Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Tuning the Minstrel Banjo.

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Comment by Marc Bachman on March 19, 2015 at 2:58pm

I bought the minstrel string set from Elderly. I am, however, a little leery of tuning the 5th string up to D. There is no suggestion of string gauges with these sets, so I can't even ask what  gauge string is normally used for the 5th string tuned to D. Hmmm.... any suggestions?

Comment by Christopher Stetson on March 19, 2015 at 3:30pm

With nylgut, take your time.  It takes a good while to stretch out.  With the thinner strings, tune them until the pitch doesn't rise anymore, wait an hour or so, and do it again, until you get up to about a tone (two notes) low, then gradually bring it up to pitch.  The lower strings will come into tune faster, but I really take my time with the thinner strings.  I know it's frustrating, especially if you're uste to steel strings, but in about a week they'll be up to pitch, and stabilized with a month or so.  worth the wait, if you ask me.

Comment by Christopher Stetson on March 19, 2015 at 3:31pm

I meant "used to", obviously! :-)

Comment by Marc Bachman on March 19, 2015 at 3:52pm

*Sigh* OK. I'm just thinking, all this to play a banjo. Do I need my head examined? ( That's a rhetorical question ). I have broken my share of steel strings, mostly on guitar. I was hoping nylgut was different.

Comment by Christopher Stetson on March 19, 2015 at 3:54pm

It is.  Breaks much easier.  At least at first :-)

Comment by Christopher Stetson on March 19, 2015 at 3:55pm

Your patience will be rewarded, though!

Comment by Christopher Stetson on March 19, 2015 at 3:56pm

And they should last a good long while once you've got them up to speed.

Comment by Leonidas (Lee) Jones on March 19, 2015 at 4:37pm
Marc, note that's the D below the G a modern banjo is tuned to. i'vre had my fifth string up as high as F without it breaking. It's a lot harder to play it though.
Comment by Marc Bachman on March 19, 2015 at 9:37pm

My problem, or most of it, was too much string wound around the post. I couldn't understand that this excess string kept stretching. Oh, well, I'm over that hurdle now. On to greater things.

    

Comment by Tom Taggart on March 20, 2015 at 12:07am

Not knowing any better, when I put on my first set of strings, I sort of pre-measured them after attaching to the tail piece.  I left 3 or 4 inches to wind on the peg and cut off the rest.  Don't know if that is the correct way to do it, but it worked for me.

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