ukulele tuning on a short scale tenor banjo

ukulele tuning on a short scale tenor banjo

I’ve acquired a Vega short scale tenor (17 frets) banjo hybrid (far from original issue!) and want to experiment with gCEA ukulele tuning. Knowing less than nothing about string gauges, types, etc., I’m hoping for advice from those with real time experience in doing this. I’m open to both metal and synthetics. I’m willing to try more than one or two string sizes and types; but with my lack of technical knowledge of weights, etc., I’d have to purchase every string size and type known to man! I certainly don’t want to do damage to this instrument……help?
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Re: ukulele tuning on a short scale tenor banjo

Are you planning to play it like a ukulele? The guages you might consider looking for would be something close to a guitar e, guitar D, guitar A, and guitar e again. I don’t really see any utility for this for ITM though.

Re: ukulele tuning on a short scale tenor banjo

Yes, Frank, I want to be able to play it like a ukulele. Thank you for your advice!

Re: ukulele tuning on a short scale tenor banjo

I’m not much of a ukulele player, but I do have a banjo ukulele that has a nice sound similar to banjo, but quieter. There are sources out there for playing traditional tunes on uke in standard ukulele tuning (gCEA). I’ve also found a nice sound can be made using a modal tuning, somewhat resembling DADGAD guitar tuning. The easiest for a ukulele is gCFG, which is more or less "C modal". You can pick out simple tunes easily enough, and have droning backing. Good luck.

Re: ukulele tuning on a short scale tenor banjo

Go to http://stringtensionpro.com and in the form, you can say that you have a custom instrument. Then you can put in your dimensions (scale length), desired notes, and string types, and calculate the best gauges based on the tension you want. I like to run my tenor banjos with about 17#-18# of tension on each string. The closer your string tensions match each other, the better the balance of tone and volume across the instrument.

Re: ukulele tuning on a short scale tenor banjo

I just ran numbers for you in stringtensionpro.com, using 21.5" as the scale length. And came up with this:

A3 0.018" 16.65 lbs
E3 0.026" 16.47 lbs
C3 0.034" 17.32 lbs
G3 0.022" 16.82 lbs

That’s with the A being a plain steel, and the other 3 strings being nickel wound guitar strings.

Re: ukulele tuning on a short scale tenor banjo

Thanks, Patrick…..that’s great information and I really appreciate your input. I’m intrigued with the idea of gCFG tuning and will probably give that a try on one of my ukes very soon. Thank you, again!

Re: ukulele tuning on a short scale tenor banjo

Reverend, that string tension website sounds like just what I need! The vsl on my banjo is 20 inches so I’ll try plugging that in to see what the program comes up with. Thank you..

Re: ukulele tuning on a short scale tenor banjo

It may be worth trying a set of Baritone Uke strings. It won’t give you re-entrant tuning but may be a good starting point. Baritone scale length is around 19 inches.

Re: ukulele tuning on a short scale tenor banjo

Thank you, Bob…..that would give me three usable strings to start with, right? Good idea!

Re: ukulele tuning on a short scale tenor banjo

Truly I’m not being a jerk here, I’m trying to learn something that I likely don’t know, as if that’s ever happened before! Why? What’s the advantage/allure of uke tuning on a tenor banjo? Thanks for taking this seriously.

Re: ukulele tuning on a short scale tenor banjo

I guess there aren’t many tenor banjo-ukes about. Uke names/sizes are, from smallest to largest;
Soprano;
Concert;
Tenor;
Baritone.
Tenor guitars look quite a lot like baritone ukes, but the internal construction would be quite different.
Ukulele-banjos, banjoleles, tend to be concert-size only.

Re: ukulele tuning on a short scale tenor banjo

Oh my god, Sacrilege, the poor Banjo, why not drop it down a well with a Piano Accordion, If you must do such a terrible thing.

Re: ukulele tuning on a short scale tenor banjo

string inches tone string type
1 0,025 G3 wounded, phosofor brons
2 0,016 C4 plain steel
3 0,012 E4 plain steel
4 0,009 A4 plain steel

the mensure of this tenorbanjo is 57,5 cm (fret 0 to the bridge

this works perfect and with a nice tension on my "modified" tenor banjo (washburn) .
I play now everything as my banjolele but with a full banjo sound