“Plectrum Banjo” capo and string question.

“Plectrum Banjo” capo and string question.

I just picked up a nice old John Grey plectrum banjo (22 fret) but it’s a bit of a stretch to play tunes in GDAE. I’ve thought for quite a while I’d like to have a go at tenor banjo, then I found this for $50. Can’t complain about the price!
If I put a capo up around the 19th or 17th fret , what gauge strings will allow me to tune to GDAE with acceptable tension and without distortion. I play mandolin so I’d prefer to keep that tuning. Can anyone help?

Re: “Plectrum Banjo” capo and string question.

Same gauge strings should be fine at 2nd (20th) fret for sure. Have you tried this yet? I’m not convinced at 2nd or 3rd fret it will be a problem at all.

Re: “Plectrum Banjo” capo and string question.

Oh, and "string gauge calculator" in Google will give you a ton of options.

Re: “Plectrum Banjo” capo and string question.

I have my plectrum banjo tuned the same as the top four strings of my guitar (standard tuning DGBE), which works nice with the normal string gauges for that instrument, and I can bring all my guitar fingerings to the banjo. I read somewhere on the internet that the guitar style tuning was very popular on these instruments back in the 20’s when they were in vogue. Of course, guitar tuning is not ideal for tunes, but I am an old dog, so anything I can do to keep things easy is generally the way it gets done!

Re: “Plectrum Banjo” capo and string question.

It only has 3 old strings at the moment. I’ll order a new set of normal plectrum banjo strings and try tuning up. Ideally I’d like to bring it up 4 or 5 frets to be less of a stretch for the fingers but that might be too much of a stretch for the strings.
The string calculator doesn’t seem to have a banjo category. Reenactor, I had a listen to Sgt Early’s. Nice!

Re: “Plectrum Banjo” capo and string question.

Al, guitar tuning might be a solution too as do pick out tunes on the the guitar from time to time. So as an old dog too it won’t be too much of a new trick.

Re: “Plectrum Banjo” capo and string question.

The guitar tuning is still a problem though, reaching to a and b. I’d still like to capo up, to make it as much like a tenor as possible.