It is very easy to tune a banjo. It depends on the type of banjo you have because you have to tune each type of banjo using a different method. A 5-string banjo is the most common type of banjo.

Other types include the 19-Fret Or 17-Fret tenor banjo, plectrum banjo, 5-String longneck banjo, 6-String banjo, 12-String banjo, and banjo ukulele.

Tuning of banjo-like every stringed instrument is adjusting by tightening or loosening of its strings. Each string, however, has its own pitch and frequency which is  G, D, G, B, D from top to bottom.

In practice, there are three methods to tune a Banjo which are:

  • Tuning by Ear

This method requires a perfect pitch for the individual. However, only very few people have the ability to do so because it requires a great amount of experience.

  • Tuning a Banjo to Itself or Other Instruments

In this method, you play the Banjo against another tuned Banjo or any other tuned instrument. The frequency is then matched to the respective frequency of the tuned instrument.

  • Tuning by an electronic tuner

This is by far the most accurate and easy way of tuning a Banjo or any other stringed instrument. You play the banjo to the electric tuner which then tells you to flatten or sharpen the required string. The Banjo is in this way tuned perfectly to the standard open G chord.

Following are the types of tunings for a 5-String banjo:

1. “Open G” Tuning

A 5 string banjo has a standard tuning in open G – the notes from the 5th string to the 1st are G, D, G, B, D. When you strum it, without putting finger on any of the strings on the neck, you will be playing a G chord on the banjo.

2. “Double C” Tuning

This is most often used in old times music. The notes from the 5th string to 1st are G, C, G, C, D.

3. “C” Tuning/”Drop C” Tuning

Coming from the open G tuning, you drop the D string on the 4th string down to a C. the notes for this are G, C, G, B, D

4. “D” Tuning

Notes for this are F#, D, F#, A, D. You have an option to tune the 5th string to an “A” instead of an “F#” and still be in “D” tuning.

5. “G Modal” Tuning

The notes for this are G, D, G, C, D. This tuning is very similar to standard G tuning except the second string is tuned up to a C note.

This removes the third of the G chord and produces a G sus 4 chord.  By removing a third of the chord, you cannot tell if it is a major or minor chord and that produces a modal sound.

  • Tuning the 17-fret or 19-fret tenor banjo:

There can be any of the three tunings for a tenor banjo.

  1. Standard Tenor Tuning

This tuning is the intervals of fifths and is exactly the same as the viola or mandola. Its notes are C, G, D, A.

  1. Irish Tenor Tuning

This tuning is like a violin or mandolin, only one octave lower. it is in fifths but comparatively lower pitch than the first tuning type. Its notes are G, D, A, E.

  1. Chicago Tuning

This tuning is like the top four strings of a guitar. This is very convenient for guitarists to play a 4-string banjo. This tuning has notes D, G, B, E.

Tuning of a plectrum banjo

  • The most standard plectrum banjo tuning is C, G, B, D.  This is very similar to the standard 5-string tuning (without the 5-string), but you drop the 4th string down to C.
  •  D, G, B, E is also known as Chicago tuning. This type of tuning is very similar to the top four strings of a guitar.
  • Tuning of a 5-String longneck banjo 

Its opening E tuning has E, B, E, G#, B notes. It is just like open G tuning, but 3 steps lower in pitch.

  • Tuning of a 6-String Banjo 

It’s tuning of E, A, D, G, B, E is just the tuning of a guitar. Hence it is easily played by guitarists.

  • Tuning of a 12-string banjo

E, E, A, A, D, D, G, G, B, B, E, E,

This tuning is the exact same as tuning of a 12- string guitar. The only difference is that you double the lower 3 strings, which are separated by an octave, and you double the top 3 strings in unison.

  • Tuning of a banjo ukulele

G (high), C, E, A

In this, you tune the G string higher than the C and E strings. This gives a ukulele its individual sound. The tuning of a banjo ukulele is just like the tuning of a standard ukulele.

What is the standard tuning for a banjo?

Tuning a banjo is easy. There are a number of different types of banjos that all are tuned differently. The most common banjo type is a 5 string banjo and has a standard tuning in open G – the notes from the 5th string to the 1st are G, D, G, B, D. Find out alternate tunings and tunings for all other banjo types here.

Can you tune a banjo with a guitar tuner?

Can I tune a banjo with a guitar tuner? Well the answer is… yes. There are several ways you can tune your banjo and learning the basics of the instrument will make you a better banjo player.

Why can’t I tune my banjo?

A number of our customers often come to us and say “my banjo won’t stay in tune“. 99 times out of 100 the problem is simply that the screw which holds the tuning peg has become too loose. To fix this you just need to tighten the screw which runs through each tuning peg. Don’t crank down the tension.

What note should a banjo head be tuned to?

The banjo head typically has a firm tension. For those of you with experience and a great ear, factory recommendations are to tighten it between G and G# on our frosted top heads.

How tight should your banjo head be?

Head Tightening

Banjo head tension is a very subjective topic however you generally want a tight head with roughly 1/16″ head deflection at the bridge. This means if you lay a straight edge across the head, there should be a 1/16″ depression at the bridge with the string tension on.

How tight should a tenor banjo head be?

Check the tightness of the head. It should not depress easily and the bridge should not be in a depression and should be flat across the top. You can also string up the banjo and play between each round of 1/4 turns to see how you like the sound.

Why does my banjo string buzz?

Worn frets: Frets can wear down with use and buzzing can occur when pressing the string on a worn fret if the next fret down on the fingerboard toward the head is not worn. A raised or loose fret will cause the string to buzz.

How often should I change banjo strings?

Banjo strings can last 3-5 years, but some musicians prefer to change them as often as once a month or once every couple of weeks.

How do I stop my banjo string buzzing?

How do I make my banjo quieter?

Simply ball up a little bit of tissue/toilet paper and insert it underneath the strings immediately to the left of the bridge (assuming you’re in playing position looking down at the banjo head). Make sure you don’t use too much paper or you’ll deaden the strings completely.

How do I fix the action on my banjo?

Alternately, the action can be lowered by straightening the neck, which will bring the frets closer to the strings. In most banjos, the truss rod can be adjusted by removing the cover on the top of the peghead and tightening the nut to decrease the neck bow or loosening the nut to increase it.

How do you adjust a banjo tailpiece?

How long does it take to master the banjo?

I would rather say that it takes only 6 months to learn to play banjo. Then, it takes a lifetime to get better at it. Just as any other instrument. A good point is that it is better to practice a little every day than for hours once a week.

How can I make a cheap banjo sound better?

7 Ways To Make A Cheap Banjo Sound Better
  1. 1) Replace Strings. Perhaps one of the easiest upgrades you can do is to change the strings.
  2. 3) Replace Head. The head of a banjo can be made from different materials.
  3. 4) Make Sure Head Has Proper Tension.
  4. 5) Replace Or Adjust Bridge.
  5. 6) Replace Or Adjust Tailpiece.

How do you set intonation on a banjo?

How long does a banjo bridge last?

A: They probably will after a while but usually won’t show any sign of that for at least six months to one year, some people have used them for a lot longer than that without any noticeable sag. Besides, considering bridges are a consumable item and they’re reasonably priced that shouldn’t really spoil your fun.

What height should a banjo bridge be?

Tone, Volume and Action

5/8” is the optimum and most popular bridge height. Note: Some novice players think that the height of the bridge is for setting the ‘action’ of their banjo, this is not the case! The action is set by adjusting the ‘neck angle’ on a banjo.

Which way does a banjo bridge lean?

The front side of the Deering bridge (the side with the name on it and the side which should be FACING the peghead for proper placement) is cut at an angle. This angle causes the bridge to lean toward the tailpiece.