Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I seek advice for locating a suitable vendor of real gut strings.  Many thanks in advance.

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Bob Thornburg used to sell gut strings, but I don't know if he still does that.


I got some from Bob T a while back they were a lil on the thin side and third and fourth strings are fluorocarbon. I like em got em on my tackhead. Good price and I got a spare fifth and first for back up.

I ordered some a few weeks back from Dr Horsehair but they had to reorder and find a new vendor so it has taken a lil bit but they will be much thicker but a bit on the pricey side.
Also maybe the place john mentions here. I linked it so you can see the gauges he recommends as well: http://minstrelbanjo.ning.com/forum/topics/gut-string-advice?id=247...

Thanks for the input. I guess the question now is will the difference in tone be worth the investment? I didn't realize they were so expensive.  I also wonder about durability - how long do they last and how easily can they be broken?   I also found this source online http://www.drhorsehair.com/accy.html

I put gut strings on my Fairbanks & Cole A-Scale many years ago.


I really liked them, but after about two months they wore through and broke. At $25 bucks a shot (in 2002 dollars) they seemed a bit expensive, so I decided to go with the new Nylgut strings. The Nylgut strings are still on the banjo and doing fine. I use Nylgut on all my minstrel and gourd banjos.

My set from Bob T is doing well. I've had them in since last june. I snapped the first string and just spooled it down. Otherwise they are good. And if I recall correctly the set with spare strings ran me somewhere around 30 beans. I found the price to be a good entry point.

The only reason I bought the expensive ones from Dr horsehair is because I am plotting on purchasing a nicer banjo in near future and would like to swag it out. They were 80 when i ordered and it seems their new supplier is pricier than the previous. So the price just jumped up. All my other banjos deff have nylgut strings.

But it seems gut prices have gone up and become harder to find. I asked various banjo makers and it seems most of em got their strings from Bob T.

The length of string life I guess depends mostly on how aggressive you play. I read some people saying they used the same set for 20 sumthin years other wear thru em in a matter of days.

Years ago i used good quality (Thornburg) gut strings on ALL my banjos.  I did notice that in extreme moist camping conditions, the strings themselves did absorb moisture from the air and they became a bit thicker and softer- not a good thing if you combine that problem with soggy skin head.  Nowadays I really appreciate Nylgut.  I do keep real gut strings on my rebec however...but I wouldn't take that camping!

A mist string wears way faster...

Sounds pretty nebulous.   ;D

I get mine from gamut strings. I get them varnished.  A set of strings can last a long time.


Gut strings last way longer on fretless banjos, needless to say.  :)

That was a scary movie!   lol

Seriously, Mathis is my hero.  Misty literally brings tears to my eyes.  My first musical goal was to sing like him but, alas, it was not achieved.  Hence, banjo.

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