Double Octave tuning on a cello banjo

Double Octave tuning on a cello banjo

Paul Roberts of http://www.banjocrazy.com has started to tune his Gold Tone cello banjo to G,D,A,E, so tenor banjo players don’t have to do the math on the fly in sessions. Amazingly he used the same gage strings that came on it and it worked with only a little buzzing.

Here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ij_uP-e-l44) is a video of me playing Dever the Dancer on the cello banjo - part of a lesson from Mel Bay to be published in April.


Mike Keyes
http://www.banjosessions.com

Re: Double Octave tuning on a cello banjo

the Gold Tone CEB-4 is a pretty versatile instrument - I have one set up with steel strings (16/26w/38w/54w) a top nut with slightly narrower string spacing, an 11mm spacing tenor bridge and a "New Kerschner" cast tailpiece and it tunes (and plays) quite happily a whole octave below the normal drop-tuned "Irish" tenor.

owing to the low pitch, it is a little "slow to speak" and doesn’t lend itself wonderfully well to the playing of fast reels (especially those using the bottom string) but, on the whole, it works fairly well for Irish music

it can be quite fun to play jigs & hornpipes with 3 other banjos - a standard "drop-tuned" tenor and a banjolin to supply the tune in octaves and a plectrum banjo to fill in the harmony ….. not what a purist (of either the "Irish" or "Banjo Band" persuasion) would like but fun nonetheless - consenting adults in private, of course …….. 🙂

not sure how well the use of the cello-banjo at "proper" sessions would go down - I haven’t had the gall to try it out yet

Re: Double Octave tuning on a cello banjo

I don’t know how "proper" our session is, but I will be playing it this week and see. I suspect that the free drinks will assuage any objections :grin:

Mike Keyes
http://www.banjosessions.com

Re: Double Octave tuning on a cello banjo

Here’s 4-string cello banjo in three ranges: Irish tenor, an octave lower than Irish tenor, and cello tuning. I’m playing fingerstyle, instead of with plectrum, a style I learned from Gordon Johnston.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxF8gSX4k-A