View Full Version : Tuning to G#

Oct-20-2016, 12:24am
So my teacher mentions to me tonight that Earl tuned to G#... After my lesson I come home, hang out with the family, eat dinner, put the little one to bed, hang out with my wife. At bedtime I decide to stay up a few minutes longer than her, tune my banjo to G# for S&G's and see what happens. Either the stars have magically aligned to help me out tonight, or tuning to G# is a speed trick. There's enough extra tension on the strings it feels like I barely have to touch them to get the sound. I let my right hand go nuts just to see what happens and boom I'm way faster than just earlier today. Anyone else try this out? BEST OF ALL -- that incredibly "tinny" sound all of my old Earl recordings have, now I've got it.

That brings me to another question... Since everyone at least most of the time tunes to G, doesn't that mean the strings are designed for that tension? If so, does anyone make strings "designed" to be tuned to Gb? Seems like you'd get the extra half-step of tension but still tune to G that way, best of both worlds.

Luck? Speed trick? At least one of you guys have to try this out and report your findings.

Jim Pankey
Oct-20-2016, 9:55pm
It would depend on the string gauges you use. For instance, if you regularly used a medium set, and wanted to tune to a higher pitch, but have the same steing tension you could experiment with a lighter gauge - like maybe a 9.5 set.

However, if you're using lights, then you'd have to custom order some lighter strings...

Nov-01-2016, 4:24pm
Are you talking about the strings or the head tension being tuned to G#?

Nov-29-2016, 1:49pm
The strings. I just noticed something else too. My Sierra's 2nd string will go slightly flat doing any 2-finger maneuvers when I'm tuned to G, but tuning to G# remedies that particular issue entirely.

Dec-07-2016, 3:21pm
The problem you will have is playing with other musicians since most tune to 440. Either that or you will have to play everything a half step down.

Feb-03-2017, 3:04pm
I have read that Earl tuned to G# because that tuning was more inlined with Lester's voice. I don't know if that is true but it sounds reasonable I suppose.