How to String a Banjo

As every banjo player knows, there comes a time when you need to take out the damaged banjo strings and replace them with new ones. If you don’t, your banjo’s sound will be severely compromised, constantly going out of tune and having a poor sound quality. 

So, if you’re wondering how to do just that, all you have to do is follow the steps below, and you’ll give new life to your instrument in a matter of seconds. 

Step by Step Tutorial on How to String Banjos

Before you get started, you should first know when you actually need to replace the strings. Basically, strings should always feel smooth. Once they stop feeling like that, it’s only a matter of time till you get your first string breakage, and God knows how this is when it happens mid-performance. 

So, if you run your fingers on the strings and they end up feeling grubby or rough, then they’re definitely due for a change. The same can be said if they frequently go out of tune and volume and sustain. So, now that we’ve established this, let’s take a look at how to restring a banjo. 

Step 1: Take Out the Old Strings 

Get your five-string banjo or four-string banjo and start by slacking off the first string, unwinding it from the tuner peg, and taking it out from the tailpiece.

Then, do the same for the rest of the banjo strings. Of course, if you’ve just purchased your banjo online and it came completely unstrung, you’ll be skipping this step. 

Step 2: Attach the String to the Tailpiece

Thread the new string under then over its appropriate slot on the tailpiece. Then, make a loop and fit it over the hook at the end of the tailpiece.

If the loop you made isn’t wide enough, then simply get a pencil and insert it until the loop fits over the hook. Remember to pull the string a bit to make sure it remains attached to the tailpiece.

Step 3: Insert the String through the Tuning Pegs

Pull the string over the bridge and across the banjo’s neck till you reach the hole in the correct tuner peg. Thread the string through the hole and pull it until just a little slack remains between the tuning peg and the bridge.

Then, wrap the string around the peg in a counterclockwise direction, move it over the string coming from the bridge and finally move it back under and knot it off. Proceed to pull the string a bit until the knot is tight around the tuner peg, and voila, you’ve got a shiny new string.

Note: Most folks tend to over-tighten the strings. However, that usually results in them breaking during tuning. So, remember not to pull any string too tight, or you’ll regret it.

Step 4: Position the Bridge

We’ve finally come to the last step, which is repositioning the bridge. You’ll notice that the bridge may have moved or come off when you removed the strings. Now, it’s finally time to put it in its right position.

Basically, the distance between the bridge and the 12th fret should be equal to the distance between the 12th fret of the nut. So, position the bridge as such.

If you start playing later and you notice that the notes’ tone isn’t quite right, then simply move the bridge away from the banjo’s neck to make the notes flatter and towards it to make them sharper.

Step 5: Tune the Strings

Once you’ve strung all the strings, start tuning them by using a pitch pipe or an electronic tuner. Most banjos are tuned as such: D-B-G-D-G, with the last two strings being an octave higher than their counterparts.

Make sure to get the tuning right, or else your banjo playing will be severely compromised, but that’s basically it!!! All you have to do now is start playing your banjo.