5-String Banjo

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Tuning 5-String Banjo, 4-String Tenor Banjo & Long-Necked Banjo
The short-voiced nature of Banjo presents a problem, the tone generated by plucking an open string is often too brief to register on regular electronic tuners. Due to the real-time response and added SUStain feature developed by Peterson specifically with instruments like banjo in mind, tuning becomes simple and straightforward. In the banjo world, there are there are two main instruments, the five string banjo, popular for Bluegrass music making and the four string Tenor banjo, popular for Irish traditional music making.

The five string banjo is standard tuned to g4 C3 G3 B3 D4, which is a re-entrant tuning, meaning that the tuning does not progress from low to high pitch. The 4 string Tenor banjo is standard tuned to C3 G3 D4 A4. The numbers after the note names refer to the octave number displayed on most Peterson tuners, making tuning extra easy even for the absolute beginner.

An extra consideration is the fact that the resonant top of a banjo is a tuneable head which must also be tuned. Fortunately, this is easy using your Peterson strobe tuner.

Peterson counts Ron Block, Steve Martin, the late Earl Scruggs and other banjo greats among its users, so you’ll be in good company!

  1. Begin with the first string, it’s located closest to the floor when holding the banjo in the normal playing position.
  2. Pluck to sound the 1st string and observe the tuner display, check that the note “D” is displayed. With your left hand, adjust the tuning peg to stop the strobe pattern image from moving contuously in any one direction, continue to adjust until the strobe pattern is motionless.
  3. Repeat the above for the B, G, D & high G strings until all strings are tuned.
= Standard Tuning
G4
= G in the 4th octave

5-String Banjo

I Play This

4-String Tenor Banjo

I Play This

Long-Necked Banjo

I Play This

G4 C3 G3 B3 D4

Standard

C3 G3 D4 A4

Standard

E4 B2 E3 G#3 B3

Standard

G4 D3 G3 B3 D4

Bluegrass

G2 D3 A3 E4

Irish

G4 C3 G3 C4 D4

Double C

A2 D3 F#3 B3

D Tuning

G4 D3 G3 C4 D4

G Sawmill

G3 C4 E4 A4

C Tuning

5-String Banjo

I Play This

G4 C3 G3 B3 D4

Standard

G4 D3 G3 B3 D4

Bluegrass

G4 C3 G3 C4 D4

Double C

G4 D3 G3 C4 D4

G Sawmill

4-String Tenor Banjo

I Play This

C3 G3 D4 A4

Standard

G2 D3 A3 E4

Irish

A2 D3 F#3 B3

D Tuning

G3 C4 E4 A4

C Tuning

Long-Necked Banjo

I Play This

E4 B2 E3 G#3 B3

Standard

Unlike other tuners which offer no alternative to generic Equal Temperament, Peterson Tuners contain many choices of “Sweetness“, in other words, several degrees of harmony or consonance in a tuning preset. The Sweetener feature is exclusive to Peterson Tuners and there is one for almost any musical instrument.
TBO
Peterson Tenor Banjo Sweetener
BJO
Peterson Sweetened Tuning for 5 String Banjo
 The Peterson StroboClip HD™ (SC-HD) has the same tenth-of-a-cent accuracy as all Peterson Strobe Tuners. | Peterson Strobe Tuners

StroboClip HDC

$79.99

The Peterson StroboClip HD™ (SC-HD) has the same tenth-of-a-cent accuracy as all Peterson Strobe Tuners. This versatile tuner comes complete with a bright high-definition screen, over 50 Sweetened™ tunings, alternate temperaments for a vast array of string and wind instruments, and soft rubber-lined jaws to protect your instrument's finish while offering a firm grip for maximum signal tracking.
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 For over 75 years, Peterson has been trusted by some of the biggest names on stage and in the studio as the standard in tuning precision. | Peterson Strobe Tuners

StroboStomp Mini

$119.99

For over 75 years, Peterson has been trusted by some of the biggest names on stage and in the studio as the standard in tuning precision. The StroboStomp Mini™ delivers the unmatched 0.1 cent tuning accuracy of all authentic Peterson Strobe Tuners in a mini pedal tuner format. Featuring a high-definition LCD strobe display with variable LED color backlight, your instruments will never sound more in tune. A pop-less true bypass mode and a buffered output mode place you in command of your precious tone without compromise. With over 130 exclusive Sweetened Tunings® and Guided Tunings on-board, you'll be able to dial in your sound and tune like the pros!
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 Featuring the largest tuning display Peterson Tuners has ever incorporated into one of their pedal tuners, the StroboStomp HD boasts a high-definition, LCD screen that incorporates a variable color LED backlight. | Peterson Strobe Tuners

StroboStomp LE

$169.99

Featuring the largest tuning display Peterson Tuners has ever incorporated into one of their pedal tuners, the StroboStomp HD boasts a high-definition, LCD screen that incorporates a variable color LED backlight. The user-selectable colors can be used to personalize the tuner or to increase display viewing quality in different levels of ambient lighting depending on the usage environment. The vibrant screen colors can also be assigned to stock or user presets to significantly reduce menu navigation time and increase on-stage tuning confidence at the gig. For tone purists, the StroboStomp HD provides a 100% silent, true-bypass operation mode to keep precious tone safe, as well as, eliminate the often annoying “pop” experienced when engaging such a feature in other products. It uses a unique series of timed relays incorporated within its circuitry to shunt the signal, draining the cause of the popping sound prior to breaking the connection, and effectively shutting the tuner down for direct play through without affecting tone quality. The StroboStomp HD also includes a long-time, user-requested buffered output operation mode that can be user engaged. The buffered mode can be used in or out of monitor mode. It is designed to boost instrument drive to overcome potential tone loss in signal chains that incorporate multiple low-impedance guitar pedals or those that utilize long cable runs. The buffered output modes preserve sonic quality all through the instrument range and keep prized core tone intact. The StroboStomp HD features over 100 exclusive Sweetened Tunings™, as well as, numbered guided tuning presets for a large variety of instruments and playing styles. Sweetened Tunings are exclusive to Peterson tuning products and are designed to help correct inherent tuning issues exhibited by many instruments. The new "Guided Tunings" mode allows the StroboStomp HD to display numeric string values instead of traditional note names making for sure-fire intuitive and rapid re-tuning to any number of open and alternative tunings. The Guided Tuning mode was instituted for beginners who want to experiment with popular alternate tunings, as well as, experienced players who employ multiple tunings in rapid succession. Numerically expressed scales are also included.
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 The StroboPLUS HDC encompasses decades of tuning authority and technology to deliver the ultimate strobe tuner/metronome combo!

The StroboPLUS HDC’s 0. | Peterson Strobe Tuners

StroboPLUS HDC

$179.99

The StroboPLUS HDC encompasses decades of tuning authority and technology to deliver the ultimate strobe tuner/metronome combo! The StroboPLUS HDC’s 0.1 cent tuning accuracy will tune any instrument with the utmost precision. Featuring a high-definition, multi-color display with variable color LED backlight, the StroboPLUS HDC display can be seen easily across the stage, bench, studio or classroom. Over 200 exclusive Sweetened Tunings® and Guided Tunings on-board accommodate a variety of instruments, temperaments, and musical genres. The highly configurable metronome features precise 0.1 BPM adjustability in eighth notes, quarter notes, dotted quarter notes or half notes, a tempo range of 10-280 BPM, over 100 subdivisions, accent patterns, and polyrhythms. The StroboPLUS HDC can also be used to play thousands of bars of tempo maps, programmable from the Peterson Connect Web App. A single tempo map can play an entire score of meter changes, accent patterns, subdivisions, bar colors, silent bars and gradually curved tempo changes like accelerandos and ritardandos. The StroboPLUS HDC is the perfect tuning, ear training and rhythm tool all in one package!
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 Featuring the largest tuning display Peterson Tuners has ever incorporated into one of their pedal tuners, the StroboStomp HD boasts a high-definition, LCD screen that incorporates a variable color LED backlight. | Peterson Strobe Tuners

StroboStomp HD

$149.00

Featuring the largest tuning display Peterson Tuners has ever incorporated into one of their pedal tuners, the StroboStomp HD boasts a high-definition, LCD screen that incorporates a variable color LED backlight. The user-selectable colors can be used to personalize the tuner or to increase display viewing quality in different levels of ambient lighting depending on the usage environment. The vibrant screen colors can also be assigned to stock or user presets to significantly reduce menu navigation time and increase on-stage tuning confidence at the gig. For tone purists, the StroboStomp HD provides a 100% silent, true-bypass operation mode to keep precious tone safe, as well as, eliminate the often annoying “pop” experienced when engaging such a feature in other products. It uses a unique series of timed relays incorporated within its circuitry to shunt the signal, draining the cause of the popping sound prior to breaking the connection, and effectively shutting the tuner down for direct play through without affecting tone quality. The StroboStomp HD also includes a long-time, user-requested buffered output operation mode that can be user engaged. The buffered mode can be used in or out of monitor mode. It is designed to boost instrument drive to overcome potential tone loss in signal chains that incorporate multiple low-impedance guitar pedals or those that utilize long cable runs. The buffered output modes preserve sonic quality all through the instrument range and keep prized core tone intact. The StroboStomp HD features over 100 exclusive Sweetened Tunings™, as well as, numbered guided tuning presets for a large variety of instruments and playing styles. Sweetened Tunings are exclusive to Peterson tuning products and are designed to help correct inherent tuning issues exhibited by many instruments. The new "Guided Tunings" mode allows the StroboStomp HD to display numeric string values instead of traditional note names making for sure-fire intuitive and rapid re-tuning to any number of open and alternative tunings. The Guided Tuning mode was instituted for beginners who want to experiment with popular alternate tunings, as well as, experienced players who employ multiple tunings in rapid succession. Numerically expressed scales are also included.
MORE

0

0

 The Peterson StroboClip HD™ (SC-HD) has the same tenth-of-a-cent accuracy as all Peterson Strobe Tuners. | Peterson Strobe Tuners

StroboClip HD

$59.99

The Peterson StroboClip HD™ (SC-HD) has the same tenth-of-a-cent accuracy as all Peterson Strobe Tuners. This versatile tuner comes complete with a bright high-definition screen, over 50 Sweetened™ tunings, alternate temperaments for a vast array of string and wind instruments, and soft rubber-lined jaws to protect your instrument's finish while offering a firm grip for maximum signal tracking.
MORE

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0

 The Peterson StroboPlus HD (SP-1) is THE premier desktop digital tuner on the market!  Equally as comfortable on a tech’s workbench as it is in a player’s guitar case, this tuner, with all of its features, is no exception to Peterson’s reputation for being THE most accurate in the industry — don’t let its demure palm size fool you! Players of both acoustic and electric instruments can rest assured— a built-in electret condenser microphone and ¼” input jack provide excellent connectivity. | Peterson Strobe Tuners

StroboPLUS HD

$149.99

The Peterson StroboPlus HD (SP-1) is THE premier desktop digital tuner on the market! Equally as comfortable on a tech’s workbench as it is in a player’s guitar case, this tuner, with all of its features, is no exception to Peterson’s reputation for being THE most accurate in the industry — don’t let its demure palm size fool you! Players of both acoustic and electric instruments can rest assured— a built-in electret condenser microphone and ¼” input jack provide excellent connectivity. Gone are the days of having to carry extra batteries and tripping over power cables during a performance! This tuner is rechargeable via computer bus or outlet power, and its large, circular screen is easily viewed in both the darkest and brightest environmental conditions. Features such as Auto Off, easy menu navigation, tripod mounting capability, over 90 of our Sweetened Tunings, tone generation ability via built in speaker, and a headphone output jack round out the package. Finally, future-proof updating and parameter editing is made possible by the tuner’s unobtrusive side-mounted USB jack. And for those feeling exceptionally adventurous, this tuner can be upgraded to also feature our super flexible Body Beat metronome option, along with both audible AND tactile mode operation. Hear the beat or feel it…the power is in your hands. This tuner is fit for the most discerning of players and technicians for sure!
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 iStroboSoft™ offers the unmatched accuracy of a mechanical strobe tuner for the highest degree of precision available in a software tuning application. | Peterson Strobe Tuners

iStroboSoft (iOS)

$9.99

iStroboSoft™ offers the unmatched accuracy of a mechanical strobe tuner for the highest degree of precision available in a software tuning application. Plug in your electrics or use the built-in mic for acoustic instruments to quickly and easily tune with 1/10th cent accuracy.
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 The Peterson StroboSoft2 Tuning Suite gives you the power to route your audio through your DAW on an insert point or to strap it across your buss and tune with unrivaled accuracy. | Peterson Strobe Tuners

StroboSoft 2.0

$49.99 - $99.99

The Peterson StroboSoft2 Tuning Suite gives you the power to route your audio through your DAW on an insert point or to strap it across your buss and tune with unrivaled accuracy. Getting your instrument into your computer is as simple as plugging in up to two sound cards at once (stereo input), and selecting a sampling rate up to 96kHz. If the output level of your instrument still isn’t high enough, we have you covered. You can boost signals up to 24dB and achieve an ideal tuning lock. Sharp and flat tuning indicators make “at a glance” tuning a breeze. Gone are the days of needing to use an external compressor to tap-tune backboards, braces, and tone bars. Our “Average” function does away with any measured outliers. The “Standard” downloadable version of this software offers basic chromatic tuning, Cent/Hertz/MIDI note number output, noise filtering, and selectable concert A reference. Our “Deluxe” version offers 38 Sweetened Tunings, themed skins to personalize the tuner to fit the best look for your style, the ability to import/export Sweeteners and temperament to share with friends, and oscilloscope/spectrum analyzer utilities!
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1. Make sure to keep strings in good condition, wipe them down with a cloth after playing and replace them with new strings when they become old or worn. If you break a string while playing or tuning, it often means the strings are at the end of their useful life. Old strings will never hold a tuning. Replace all strings at the same time.

2. A banjo head usually has a very long life, examine the head where it meets the bearing edge of the tone ring and also where the tension hoop contacts the head, look for cracks, splits and other damage or wear in the rim of the head.

3. Check the tuning pegs and their mounting screws periodically, standard, Keith or Scruggs pegs can loosen up over time and cause tuning instability.

For banjos with traditional free-standing or floating bridges, the exact position of the bridge will determine whether the instrument can sound in tune when the strings are fretted. The various thickness or gauge of the strings means that some have a longer or shorter “speaking length” than others, therefore the bridge may need to be angled correspondingly. Some banjos have compensated bridge saddles to allow for this, some do not, in any case, the bridge needs to be correctly positioned for the instrument to play in tune.

Using your Peterson Strobe Tuner, check this as follows:

Having tuned the 1st string correctly, pluck it while fretting it at the 12th fret. If the fretted tone shows sharp on your tuner, the bridge needs to be moved a slight distance further away from the end of the neck, if it shows flat, it needs to be moved a slight distance closer to the end of the neck.

Repeat this procedure with the 4th string at the other side of the bridge. When both open and fretted tones are in tune in each case, the bridge is in the correct position.

1. Tap around the perimeter of the surface of the head with your finger and observe the tuner display. Without exerting undue pressure on the hex nuts adust the tension until a constant G or G# is displayed as you tap around the head.

2. If you own a Peterson Tuner which features a built-in speaker with audio tones, dial in G or G#, turn the volume up and adjust the tension on the head until you can feel it start to vibrate in sympathy with the tone emitting from the tuner.

3. A lower tension where the bridge is making a visible dent in the head may result in a dull sound, too much tension and the instrument will lose volume.

5-string banjos built by the Gibson company in the 1930s such as the Mastertone model played by the legendary Earl Scruggs and modern virtuosos like Béla Fleck, the Vega long-necked banjo popularized by the late Pete Seeger, the 24K Gold-plated Deering Clipper played by Tony Trischka and 4-string instruments built by the Clifford Essex Co. in the United Kingdom such as the Paragon model as played by Irish Traditional banjo player Barney McKenna are just some examples of famous banjos.

The “Banjo Craze” of the early 20th century spawned all manner of hybrids of the banjo including the banjola (banjo/mandola), banjolele (banjo/ukulele), guitar-banjo. Most of these instruments were developed to harness the louder nature of the banjo resonator to an existing “quieter” instrument in the days before amplification.

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