Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

What are some of the 'secrets' to properly & quickly change strings - nylgut or gut?   My banjos have violin tuners.  I eventually get the job done but it seems to take far too much time.   Would anyone care to make a video?   Thanks in advance for any advice.

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How long is too long?  With our low-tension gut (or plastic) strung banjos, I should think that getting them securely tied to the tailpiece, and a clean, uniform wrap coming out on the base of tuner is the important thing.  We don't change strings as often as the modern wire strung crowd, so what's the hurry?


I like to replace all my strings when I change out.  Having two or three old ones (usually the forth, second third and second) with a fresh gut first and fifth seems to "unbalance" the instrument.  That's why I spool as much as I can onto the tuner, especially on the first and second, and wind it down when it becomes frayed near the bridge.


When replacing a set of gut strings, I take them all off, and remove the tailpiece, so I can insert the string from the bottom.  Tie each one on, then put the tailpiece back on, and start cranking.  Takes about 15 minutes, I guess.  Then an hour or so of stretching.  


With Nyl-plastic, it takes a little longer to stretch, but when do you need to replace them?  They will still be usable when we're all planted 'neath the sod ;^} 

Carl, thanks for the taking off the tailpiece idea.  I suppose I was thinking it should only take about as long as changing steel strings on a modern banjo.

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