View Full Version : Tuning a tenor banjo like a uke.......

07-02-2013, 12:25 AM
I have had a tenor banjo (supposedly a 50s vega, I havent confirmed that yet) fall into my lap doing a little craiglist horse trading the other day.
Ive been debating what to do with it, and one of the things I tried was to tune it gcea like a uke, problem is the strings are either too loose at one octave, or way too tight at the next. This seems to be a pretty common and accepted tuning for a tenor banjo so what am I doing wrong? Any hints here? Im giving it a few days to interest me, and if it doesnt happen Im going to try parlaying it into a uke......possibly post it here on the marketplace...

07-02-2013, 12:39 AM
I'm using some aquila new nylgut for tuning a banjo tenor into gcea (low or high g)
But not standard set, I order the right gauges to a string retailer.
for example (short scale tenor banjo Weymann, 1922 - 510mm string length)
G : 100 (low G or 48, high g)
C : 76
E : 60
A : 46

example in low G

07-02-2013, 02:54 AM
I recently bought a National tenor guitar and tuned like a baritone uke and it sounds great. I guess GCEA will be too high for the longer scale. The chord shapes are the same but you have a lower sound.

I'm using the treble steel strings from this set: http://elderly.com/accessories/items/JP980M.htm

07-02-2013, 03:00 AM
I have another tenor banjo, tuned to baritone tuning, (Living water set) but I find it too low and I will put it in high g tuning. Sounds better on a banjo for my taste.
example here :

07-04-2013, 03:20 PM
Talk to Southcoast ukes about strings for it, or Guadalupe strings. In both cases, you would get a true custom string set with each string properly tensioned for the scale length of your instrument rather than a lengthened set of "all purpose" uke strings

07-04-2013, 08:03 PM
If you email Ken Middleton at Living Water Strings, he can make you a custom DGBE fluorocarbon set for tenor banjo (longer).
Available in either High-D or Low-D.

07-05-2013, 02:36 AM
Maybe Dirk from southcoast can help you as well.

Kevin B
09-30-2013, 03:45 PM
I used the 5,3,2,1 strings from an Aquila five string banjo set on a tenor banjo. I tuned it to high G (GCEA) with no issues. It is a 17 fret short scale Wurlitzer tenor from the 20's.

10-08-2013, 06:46 AM
Talk to Aaron Keim. He works with a lot of tenor banjos and guitars.

10-08-2013, 08:31 PM
Are you trying to do steel string or nylon/aquila/fluorocarbon? Do you want dgbe like a baritone uke or gcea like a standard uke? All are possible, it's just a matter of picking the right string gauges and tuning octave.

If you want steel strings tuned dgbe, then the first four strings of a standard five string banjo set is perfect. If you want dgbe with nylon strings, then any baritone set should work, although some may be too short. If you want gcea strung with steel, you will have to get creative. I haven't done the math. If you want gcea with fluorocarbon, than Gordon from Mya-Moe or Ken from Living Water will make you a set.

I have strung many tenor banjos as baritone banjo ukes with a mixed set of wound and fluorocarbon strings: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oM1fj7Pbh-w