Folks who think of purchasing a banjo often have the question that how many strings there are on a banjo. Different types of banjos include a different number of strings. Here we have taken a Deering banjo for example.
What is the short string on a banjo called?
Five-string banjos are referred to as the original banjos & they were invented In the early 1800s approximately. 5 string banjos are virtually used for any kind of music that is there in the world & are used prominently in Irish, jazz, folk, country bluegrass, etc & many other categories of new indie music that is currently becoming very popular.
The short 5th string is what is capable of making the Banjo unique. This 5th string is also referred to as the drone string or thumb string. Because the early technique of the clawhammer banjo involved the picking of the fifth string with the thumb. It also created a syncopated sound which is associated with a Banjo.
The 5thstring begins precisely at the 5th fret that is on the fingerboard. You will also find a tuning peg which is mounted right at the neck’s side. While it may look like it will interfere with the playing, players get accustomed to moving the thumb of them out of their way & currently the 5th peg stands as a beautiful part of the aesthetic of the five-string Banjo.
The banjos with five strings are usually played in fingerstyle & clawhammer style. Many rocks or pop and folk players perform beautiful works of music with Flatpicking techniques. For example, there is this young player in one band named “Trampled by Turtles”. He uses an approach of jazz guitar for holding the flat pick& using the other fingers of him for both flat pickings&creating a sound of finger pick. With this technique, he creates wonderful effects.
The five-string banjos can also be seen available in the style of the long neck that includes 25 frets &almost a scale length of 32 inches. The standard banjos of five strings have 22 Frets & a scale length of 26 ¼ inch &are turned generally to open G chords.
The credit for the invention of this kind of banjo goes to the late musician, Pete Seeger. He wished for a banjo that would be able to support his baritone voice of him. He liked to sing in the E key a lot. The long-neck banjo’s open chord tuning tries pitching the instrument in E in place of the standard G-neck key. The long neck deep sounding Banjo gained huge popularity among the Kingston Trip &many other folk bands which followed.
Apart from this 5-string Banjo, there are other variations like four or six-string Banjos, Banjo ukuleles, four-string plectrum banjos, etc. If you wish to buy one, carefully choose the one that matches your preferences.
I own a music instruments shop. My go to instrument is a banjo. My business makes it easier for me to access the instruments from various brands and of various types. I will give my honest opinion here to help out others in choosing the right instrument for them.