Finally buying a Carver


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    Been wanting to get one for years, convinced myself to get one now that I am finishing up school.

    Problem. Which one do I get? And what tuning should it be? Play Keys and Brass and Irish trad Tenor banjo and 5-string with a hodge-podge half finger-picking / half clawhammer style that i use to play everything out of Fake books… I’m completely self-taught and don’t know the first thing about strings.

    Love the cello banjo, but I think I want a dedicated minstrel, fretless, 10″inch to learn real old-timey banjo. So confused by tuning, though. I think I am reading in the forums that these 10″ play best in standard gDGBD tuning, but down in E (eBEG#B), is that right? But I could tune it to standard G tuning with “Nylgut” strings? Or would that only work for the Gourd banjo? Are there any specific brands or styles that would work best to accomplish this?

    I would really like to stick with G so i could more easily play with other people, but I don’t want to hinder the sound of the banjo.

    Sorry for the long post. Does anyone have any recommendations?

    Carver Banjos

    Hi Kirby, welcome to the forum!
    If you are looking at the 10” full scale minstrel model here are my recommendations:
    Option 1: use the provided strings and use the high set to tune to E.
    Option 2: use the provided strings and use the low set to tune to low A (almost a full octave below standard G. If you go all the way to low G the strings are going to be maxed out and they won’t intonate very well).
    Option 3: purchase a set of banjo nylgut, gut, or nylon strings that are intended for G tuning and tune to standard G.

    My provided string set allows you to choose from a wide range of tunings, but to get up to standard G they don’t quite allow it or want to hold tuning. I make the sets from classical guitar nylon sets. I discuss this in a previous thread about strings here on the forum.
    Hope that helps out and hope to make a kit for you.


    Thanks, Brian. I ended up ordering the original Minstrel, 12″ kit with the scroll late last week. I love the mellow tone and the ability to play it in cello banjo tunjng.

    I dug through the forum to try to learn about what strings I may want to get, but I quickly got lost talking about widths and wound strings and wasn’t sure if they applied to the tuning I was looking for.

    So I dug back in the forum and think I found a string set that would work. I am sure you don’t want to rep any certain brand of strings, but would something like the Aquila AQ-5B strings fit the bill? It is nylgut and lists the tuning I am looking for.
    I am very new to strings, so I really appreciate the help!

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    Anyone else thinking about tuning to gDGBD tuning so they can play easier with other people, I put the Aquila 5B banjo nylon strings and they seem to be holding beautifully. It took me like 6 tunings before they started to hold pitch, and then another day or two before they really settled in.

    I will need to record myself playing a tune (after I get used to playing a fretless) and posting it here. Side note, loving the fretless!

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