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Thread: Tenor Banjo --> Mandocello

  1. #1

    Default Tenor Banjo --> Mandocello

    Ive got a student tenor banjo that is pretty playable in cello tuning. I spent a whopping $20 on this thing, so Im not too worried about long term damage to it. Im wondering if you guys think itd be possible to add another 4 tuners (the headstock is all jacked up so Im gonna fix up the existing holes anyway), replace the nut, and slap on another set of strings (totalling 8) to make it into a bastardized mandocello?

  2. #2
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tenor Banjo --> Mandocello

    Many things are possible. You'll need to modify the bridge, and probably the tailpiece (unless you hook two strings on each prong) to accommodate eight strings, as well as the nut. Squeezing eight strings on to a normal-width banjo neck, with sufficient separation between the two strings of each course, may produce a bit of a "traffic jam," I think.

    You could also keep it as a four-string banjo-mando-cello. You're increasing the string tension, probably doubling it, so think about some fairly light strings; they'll be a bit "floppier," but will avoid damage.

    I have a four-string Gold Tone cello banjo, and while it's definitely an interesting instrument, it doesn't get played a lot in my current musical endeavors. It's strung with nylon strings, and you might want to buy a couple sets of the nylon cello banjo strings, and try them on your converted eight-string. Usually cello-tuned banjos had larger bodies and heads, to handle the lower pitches, but that's not mandatory.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

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