1. #1

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    I joined the Banjo Hangout for the express purpose of asking this question but have gotten no responses so far:

    A while back I bought a '67 Vega Wonder Plectrum Banjo, and being a guitarist, tuned it Chicago style (DGBE). But then I got a Mandola (CGDA) and subsequently a Tenor Banjo (Goldtone IT250R set up for CGDA). I'm enjoying 5ths tuning! So now I'm thinking I want to set up my Plectrum as an Irish Tenor Banjo tuned GDAE (a fourth lower than a traditional tenor) when capoed at the 3rd fret.

    The Plectrum has 22 frets and a 27" scale. So if I tune it open at E B F# C#, It would be G D A E capoed @ the 3rd fret. If I capo it at the 3rd fret, that leaves 19 frets and a 22.75" scale.

    So, could anyone recommend a proper set of string gauges to accomplish this? I'm thinking maybe .012p .016p .024w .036w might do it.

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  3. #2

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    A 27" scale? Are you sure that's right? You're measuring nut to bridge right?

    Either way this link will help you

    Stringjoy Guitar String Tension Calculator

  4. #3

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    Thanks, Allen,

    Yup - a Plectrum is like a 5-string without the 5th string: 27" nut-to-bridge!
    But I just noticed that .012p .016p .024w .036w are exactly the gauges of the D'Addario EJ63i Irish Tenor set!
    Assuming they're long enough, if I tune them down a minor 3rd in open position the tension should be OK!
    They're not expensive; I'll include them in my next string order.
    And I'll post my results in this thread.

  5. #4

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    I think my banjo was 25.5" I wonder if that's why the strings always felt so floppy.

    Never should have sold it

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Karol
    I joined the Banjo Hangout for the express purpose of asking this question but have gotten no responses so far:

    A while back I bought a '67 Vega Wonder Plectrum Banjo, and being a guitarist, tuned it Chicago style (DGBE). But then I got a Mandola (CGDA) and subsequently a Tenor Banjo (Goldtone IT250R set up for CGDA). I'm enjoying 5ths tuning! So now I'm thinking I want to set up my Plectrum as an Irish Tenor Banjo tuned GDAE (a fourth lower than a traditional tenor) when capoed at the 3rd fret.

    The Plectrum has 22 frets and a 27" scale. So if I tune it open at E B F# C#, It would be G D A E capoed @ the 3rd fret. If I capo it at the 3rd fret, that leaves 19 frets and a 22.75" scale.

    So, could anyone recommend a proper set of string gauges to accomplish this? I'm thinking maybe .012p .016p .024w .036w might do it.
    Post your question in the Celtic section at mandolincafe.com you will most likely get plenty of responses.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by alltunes
    Post your question in the Celtic section at mandolincafe.com you will most likely get plenty of responses.
    Thanks!

  8. #7

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    Good News/Bad News:

    They're plenty long enough, and the action, intonation, and tension is good. They sound good and are very playable.

    But ...

    I had to tune them to G D A E in OPEN position or else they were too loose/floppy. So, now I guess I have a "Long Neck Irish Tenor."

    If I want to follow my original plan and have it tuned G D A E when capoed at the 3rd fret, I'll need to go up to AT LEAST .014p .018p .026w & .038w. I'd probably use phosphor bronze for the wound strings in that case.

    I'm still happy with the results, but it appears that I'm not yet done experimenting.

  9. #8

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    I went with .014p .022w .032w .042w (the wound strings are phosphor bronze), and it worked. GHS makes a set called Custom Stainless Steel Celtic Tenor (.014 .024w .032w .042w) available for $6.99 @ Elderly Instruments – so I could go with those – but it sounded better with the D'Addario EJ63i Irish Tenor set tuned normally, so I’m sticking with the "Long Neck Irish Tenor/Octave Bandolin” iteration!