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How to retune Irish tenor banjo to ADad open tuning?
Note you do not need to change the strings to switch between the "normal" and ADad tuning.
The original tuning of your Irish tenor banjo is GDae from bass to treble. If you strum the strings without pressing them by left hand fingers, you do not hear the simple major or minor chord. On the contrary the Patek style uses the „open“ tuning, in which you hear the chord when you do not press the strings with your left hand. The left hand can then more easily articulate the grace notes (slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs, bends).
Most frequently used tuning for Patek style is DGdg from bass to treble, but it is derived from dixieland CGda tuning. In case of Irish tenor banjo the optimal open tuning is ADad. This tuning can be obtained from the original one in two easy steps:
You can check the proper tuning by the harmonics (chimes):
- Raise the fourth (thickest) string from G to A – now the next higher string is matched on the fifth fret instead of the seventh one.
- Lower the first (thinnest) string from e to d – it equals now to the next lower string pressed on the fifth fret instead of the seventh one.
- The chime on the 5th fret of A string equals to the chime on the 7th fret of D string and the chime on the 12th fret of a string.
- The chime on 5th fret of a string equals to the chime on 7th fret of d string.
- Also the chime on 12th fret of A string equals to open a string.
- Finally the chime on 12th fret of D string equals to open d string.