- All models come in both 5 or 6 string versions
- Overall dimensions are 37" x 13 1/4" x 3 1/2".
- Scale length is 25.4"
- All models have high gloss lacquer finish on the body with hand rubbed semi-gloss varnish finish on the neck
- Steel string models have a 2 way adjustable truss rod.
- Nylon string models have a carbon fiber reinforced neck.
- All models will fit any standard 5 string resonator banjo case.
- All instruments come with a high quality padded gig bag.
- Hardshell cases are also available.
- Other features include carved fingerboard relief, all solid woods, and strap buttons upon request.
Steel String Models
The 5 string version comes strung - .011 .015 .022w .032w .011
The 6 string version has an extra bass string - .042w
Standard banjo strings can be used but they will tend to feel a bit lighter because the scale length (25.4") is a bit shorter than most banjos. Buy either ball end strings or put ball ends on loop end strings. Strings can be purchased individually or as guitar sets. Elixir and D'Addario both make sets in the gauges listed above called Custom Lights. If you use these you'll need to buy an additional high e string and discard the extras.
Nylon String Models
You can use any brand of classical guitar strings. My personal favorite is D'Addario Pro Arte - normal tension. If you buy sets you'll need to get an extra hi e and discard the bass E (6 string model) as well as the bass A (5 string model). If you want a slightly edgier sound on the trebles, Aquila makes very good quality 5 string sets for banjos. The Minstrel set is slightly heavier than the Classical set. If you can't find them at your local music store they can be purchased at www.elderly.com
Five string banjolas can be tuned to any of the common 5 string banjo tunings.
The most common tuning for the 6 string banjola is in key of C: g·GCgcd
A few other interesting tunings:
Key of F: g·FCgcd
Key of G: g·GDgbd
Key of E minor: leave banjola in C tuning and capo bottom 5 strings at the 4th fret.
Holding a Banjola
The body of a banjola is much lighter than most banjos. As a result it balances differently. Some people like to use a strap, even when sitting down. Strap buttons can be installed at the butt end of the instrument and the at the side of the neck heel in the same fashion as a guitar.
A very comfortable alternative to a strap is to use a neckup support. The 2" mini version works best. www.neckup.com
Guitar pickups work well on banjolas. My preference for steel string models is the K&K Pure Mini and for nylon string models the K&K Pure Classic. www.kksound.com