There is a general consensus among experts that banjo tuning is not an easy task at all. This is because there are different genres of music in which a banjo can be played and the tuning is likely to vary from one genre to another or from one song to another.
Banjo tuning is typically done by turning a peg that is connected to the four or five or six strings of the instrument. When that peg is turned the strings are either tightened or loosened, which gives rise to different sounds.
There are different methods of banjo tuning. If you are familiar with playing the keyboard, this may be the easier way for you. All you have to do is to make sure each string is producing a sound similar to the notes you play on the keyboard. First play a note then pluck the banjo string. A guitar can also be used in the same way, i.e. matching the strings of the banjo with the guitar notes.
Banjo tuning can also be done using an electronic device that makes it even easier and more accurate because it will indicate when you are out of tune. A third option is to do it online – there are websites that offer this. You can also tune the banjo to it, although this may prove to be very tricky especially if you do not have a good ear for music. Most experts recommend, however, that an electronic tuner would give you the best results.
There are different types of banjo tuning. For the five-stringed banjo, there is standard G tuning, G modal tuning, standard C tuning, and D tuning. The G tuning forms a kind of platform for the rest with the following progression from the 1st string to the fifth one: D-B-G-D-G. In the G modal tuning, the second string is re-tuned to a different pitch while in the standard C tuning the fourth string is the one re-tuned. In D tuning, the last string is re-tuned to a different pitch.
The typical position of banjo tuning is much like that of a guitar – the strings are plucked with the right hand while the left hand turns the tuning knob or peg. Be careful, though, with the bridge since it is moveable and this can disrupt the tuning process.
Finally, banjo tuning is something that depends a lot on the individual player and what kind of songs one wants to play. You may tune it to sound the way you want but someone else may be of the opinion that it does not sound good. Furthermore, it is recommended that tuning should be done before each performance just to ensure it has not been affected by temperature or humidity. However, the good news is that you can get audiovisual aid in banjo tuning from the various internet sites that show you exactly how it's done. From diagrams, to video recordings, to step by step instructions – the choice is definitely yours!