Stand a plectrum banjo up against your average five-string banjo and at first glance, you might not spot the difference. Both types of instrument have almost identical construction, from the scale length and fret count all the way down to the size of the head, and the type of strings used. Quickly, however, it will become clear that on the plectrum banjo the shortened fifth string is missing.
Chicago tuning on a banjo is a tuning that is generally used on 4 string banjos and is the same four notes as the first four strings of a guitar or a baritone ukulele. This tuning is primarily used for plectrum banjos and has been for generations. Many tenor banjoists use this tuning as well, though it is better suited for the plectrum banjo due to the similar scale length a plectrum banjo and guitar have. In fact, I have seen five string banjo players use this tuning, though it is not as common.
We are asked regularly, is Bluegrass style finger picking more difficult than Clawhammer? Is Clawhammer more difficult than finger picking? Is plectrum/tenor style with a flat pick easier than Bluegrass style finger picking?
Our third installment of our Goodtime Styles videos to help you understand what type of banjo is right for you. This one talks about plectrum banjos. Find more at goodtimebanjos.com . These videos will take you through some of the most popular ways to play the different styles of Goodtime banjos.