8/01/2012

Flatwounds on Tenor Banjo

I just decided to pull that lovely Langstile tenor banjo for my own collection today, and since I typically tune a tenor either in GCEA or DGBE (uke or "Chicago" / baritone uke) tunings, I wanted to swap the strings out.

I've been "loving me some" flatwounds on my acoustic archtop guitar since February (of the rather nice Thomastik "George Benson" variety) and wanted to see if the jazz sound applied to a tenor as well. The answer?

It does! String-to-string tone is really even and the two wound strings give off a mellow, sweeter nylon-string sort of vibe. Plus, all those closed-position chords sliding around on the neck no longer squeak.

The tenor is strung pretty heavy for DGBE on a 22" scale with 32w, 24w, and plain 18 and 13, but I find that Langes respond best with heavier gauges (a trick I learned from Bob Dean, local tenor player extraordinaire) since the heavier gauges cut the "ring" and give a warmer drive. And... Langes have tough enough necks to deal with it.

So, just sharing in case there are tenor 'jo players out there with a "spare" to try it on. You'll be happy if you like a warmer, tighter sound, with zero string squeak.

ALSO: coming up is some further nice stuff. Stay tuned!

No comments: