[Dixielandjazz] History of the Tenor Banjo

RickeyZ rickz at usermail.com
Wed May 16 09:52:17 PDT 2012

I tune my plectrum to a guitar tuning, but up a chromatic third. That is
That gives it a sparkling sound that cuts thru everything.
Since I've played ukulele for over sixty years, the chords are familiar,
altho I play up the neck like a real banjo player should.   The tuning
turns flat keys into sharps and that's handy for a guitar player (which 
I am now)

Rick Jolley
Colorado Nighthawks

Phil Wilking wrote:
> Standard tenor banjo tuning is C-G-D-A, exactly the same as a viola. 
> Standard mandolin tuning is G-D-A-E, exactly the same as a violin.
> Standard plectrum banjo tuning is C-G-B-D, but many players tune it as 
> the top four strings of a guitar and still others invent their own 
> tunings.
> Mike Pingatore's name ends in an "e," not a "y."
> Phil Wilking - K5MZF
> www.nolabanjo.com
> Those who would exchange freedom for
> security deserve neither freedom nor security.
> -----Original Message----- From: Mike Woitowicz
> There is some interesting commentary in the article about Mike 
> Pingatory's role as banjoist with Paul Whiteman's orchestra and his 
> contribution to the development of the instrument.
> For those that are not aware, the tenor banjo is one of two major 
> types of 4-string banjos used in jazz (the "plectrum" banjo is the 
> other). The tenor banjo has a shorter neck and is tuned to a higher 
> pitch. There are several tunings used for the plectrum banjo, but 
> generally the pitch is lower. The higher pitch of the tenor allows it 
> to cut through the other instruments in a combo, more so than the 
> plectrum. This style of tuning was developed from mandolins and other 
> similar instruments in the early 1900's (explained in the article).
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