How To Tune A Tenor Banjo

Photo of author
Home » Instruments » Banjo » How To Tune A Tenor Banjo

The Tenor Banjo is a relatively new instrument in the world of stringed instruments. It is a smaller instrument than the standard banjo and when strummed, the Tenor Banjo sounds like a small, dulcet guitar. It was developed by Bill Keith in the late 1970s, who was looking for a way to play the banjo in a bluegrass band. In this article we will discuss how to tune a tenor banjo.

Common Tenor Banjo Tunings

Traditional Tenor Banjo Tuning: CGDA

Tenor banjo strings are tuned in fifths, just like the guitar. Tuning the tenor banjo is relatively easy. The first step is to tune the highest string, the “A” string. It is tuned to C by placing the string in front of the first fret of the high “E” string. Then, tune the “D” string to a G. Follow by tuning the “G” string to an A. Tune the “C” string to a D. Lastly, tune the “D” string to a G. Also, if the banjo has only 4 strings, you can just stop at first four ones, so no need to wonder how to tune a 4 string tenor banjo. And you still get to know how to tune a 5 string tenor banjo.

Irish Tenor Banjo Tuning: GDAE

This is the most popular tuning for Tenor Banjos in Ireland, and also the most popular tuning for ukuleles. The Irish Tenor Banjo tuning is called “Chicago” Tuning in the United States, and this is the tuning that most American Tenor Banjo players use. Tuning the Tenor Banjo in this style is similar to tuning a guitar. Tune the “A” string to a C. Tune the “D” string to an A. Tune the “G” string to a D. Tune the “C” string to a G.

“Chicago” Tuning: DGBE

This tuning is the most common tuning for Tenor Banjos in the United States. To tune the Tenor Banjo in this tuning, tune the “A” string to D. Tune the “D” string to G. Tune the “G” string to B. Tune the “C” string to D. Finally, tune the “D” string to G.

Other Tenor Banjo Tunings

These are somewhat less knowledgeable tenor banjo tunings, but nevertheless, they are often used and it is important to know them.

Plectrum Tuning: CGBD

This is a tuning that was developed by Pete Seeger, who is famous for playing the Banjo. This tuning is used mainly for playing the Tenor Banjo like an electric guitar. To tune this tuning, tune the “A” string to C. Tune the “D” string to G. Tune the “G” string to B. Tune the “C” string to D. Finally, tune the “D” string to G.

DAEB

This is a tuning that is common for both Irish Tenor Banjos and Tenor Banjos in Greece, and is also the tuning for the Tenor Banjo in an orchestra. This tuning is similar to the Irish Tenor Banjo tuning, and to tune the Tenor Banjo in this tuning, tune the “A” string to D. Tune the “D” string to A. Tune the “G” string to E. Tune the “C” string to A. Finally, tune the “D” string to A.

Various Re-entrant Tunings

Ukulele Tuning: gCEA (re-entrant)

This tuning is the most popular tuning for Ukuleles. This is also the most common tuning for Tenor Banjos in Asia. To tune a Tenor Banjo in this tuning, tune the “A” string to C. Tune the “D” string to E. Tune the “G” string to A. Tune the “C” string to E. Finally, tune the “D” string to A.

The Symmetrical Tuning of the Tenor Banjo

The symmetrical tuning of the Tenor Banjo is a tuning developed by Pete Seeger, and is also the tuning for the Tenor Banjo in an orchestra. To tune the Tenor Banjo in this tuning, tune the “A” string to D. Tune the “D” string to A. Tune the “G” string to E. Tune the “C” string to A. Finally, tune the “D” string to A.

FAQ

How do I tune a Tenor Banjo?

To tune the Tenor Banjo, the player must first tune the highest string, the “A” string. The “A” string is tuned to C by placing the string in front of the first fret of the high “E” string. Then, tune the “D” string to a G. Follow by tuning the “G” string to an A. Tune the “C” string to a D. Lastly, tune the “D” string to a G.

black tenor banjo

Can you play chords on a tenor banjo?

No, but this is not the purpose of the Tenor Banjo. The Tenor Banjo is typically played using one finger, which allows for a more precise playing style.

What is the best way to hold a tenor banjo?

The best way to hold a Tenor Banjo is to hold it in a way that is comfortable to you. There is no set way that every player holds their Tenor Banjo.

What is the difference between a tenor banjo and a standard banjo?

Tenor Banjos are smaller than standard banjos and the tone of the instrument is more mellow and dulcet sounding.

Conclusion

This was an article about tuning tenor banjo. Tenor Banjos are a relatively new instrument in the world of stringed instruments. They were developed by Bill Keith in the late 1970s, who was looking for a way to play the banjo in a bluegrass band. There are many different tunings for a Tenor Banjo. The most common tuning is Chicago Tuning, which sounds like a small, dulcet guitar. Other tunings include Irish Tuning, which sounds more like a ukulele, and Symmetrical Tuning, which is tuned in the same way as the Banjo in an orchestra.

Also read:

About the author

Hi there! I’m Jack Little – an avid country music fan with tons of live country performances in the past. I used to play banjo in a country band with my best friend John Peters, who’s a true country harmonica master. Those were great years and I’m still mastering new banjo playing techniques, writing my own country songs and lyrics, and collecting banjos!

Leave a Comment