[Dixielandjazz] Starting a High School Dixieland Group

John Mumford john at jazzbanjo.com
Thu Sep 18 09:09:13 PDT 2003


The preferred banjo is a four string since it provides rhythm and chords for
the band.  High schools usually don't have a budget to buy a four string.
If that is the case you can take the 5th string off the five string since
the neck is the same scale as a plectrum.  I have found few high school
students that want to learn plectrum or tenor tuning so what usually happens
is that a guitar player will take the banjo position in the band and tune
the banjo to the first four strings of guitar tuning.  This works just as
well since there are a lot of guitar tuned banjos that have recorded with
jazz banjos over the years.  If you have a mandolin player in your school it
would be an easy transition for them to learn tenor banjo.  For learning
plectrum tuning a five string player has a similar tuning with the first
three strings the same with only the fourth string different.  Most five
string players tune it to D while plectrum players lower it to a C.

John Mumford
Jazz Banjo Magazine
Jazz Banjo Radio

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "don kowallis" <donkowallis at hotmail.com>
To: <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2003 2:24 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Starting a High School Dixieland Group

> I am a music teacher in Canada that is eager to start a Dixieland band.
> have a number of keen students that have played in our "traditional" jazz
> ensembles but are looking at exploring the roots of these styles in a more
> intensive setting.  I have two questions:  (1) Is there a preference
> concerning the type of banjo used in most instrumentations (4-string or
> 5-string) - and- (2)  Can you recommend a resource for musical
> (high school level players).  I would appreciate any assistance or advice
> that you could provide!
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