Discuss the Banjo lesson: How to Tune Your Banjo



We’ll do an overview of the 5 strings, then learn how to tune with and without a tuner. Finally, we’ll look at alternate tunings and the capo!



I’m brand new and want to thank you for these lessons and your amazing teaching style! I’ve already learned a lot and was just asking myself, tune up or down, when you answered it in the video.

I notice you keep your capo above the nut. Knowing the tension on the strings from nut to peg changes tuning, is there any problem with keeping it there? And if there’s no tension on the capo, do you have any issues with it rattling or moving when playing?

Also, what are your thoughts on a ZERO FRET?

Much appreciated,


Great questions! I put JUST enough tension to keep the capo from coming back over the nut, but it will still move a bit if I touch it. I don’t want to have it change the tuning any. This will also vary based on the shape of your headstock and how the capo seats. I’m not familiar with the zero fret…you’ll have to enlighten me :smile:


Great, I was wondering and that answered it. I imagine it also dampens any resonance in those strings as well.

I was looking at ordering a Recording King RK-36 and they offered an option of an pre-installed “Zero Glide Nut” (zero fret) and I’d never heard of that myself, so I had to research it. It’s a fret wire placed just below the nut at the zero position to keep your open string tone the same as fretted (fret wire vs bone/plastic). In the video’s I’ve seen, there’s a noticeable difference in volume. There’s quite a few videos out there, this page is a great resource and has a lot of video comparisons. As with anything, some people swear by them and others swear at them!

Zero Glide Replacement Nut


Very interesting! I’m intrigued. By the way, I’m about to be carrying Recording Kings and I’ll make it worth your while to purchase from me.


I’ve always steered clear of zero feet instruments, since I most often see them on low end models. I just did some reading and apparently that’s not always the case.

If it’s a quality instrument, I can see the advantage of having the string height being absolutely perfect going over the 1st fret without having to file down the nut (and risk filing too far, which I’ve done more than once.) I hadn’t even considered tone issues. That’s really interesting.

You’ll have to post a review if you order that RK-36.


Ben, that’s a deal! I was originally looking at Deerings, but read so many people online raving about the Recording Kings being that much more of a banjo… I’ll PM you with the details I found online. Thanks, I’d much rather buy from you!


Mark, I read a lot of that online too and it was true to a degree. Now I read that Gretsches, the 2015 Gibson Les Paul and other high ends are going that route too.

I guess it all comes down to personal preference, I guess. I’m not hard for or against, but it seems like a good idea. If I do get a ZeroGlide or other type of zero fret, I’d be happy to review but I really have no comparison and I’m barely starting. (My Cripple Creek is in a wheelchair! :rofl: )


is this tuning the same for a 6 string banjo?


As far as I know, a 6 string Banjo is tuned like a guitar, EADGBE. I’m pretty sure that’s why you commonly see them called a guitjo.