Does anyone have recommendations for cello banjo strings?  The cello in need of strings has an 18'' rim and a 29'' scale, 14 fret fingerboard.  Maybe some kind of harp strings would work?

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Since the standard Banjo string sets usually (but not always) have the 1st and 5th of the same diameter, I would guess "yes".

When I use Guitar sets, I do just that: I buy an extra high E for the 5th string.

Hello

I am a newby to this forum... Two comments or questions

finding strings for a cellobanjo; I have recently re-strung a small "mediaeval" harp; on a recommendation from a professional "early harpist" I used strings supplied by "Aquilacorde" in Italy, variety "sugar" (made from a byproduct of sugar cane refining!), feel like nylon, a very wide variety of diameters, and available in medium and some longer lengths, at a very moderate price.

Second item; I am in the UK (Scotland) and I usually finish up playing accompaniments (on bass, bouzouki, etc to Scottish & other folk musics) ; I have been offered a "Clifford Essex" cello-banjo, c 100 years old, basic model (14" rim 27" scale), goodish condition for around £500 - any thoughts on this? Stringing it for maximum volume and durability - I have seen recommendations for flatwound custom strings, as lasting well, giving a good sound (no finger noise) etc; I would use the same gauge as light "mandocello" strings - any thoughts?

Peter Verity

Edinburgh Scotland

About the second item: Flatwound strings for plucked instruments do last a long time. They sound the same 5 or even 10  years later as when new. But these sound dead right out of the package. So you get a lifetime of Deadness. This has advantages for some electric guitars for some kinds of music. There are probably acoustic music applications for dead as well.

  

Other thoughts: metal strings might destroy the instrument. It depends on how it is built.  

Gauge of what ever strings you settle on  will depend on your intended tuning.  

27 inches is pretty short for a low tuned instrument of single courses.

Is this a five-string or four-string  banjo? 

Do you intend to play it with fingers or with a plectrum?  What strings to use will depend to some extent on the answer.

I hope some of this helps.



Peter Arundel Verity (aka pav) said:

Hello

I am a newby to this forum... Two comments or questions

finding strings for a cellobanjo; I have recently re-strung a small "mediaeval" harp; on a recommendation from a professional "early harpist" I used strings supplied by "Aquilacorde" in Italy, variety "sugar" (made from a byproduct of sugar cane refining!), feel like nylon, a very wide variety of diameters, and available in medium and some longer lengths, at a very moderate price.

Second item; I am in the UK (Scotland) and I usually finish up playing accompaniments (on bass, bouzouki, etc to Scottish & other folk musics) ; I have been offered a "Clifford Essex" cello-banjo, c 100 years old, basic model (14" rim 27" scale), goodish condition for around £500 - any thoughts on this? Stringing it for maximum volume and durability - I have seen recommendations for flatwound custom strings, as lasting well, giving a good sound (no finger noise) etc; I would use the same gauge as light "mandocello" strings - any thoughts?

Peter Verity

Edinburgh Scotland

A friend of mine had some original Clifford Essex Cello banjo strings in their original packets. some years ago. In the days when these strings were manufactured the string gauges were not indicated on the packets as they are nowadays. I took a look at these strings and they were all metal, all wound and I thought, surprisingly light considering the instrument and its long scale length. I've no idea what the gauges were and the strings will be long gone, so an opportunity to throw light on this mystery is now lost and gone, probably for ever, unless some more unopened packets of these fabled strings remain to be discovered in the case of some sleeping Cello Banjo.

well, oddly enough, Clifford Essex STILL sell cello-banjo strings /024 - 054 thou, which is the equivalent of very light mandocello, I think...

"

CLIFFORD ESSEX MUSIC CO. LTD

The Home of the Banjo, Mandolin, Guitar and Kindred Instruments

Cello/Bass Banjo 4 String

Phosphor or Nickel Strings With A Plain Steel hex Core.

1st .024" Phosphor Bronze or Nickel Round Wound Loop or Ball-End.

2nd .036" Phosphor Bronze or Nickel Round Wound Loop or Ball-End.

3rd .046" Phosphor Bronze or Nickel Round Wound Loop or Ball-End.

4th .054" Phosphor Bronze or Nickel Round Wound Loop or Ball-End."

"

I have an unused set of Clifford Essex Cello banjo strings which didn't really work.  I currently use harp strings for the upper three strings, and I seem to remember choosing a nickel wound cello string for the bass C.  I spent quite some time in a music shop looking at suitable strings.

However, the answer is to buy strings from Gold Tone.  I think they have to ordered from USA as no-one else seems to stock them in UK (I might be wrong, but I have tried, beleive me)

Gold Tone strings are silver wound nylon, .04p, .03, .042, and .048, which might make sense to somebody.  Their catalogue number is CES4.

One might expect that one of the few fingerstyle cello banjoists about that I might be a fund of information on this.  I am sorry to say that cello banjos are idiosyncratic things, and I suspect that one size won't fit all, and I have experimented to see hoew I might achieve the best.  Of one thing I am sure, there is room for improvement, depending on what you want it for.  I use a plectrum, although I could play with fingers, it woudn't have quite the percussive sound need to penetrate.  One cannot afford a string which is too lax in order to produce a very low note, whereas a tighter string will not necessarily produce a low note of sufficient sonority.

Gold Tone it is then I think.

If the Gold Tone strings work there's no need to pay shipping cost and import duty,  There are two options, The UK distributer is 

If getting in touch with them does not produce results there is an alternative.

Just buy locally available classical guitar strings of the same gauge . Speaking of gauges here is the decoder ring:

p seems to stand for plain, that is to say unwound. The gauges given on the package are

.040, .034w, .042w, .048w

Anthony Peabody said:

I have an unused set of Clifford Essex Cello banjo strings which didn't really work.  I currently use harp strings for the upper three strings, and I seem to remember choosing a nickel wound cello string for the bass C.  I spent quite some time in a music shop looking at suitable strings.

However, the answer is to buy strings from Gold Tone.  I think they have to ordered from USA as no-one else seems to stock them in UK (I might be wrong, but I have tried, beleive me)

Gold Tone strings are silver wound nylon, .04p, .03, .042, and .048, which might make sense to somebody.  Their catalogue number is CES4.

One might expect that one of the few fingerstyle cello banjoists about that I might be a fund of information on this.  I am sorry to say that cello banjos are idiosyncratic things, and I suspect that one size won't fit all, and I have experimented to see hoew I might achieve the best.  Of one thing I am sure, there is room for improvement, depending on what you want it for.  I use a plectrum, although I could play with fingers, it woudn't have quite the percussive sound need to penetrate.  One cannot afford a string which is too lax in order to produce a very low note, whereas a tighter string will not necessarily produce a low note of sufficient sonority.

Gold Tone it is then I think.

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