This was originally posted on the Deering banjo website, but we decided it'd be good to show here as well in order to help people learn how to buy a banjo.
Of all the questions we receive about banjos, this has to be one of the most common. We will keep this explanation very short but if you have any further questions, send them to us and we’ll answer all of your questions.
So, by popular demand, here is our answer.
GRAMMY Award-winning banjo player Alison Brown is out with her new album “The Song of the Banjo.” She’s a Harvard alumna, and spent years working in finance before she gave all that up to pursue her love of the banjo.
Listen to the interview now!
As most of us know, standard tuning for a 5-string banjo is an open G tuning (G,D,G,B,D). Open G tuning means that if we strum all the strings without fretting any of them, we will be playing a G chord. Open G is a great tuning, but there are many other ways you can tune your banjo as well. By tuning it differently, you can get a completely different tone out of your banjo. It also can make it easier to play certain songs in different keys.
One of the most common and one of my favorite alternate tunings is called Double C Tuning (G,C,G,C,D). This tuning is used very often in old time music. The sound of this tuning gives your banjo a lower voice since we are lowering the lowest pitched string (the 4th string) from a D to a C. It also gives your banjo a hauntingly drone tone because of the two strings that are tuned to C.