Forum - Banjo Ben Clark


I still have problems getting my middle string tuned so it sounds in tune with all the chords and up the neck. It always sounds a little sharp even though I have a compensated 3rd string bridge. Does anyone else have this problem?

Hi Jon yes I do, The G string is the string that will go out of tune the most. This is something as banjo players we learn to live with. As soon as you adjust the tuning on any string the G string will go out of tune.

I tune my forth string first and my third string last I then recheck and recheck etc. That’s why there are so many jokes about banjo players.

The slightest change in humidity or temperature or external vibration can play havoc with your tuning. I hope the goes some way to reassure you your not alone in trying to keep in perfect pitch.

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Thanks Archie. Its a real annoyance but glad it doesn’t only happen to me then. :grin:

I usually just play slightly out of tune, cuz I only tune either when playing with or for others, or when it is very out of tune. It’s like honky tonk piano; it needs to be slightly out of tune to sound right :wink:

It may be something wrong going on, depends on how sharp you’re talking about. I know some well-known builders that swear against compensated bridges. Have you tried a regular bridge?

Yes I’ve tried a normal and compensated. It’s the same on both my banjos. Maybe I just have more trouble tuning a banjo I don’t know. I tune it and it sounds fine open stringed and then it sounds slightly off on a chord so I tweek a bit. It’s only very slight and maybe I’m being fussy. But it must be something as I don’t hear your banjo being slightly out on the middle string. Maybe it’s my ears playing tricks on me :laughing:

Maybe the manufacturer can recommend (or you can get from them) a bridge to try.

If you want to get your PhD in compensated bridge physics:

Yep you could be right there. I just have very sensitive ears for pitch and it bugs me if a string is out when I play :yum: