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Banjo tuning help


airborne75
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Hey Gents, does anyone have any recommendations on Banjo tuning on the Variax?  Would it be better to mute the high E or low E string to play the "banjo"? 

 

It seems G, D, G, B, D (Open G) tuning seems to be standard for banjos, do you all just change the string setting on Workbench to get this? When I open it now and go to the Banjo, Workbench shows the Standard tuning for guitar on the strings. 

 

Any input would be appreciated! 

 

 

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  • 2 months later...

There's two ways to do this. This is assuming the Variax standard you have is the one with the JTV's hardware and not one of the original ones. If your Variax does not have any pickups it's an original Variax. If you have an original Variax and not one with the JTV hardware, only the second method will work.

 

Method 1) First, for both methods, tune the Variax in Workbench to the banjo tuning. If you save this to the Varaix, that's what will come up when you call it up on your modeller or from your Variax. The one string that will be different which ever tuning you use will be the 5th string. The G on the 5th string is a hi G. One way to get it up that high is to make the banjo a 12 string instrument in Workbench. In Workbench, totally mute the 6th string. Then, turn down (essentially muting) all of the virtual sympathetic strings to 0 except on the 5th string. That string should be tuned up to G and there you turn down/mute the regular string to 0. This brings the virtual sympathetic string that is already made to be one octave higher, up to the hi G. This sounds terrrible by the way but the hi G will be there. Good for practice only in my opinion.

 

Method 2) The other way is to capo the 5th string up that hi. You can raise the pitch of the 5th string as hi as you can go without it sounding terrible and then use a partial capo on the 5th string to get the proper note. The problem with this method is there are no two string capos. Well there's one but it isn't great. It's here and out of stock currently

 

https://www.woodieshanger.com/shop/woodies-g-band-ii-2-string-partial-capo/

 

Schubbs has a 3 string parital capo that you can manuever to capo two strings. It's not great but it will work. Just don't bump the capo.

 

Hope this makes sense. I'm not at home so I may not get this exactly correct. Good Luck

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  • 1 month later...
On 9/4/2022 at 9:06 PM, airborne75 said:

Hey Gents, does anyone have any recommendations on Banjo tuning on the Variax?  Would it be better to mute the high E or low E string to play the "banjo"? 

 

It seems G, D, G, B, D (Open G) tuning seems to be standard for banjos, do you all just change the string setting on Workbench to get this? When I open it now and go to the Banjo, Workbench shows the Standard tuning for guitar on the strings. 

 

Any input would be appreciated! 

 

 

 

I'm late to this thread.... but want to offer what I do. 

I run three banjo tunings... and have completely ditched the idea of getting that High G from the A string. 

 

6 String Banjo

This is just standard guitar tuning, all six string. It work great for modern country.... faux banjo. It's not my favorite style, but it works well, especially for that Keith Urban thing. 

 

Banjo D

I stay off the low A and E (I guess I could mute them)... and drop tune the high E to a D. This makes the tuning exactly like a standard 5 sting, but without the high G. This works well since the high D often acts like a drone... you get some great rolls, just no high G drone. 

 

Banjo G

Same as Banjo D but this time I raise the high E to a high G. Instead of having the "D Drone" I have that "High G Drone".  Since I actually play 5 string banjo this one takes a little getting used to.... as the rolls will differ from the real instrument. But that expected tone is there, and the high D is rarely missed when the high G is in your face. 

 

I do all that with an old 300... those tuning are baked into three of the custom slots. I often load "Banjo D" for vamping then kick in "Banjo G" for a solo. If I had a JTV or Standard I'd get creative. I'd load a preset with the tuning of "Banjo D"... then put the D > G on a momentary footswitch and learn when to engage it on the fly. 

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