What Is a Tenor Banjo?

A tenor banjo has a short neck and four strings. It was once popular in swing, ragtime, and dance club bands, but it is now most commonly heard in Dixieland jazz. This type of banjo is usually strummed with the fingers, but it can also be played with a pick, which is often an ordinary guitar pick. These banjos are typically up to 9 inches shorter than standard banjos. This banjo is known as banjo alto when played in standard tuning.

A tenor banjo sounds an octave lower than the written note than a standard banjo. Its range is one octave lower than middle C and one octave higher than middle C. A middle C on a piano is the C note in the middle of the keyboard. The tenor banjo, which was popular in Tango and other dance bands in the 1920s and 1930s, is now most commonly heard in Dixieland-style jazz, which originated in New Orleans.

Banjos come in a variety of sizes and shapes, but all have a circular, drum-like body. A banjo is a fretted instrument with four or five strings. Some banjos have six strings on rare occasions. There are four strings on the tenor banjo.

Strings on a banjo are stretched from the pegs on the instrument’s head over the neck and across the instrument’s circular body. Frets are raised metal rods on a stringed instrument that help the player keep the notes in tune. Modern banjos typically have five strings, and players typically pluck or strumming with their fingers rather than using a handheld pick.

The tenor banjo can be tuned in a variety of ways. The tenor banjo’s standard tuning is C, D, G, A, counting from the lowest to the highest string. The banjo is commonly tuned to match the fiddle in popular music, using the notes G, D, A, and E instead. The Chicago tuning, for example, compares the tenor banjo strings to the top strings on a guitar, which use the notes D, G, B, and E.

This is a banjo with a mid-ranged sound. The cello banjo and the bass banjo are two lower banjos than the tenor banjo. An octave lower is the sound of the deeper cello banjo.