Tenor Banjo 102

So a few more points about the tenor banjo. The tenor has only 4 strings unlike the more common bluegrass or openback banjo. And unlike the 4 stringed plectrum banjo the tenor has a shorter scale length than the 5 string banjo. The shorter scale means less frets on the neck with typically 17 or 19 frets. This also forces the bridge to be closer to the edge of the head in order to get the correct intonation up and down the neck. The result of both these things is quite a different sound than the longer necked banjos with more highs and mids in the overall tone. Combined with the tuning in 5ths it generally helps the instrument cut through in a larger ensemble.

So… If you didn’t know how to tell a tell a tenor banjo from a tub with strings, now you do! As to learning the instrument I can highly recommend Learning Tenor Banjo by Homespun Tapes taught by Buddy Watcher. The focus is heavy on basic tenor banjo technique and a practice routine. While I have been playing guitar of all styles for 20 years and have a solid foundation in music fundamentals I found this dvd very useful. I picked up my copy from Elderly Instruments.  If you’ve got any other recommendations please let me know!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks 1

  1. From katonic.com - Tenor Banjo 101 on 16 Feb 2008 at 7:04 pm

    […] Updated to add:  Tenor Banjo 102 […]

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.