Hi, 

the bass string on my openback nylon strung banjo sounds bad, i have tried a few and they all sound dead - all are metal wound, is there an alternative - I thought maybe flurocarbon? Has anyone tired that?

Thanks

Ritchie

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personally I have found the best string for the job to be a wound 28 from Clifford Essex, it is sharp and snappy in a nice way I guess it depends on what you like to hear but, when I bought my Weaver it came with nylgut strings on it which were ok however, the plain fourth was the weakest string  both for tone and feel and, armed with a little information from the sages here I put the above CE on and the banjo jumped to life for me ! Now I use Clifford Essex lights with a 28 wound and they are great. I guess we all have different ideas re; what sounds good, just relating my own experience with a plain fourth, others of course may have different ideas.

I use a .024w (silver on nylon) on all of my banjos, regardless of scale length. It is a period-correct size. It is light enough to provide lots of dynamics but heavy enough not to buzz. A .028w might work OK on shorter scale banjos, but on larger 28" scale instruments I'd be worried about it warping the neck. 

John, please elaborate for me, are you saying a 28 is too taught and/or heavy for the neck to take ? I need to know not, because I wish to argue but, because I dont wish to hurt my jo's

John Cohen said:

I use a .024w (silver on nylon) on all of my banjos, regardless of scale length. It is a period-correct size. It is light enough to provide lots of dynamics but heavy enough not to buzz. A .028w might work OK on shorter scale banjos, but on larger 28" scale instruments I'd be worried about it warping the neck. 

My wife Kate has used .30 LaBella silver on Nylon on her 19th century SS Stewart Universal favorite and on a Bart Reiter banjo as well, for the past 30 years with no sign of warping or any kind of damage. Both banjos are kept tuned up to pitch and often in "elevated bass", the 4th string tuned to D.  On a very delicate old instrument with very little wood to the neck I would hesitate. But otherwise? No. 



John Cohen said:

I use a .024w (silver on nylon) on all of my banjos, regardless of scale length. It is a period-correct size. It is light enough to provide lots of dynamics but heavy enough not to buzz. A .028w might work OK on shorter scale banjos, but on larger 28" scale instruments I'd be worried about it warping the neck. 

Again, it depends on the scale length.

Ah! I forgot you mentioned that.  Right. I would go lighter on a long scale banjo.

John Cohen said:

Again, it depends on the scale length.

my WL is not long scale, it is exactly 26" and the wound 28 does not feel tight at all.

Jody Stecher said:

Ah! I forgot you mentioned that.  Right. I would go lighter on a long scale banjo.

John Cohen said:

Again, it depends on the scale length.

"WL" suggests "Whyte Laydie", no?  Aren't you talking about a Weaver?   Anyway, yes, ,028 would not feel tight .

nick stephens said:

my WL is not long scale, it is exactly 26" and the wound 28 does not feel tight at all.

Jody Stecher said:

Ah! I forgot you mentioned that.  Right. I would go lighter on a long scale banjo.

John Cohen said:

Again, it depends on the scale length.

Sorry if I mislead you Jody, it is of course a Whyte Laydie I am talking about, circa 1930ish it has become my favourite banjo these last few months

Jody Stecher said:

"WL" suggests "Whyte Laydie", no?  Aren't you talking about a Weaver?   Anyway, yes, ,028 would not feel tight .

nick stephens said:

my WL is not long scale, it is exactly 26" and the wound 28 does not feel tight at all.

Jody Stecher said:

Ah! I forgot you mentioned that.  Right. I would go lighter on a long scale banjo.

John Cohen said:

Again, it depends on the scale length.

Yeah, while .028w is not my cup of tea on any banjo, it wouldn't be a problem on a 26" scale neck. 

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