The six-string banjo is constructed like a traditional five-string banjo with an acoustic guitar neck. Also known as the banjitar or guitjo, the six-string banjo is a favorite among guitar players aiming to achieve a banjo tone without having to learn the instrument.
The strings of a six-string banjo are tuned exactly like an acoustic guitar's strings, starting with the low E, A, D, G, B, and high E strings. A handful of string-makers manufacture strings specially made for the six-string banjo, although some acoustic guitar strings also work well on the instrument.
GHS stainless steel six-string banjo strings are among the most popular strings for six-string players. These strings are manufactured extra-long to fit any size instrument and feature loop ends that can fit most banjo tailpieces. Additionally, the GHS lock-twist system prevents strings from going out of tune.
Gold Tone strings are another frequent choice of six-string banjo players. These silver-wound strings feature a custom gauge (string weight) and also feature loop ends that easily fit over most banjo tailpieces.
Elixir acoustic guitar strings are another option for six-string banjo players. Although the company makes a variety of gauges and coatings for its guitar strings, Elixir strings feature similar tone to banjo strings and have a longer playing life than other strings.
The strings of a 6-string banjo should be cared for well to help prolong their life. Wiping them down with a clean cloth after playing, applying string lubricant, washing hands prior to playing, and careful installation are all things you can do to give your banjo strings a long life.
Lee Simmons has 10 years of reporting experience covering a variety of issues for publications in South Carolina, California, and Texas. He also covered music industry issues for Soundcheck magazine and Bizmology.com, among others. Simmons earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas. He lives in Austin.