A banjo is a stringed musical instrument, which is associated with bluegrass music, folk music, country music, and Irish music. Like the guitar and the mandolin, a banjo also belongs to the category of stringed musical instruments. Generally, the instrument is available with four or five strings, though the ones with six strings are also available in the represent times. While, different patterns are used to tune the banjo, the tuning process of this musical instrument is pretty similar to that of a guitar. This article brings you tips on how to tune a banjo. Read on to tune it the right way.
Tuning Patterns In A Banjo
The counting pattern of the strings of a banjo is similar to that of an electric or an acoustic pattern. This implies that the counting will begin from the bottom, with the thinnest string counted as the first and the thickest as the last. As in the case of alternate guitar training, a banjo has a variety of tunings as well. Any type of tuning can be chosen, according to the preference of the musician. In case you are a beginner, it is better to practice the common tunings first. You can move on to the specific tunings later on, when you get a hang of the instrument.
Tuning a banjo is all about matching the open sounds of the strings to the universal standard notes, depending on the pattern you choose. The standard tuning pattern for a four-string banjo would be C-G-D-A, with 'C' for the lowest last string and 'A' for the highest first string. If your banjo has five strings, ‘G’ pattern will be the typical format, such as G-D-G-B-D, with ‘G’ being the last string and ‘D’ being the first. There are other patterns as well that you can try on a banjo, once you know how to play the instrument well.
Tuning Your Banjo
- Since the procedure of tuning a banjo is similar to that of tuning a guitar, using a guitar tuner for the purpose is a good idea. Purchase a good guitar tuner and place it near the banjo, after switching it on.
- Play any of the strings and watch out for the LED of the electronic tuner. You have to check if it shows the accuracy of the sound produced by the string. Tune the string till the green light goes on or the screen of the tuner gives an accurate indication. In a similar manner, you can tune all the strings of the banjo according to the tuning pattern you prefer.
- Another option is to use a clip-on tuner, which is almost similar to an electronic tuner, the only difference being an additional clip-on. This clip on is to be fixed on the banjo head. Switch on the tuner and play any string. Tune the string till the screen or light indicates that the note is being tuned accurately.
- You can also use a piano to tune the banjo. You can adjust the strings on the banjo by playing the respective notes on the piano and adjust the strings accordingly.
- A banjo can also be tuned with the help of a guitar. In order to get an open ‘G’ pattern on the banjo, you will have to match the sound of the guitar’s 2nd, 3rd and 4th string to that of the banjo's 2nd, 3rd and 4th string. If you are familiar with the process of tuning the guitar, you will not face much problem in tuning the banjo.