Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Which string set do you prefer?

Saturday, I put on a set of GHS PF135s and recorded this video:

Today, I took those off and put on a set of Elixir nano web lights and recorded the same song.

Tell me if you can hear a difference.


Orange one sounds more “tinny/thin” to me but could be due to the more direct angle the banjo is at. …


I really couldn’t tell much of a difference. Great picking though!



I know you don’t want to hear this but I can hear a difference in the backing track EQ, meaning something changed in the 2 recordings.


Good catch! There is a difference in magnitude of Ben’s same voice between the 2 recordings!


GHS sounds slightly brighter than the Elixir. I wouldn’t say that all the strings sound different but some do…but what do I know :upside_down_face:


Yeah, I heard it too, but I can’t imagine what changed. Same phone placed in the same place, with the backing track through the same speakers at the same volume.

At this point I’m just gonna stick with the lights. I think they sound better.


Could it be the brightness of T-shirt impacted the video settings automatically??!! :wink:


I had my wife (I only have 1) play it without me looking to see if I could tell a difference. I could tell which one was which. I like 'em both. Maybe I’ll go Elixir lights in the summer, PH135 rest of the year. Thanks for the comparison, this was helpful. I didn’t like it when I did lights but it wasn’t Elixir.


I’ve been using GHS PF190s for a while. I think they stay in tune better for whatever reason. Gauge is same as 135 except 190s have a 13 for the G string. They also have the cryogenic treatment. :ice_cube::banjo::ice_cube:


OK, I gotta know… do you really hear / feel any difference in those cryogenic strings? I’ve always wondered if it was just a gimmick.


I know you don’t want to hear this, but did you check the volume slider on the videos?
I noticed the playback settings were different. When I cranked them both up to max, the difference in the loudness was not that great.
However, they still sound different & not because of the strings. The second video the audio is crisper, so it tends to sound better all the way around.
I even made a wave form of Ben’s count & sure enough the first one is at a lower volume.
So I normalized both and the second still sounds like it has a touch more EQ on it.
All this says a lot about YouTube and nothing about your strings.
I have tried to listen past all that and it seems the GHS have a bit more fullness to the sound, especially in the mid-range. That’s what I hear from :08 to :15 in both videos.


Wow! That’s high tech! Thanks for going through all of that trouble!

I was using Ben’s MP3 backing track which I edited to be only 2 passes long instead of 3, and playing it in Audacity on my PC. I played it through my monitor speakers with the volume set to 70 on both. I put my phone in a table top tripod in the exact same place both times.

I really don’t know where I could have gone wrong, but I agree there’s something different other than the banjo’s sound.

Something I tend to forget is that a banjo sounds very different sitting behind it rather than in front of it. I like the way the lights sound, but what I’m hearing and what others are hearing is no where near the same.

I miss the days when my ear was fine with any old pack of Gibson strings. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I tried them once and didn’t like them at all, but they were mediums, so that’s probably why. PF185s are still by far my favorites; I felt that the 135s weren’t substantial feeling enough for my preference.


I haven’t played anything else for 3 or 4 years so I can’t compare directly. I know if I keep my banjo out in my practice room it will stay pretty much in tune until the strings begin to wear out.


I’m not so sure it was you. YouTube is a video platform, like TV. TV audio sucks because they don’t care what it sounds like, the picture is the important thing.
YouTube is not much different. Most of the audio is mp3, which is fine for casual listening, but when you’re trying to hear the dandruff fall out of Ringo’s hair you need better audio quality. Better mics, better recording medium and it probably should be analog. Then it will be closer to the sound that one would hear if standing in front of you about 8 feet away.
And as you said, the banjo sounds different to the person behind the 5-string instead of in front of it.
At some point we all end up too deep in the weeds and forget we came out to have fun.
Use the strings that you are comfortable with, experiment with different strings when you have nothing better to do and noodle around every chance you get! :+1:


It is the phone, which custom tunes the EQ according to the instance. I have no idea if this is true but it sounds good.


It sounds better than my phone!

Apparently, you can improve the audio only quality of your phone!

That’s too bad. I thought I had a great excuse for bad picking here! :grin:


Hey @Mark_Rocka, your video is famous!


Cool! I haven’t received my email yet. As usual, I’m always the last to know. :stuck_out_tongue: