Hello Everyone!! from a Tenor Banjo Newbie

  1. 1NewPicker
    Hello all I just recieved my new old banjo yesterday. A 1920's - 30's vintage 19 fret Slingerland Maybell. She's not much to look at but sounds OK, friction tuners seem to work, neck seems good. The strings that were on it were shot so I strung it up with half a set of J74's I had around and they seem OK. I was wondering if there is anything I need to do before I leave it strung this way? I will likely order a proper set of Irish TB strings for it any reccomendations?
  2. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Hi, 1NP, welcome to the world of the tenor banjo!
    Like yourself I have recently acquired an old instrument, in my case a 1928 Vega which was in need of refurbishment too. I did a complete refret, put on a new Remo head and spent some time buffing up all the hardware to get rid of years of being stored in an attic here is Scotland (the banjo, not me!). Check the tension in the head and the slots in your bridge and nut to make sure the strings are not snagging at either end, as this can affect the tuning stability. I do not think you need to worry too much over the fitting of the strings you have put on - J74s are, I believe, 11, 15,24w and 40w, while the recommended gauges for Irish stringing are:12,16/17, 24w/26w and 36w, so not a great difference in the tension exerted by either set. Over here in the UK the Newtone set is a favourite and is gauged at 11,17,26w and 36w.

    A good site with loads of information is http://www.irish-banjo.com
    Good luck and have fun with the new baby!
  3. Patrick Market
    Patrick Market
    FWIW, I have used the GHS Celtic Tenor Banjo set on a 1928 Gibson Oriole. These are .014 .024w .032w .042w. Good luck.
  4. bmac
    You will also need a wrench for head adjustmentif you don't already have one.. since youy only have one banjo you most likely will need only one size wrench. A short one with open end on one end and closed wrench on the other would be the best. The shortest wrench you can find is best (three or four inches is ideal). I am opposed to adjustable wrenches for this as they are often out of adjustment and will tend to round off your nuts if not carefully adjusted each time it is used. Also I don't know whether you have geared tuners on it or friction. If friction they can be a nuissance to keep in tune... However if you rub violin rosin on them on the areas of contact with the wood headstock the rosin will help dramaticly in keeping your instrument in tune. And of course the screw on the tuner is used to adjust the compression of the tuners onto the wood headstock. Again a screw driver which fits perfectly in the slots of the tuners will prevent dmaging the slots over the years of tuning.

    Sounds like you have a nice banjo to learn on.

    just re-read your post and realized you have a plastic head on it. That will require very little readjustment But I still think it is a good idea to have a wrench as described above handy in your case as the nuts can work loose with changes in temperature and humidity.
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