Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

New Strings

When i got my banjo one of the strings was broken so i figured obviously to replace the full set, which i have ordered online. Then i thought am i ordering the right set for a beginner ?. I have never even seen a banjo before my son got me this one as a gift so you can call me an absolute newbie when it comes to this instrument. My question is what type of gauge string do i buy being a beginner or doesn’t it matter, i have ordered Medium gauge but can order another set if they aren’t right.
Any Help Appreciated

P.S I will probably be posting other newbie questions so please don’t shoot me down, also i didn’t realise until i was watching a banjo video that the letters of my name are mainly the letters of the fingers used in picking. Thumb, Index, and Middle. Maybe i am detined to be a banjo player :slight_smile:. well i do hope so.

Thanks for reading

Thanks mark, i used to play guitar a good few years back and remember when i first started my fingers at the ends used to actually ache due to pressing down on the strings to play chords, i am following Ben’s way of installing the strings that i saw on video. With guitar i just whipped off all six then restrung it, i will have to remember one at a time. I tried with the 4 strings on it sort of to get a feel and the strings that are on it hardly needed any pressure at all, I didn’t check the tuning with it only having 4 so will have to wait for my new ones to arrive. Thanks again :slight_smile:

Well the last guitar i played was a pretty inexpensive one and i had to really press hard on the strings so much so that i had lines indented on my finger tips for maybe 30 minutes after i finished playing. The banjo that my son got me is also a not very expensive one (or at least i don’t think it is) and the strings don#t really take much pressing at all. The banjo i have is a Ozark so i couldn’t tell you if it is a good brand or just a cheapo lucky bag type lol, it does seem to have a nice tone to it and i think it will be ok for learning on. Still waiting on strings so i can’t really do anything at the moment.

The first string is tuned lower than a guitar (D instead of E) and medium gauge banjo strings are still really slinky and light compared to medium guitar strings so you ought to be fine with mediums.

Medium is a safe choice. If you go to Banjo Bens basic section, he talks about strings.

I’ve been using medium gauge since the day I started, and my fingers had never fretted a string before that. I think you’re good to go.

I’m assuming you’re fairly new to banjo and haven’t been playing real long. If so, you may not have played enough to built up fingertip callouses or a lot of strength and dexterity in your fretting fingers.
I’d definitely suggest ‘light’ guauge strings.
Such as - 9 10 13 20 9 or 9.5 10 13 20 9.5 (Those numbers represent each string gauge from 1st to 5th respectively)
You’ll find them to be much easier to fret, especially if you’re a beginner.
Everyone has their own opinion on strings such as the ‘sound’ and ‘feel’ they prefer, whether they be light, heavy or somewhere in between.
I’ve personally tried many, but still prefer Gibson Earl Scruggs ‘Signature Lights’ which are 9.5 10 13 20 9.5 and available on Amazon for $2.97 a set as an ‘add on’ item.
Hope this helps.