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I'm half way through a banjo to banjourine conversion and need to know the gauge of strings that should be used..many thanks..Steve.
Just use regular strings, the neck should be proportionally shorter.
I would use the same strings as on a full size five-string banjo. The banjeurine is tuned as a full size banjo sounds at the fifth fret. If the banjeurine scale (nut to bridge) is the same or close to the measurement of fret 5 to bridge on a regular banjo then normal strings would be the thing to use.
I agree with one caveat: as total string length (as opposed to "capoed" string length) gets shorter, the string gets stiffer. This is simple (or perhaps not so simple) physics.
What I have found is that when one builds a shorter scale, the string diameter should decrease to give the same feel. This has virtually nothing to do with the pitch of the notes or the tension on the strings...just how they feel under your fingers. This is less noticeable with nylon/gut/nylgut strings than with steel.
So, on my Banjeaurines and my Piccolo, I prefer Labella 17s...where I dislike them on a regular banjo. I actually worked with Mimmo Peruffo (Nylgut owner/CEO) on a special set for my Piccolo and they worked quite well (that was years ago and I failed to document the set) but now the head is broken and I'll probably change them out when I mount a new head.
Yes, I also prefer lighter gauge strings on my banjeaurine. I have used the set from Clifford Essex: http://cliffordessex.net/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=32&...
Many thanks for all your suggestions, I may do a bit of experimentation before reaching a final decision...Steve.
For comparison, I went with "16s" on my piccolo as I found my standard 17s to be too light (as opposed to the packaged "No 17" which are really 19s).