 18-fret bari. Just count from the nut 3 frets down on the E (skinniest) string. Which is the same as the 'C' shape on standard GCEA tuning.
The tension might be a little different 19 vs 18, but probably would not be that much difference.



Maybe I asked the question wrong. The banjo has 19 frets, the bari 18. The fret spacing lines up exactly starting at the second fret. So, when its converted to a banjolele, does one finger their chords normally, relative to the nut?

Barbablanca, i notice the capo at the second fret, is that necessary to play it as a uke?

Thanks
CS

Barbablanca
06-10-2013, 09:03 PM
Barbablanca, I notice the capo at the second fret, is that necessary to play it as a uke?


As this was an experiment, when I was bringing the strings up to tension I had to decide when I felt they had got to about as tense as I wanted them to get before risking snapping. With the very long neck / scale length I have on my instrument (23" Bridge to nut) this turned out to be at CFAD (a full tone below standard Baritone tuning. So, to bring it up to tone and make it even a snappier sounding I added the capo.

In fact, I'm used to this system. When I bought my Fender 12 String Guitar, 30 years ago, the guy in the shop said: "Are you going to largely use this for open chord work?" When I replied in the affirmative he added: "Then let me give you a little tip; tune the instrument a full tone lower and capo up to concert. This significantly reduces strain on the neck and you'll have the instrument for many years!" - He was right! The previous 12 string I had owned snapped at the bridge one warm summer's day in Scotland! Pity, it was a no-brand-name, small bodied one with its own unique sound. I have never seen its like anywhere since.

Rick Turner
06-10-2013, 09:31 PM
Do I detect massive confusion here?

Number of frets = irrelevant.

Scale length = relevant.

String type and gauges = relevant.

Tuning = relevant.

Ownership of a capo = relevant.

Ability to transpose = relevant.

Where the bridge is = how's the traffic today? = relevant.

On your bike or in a car = how should I know?

What's the frequency, Kenneth?

igorthebarbarian
06-15-2013, 10:18 PM
Ken Middleton at Living Water Strings sent me a new set of Tenor Banjo strings for dGBE (high D / re-entrant). These sound really good and are easy on the fingertips! They have the proper tension too.

So, bottom-line, if you are looking for fluorocarbon uke-like strings for your Tenor Banjo, Ken has good strings!