Mandolin Banjo Tuning
The Mandolin Banjo and Tenor Banjo
| The mandolin banjo, is a
hybrid between the mandolin and the banjo, originally designed to allow
mandolinists to be able to play a banjo style instrument, at a time when
the mandolin was in decline, and the banjo becoming much more popular
during the 1930's.
Essentially it is tuned the same as a mandolin.
The Irish tenor banjo, which tuning became popular in the 1960s, is also tuned the same as a mandolin, but an octave lower.
Mandolin banjos come in a great variety of styles.
The anatomy is that of a 5 string banjo, but essentially the same for a tenor, other than the 5th string and tuner.
|mandolin banjo||banjo anatomy (5 string)||tenor banjo|
|The banjo is a complex instrument, and a totally different technology from a mandolin, and I do not intend to go into any detail here. I include the mandolin and tenor banjos, as instruments I am occasionally asked to set-up along with mandolins, as they are floating bridge instruments, and often tuned the same.|
|banjo parts||banjo pot||banjo friction tuners||banjo pot bracket and nut|
Tuning: Accepted tuning for mandolin banjos is the same as violins, GDAE from low to high, with unison strings, that is, with pairs of strings in the same octave.
Middle C is 5th fret on the 4th string
Tenor Banjo Tuning
| The tenor banjo generally comes
in two types, long scale and short scale. Long scale is
around 580mm and usually has 19 frets, whilst the short is around 550mm
and usually has 17 frets. Similarly, there are typically 3 different
styles of tuning. Obviously one must be careful when buying strings, as
to which tuning you intend to use.