How to transpose from guitar to banjo?
May 17, 2009 7:08 AM   Subscribe

How do I transpose guitar sheet music, not tabs, into banjo sheet music?
posted by shesaysgo to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If you're not talking about tabs, wouldn't the sheet music be identical?
posted by dan g. at 7:31 AM on May 17, 2009

super simple version... up a minor 6th. So the low E becomes a low C, F becomes D, F# - D# and so on.

Buuuut, the banjo is tuned in 5ths. Without knowing anything about the music, what may work as a guitar fingering may not work well or at all as a banjo fingering.
posted by sundri at 7:42 AM on May 17, 2009

Following up with dan g.'s question, could you post an example of what you would like to transpose?
posted by monkeymadness at 7:43 AM on May 17, 2009

music would be great to look at...

and the previous post should read the banjo is frequently tuned in 5ths, i realize there are many different tunings and banjos.
posted by sundri at 7:48 AM on May 17, 2009

If you can find the song you want on chordie, there is a little doodad on the right that lets you transpose and switch to different instruments if you need fingering charts for something.

Also, is invaluable for transposing songs.
posted by bink at 8:23 AM on May 17, 2009

5-string banjos are not tuned in fifths. 4-string tenors sometimes are.
posted by scruss at 8:55 AM on May 17, 2009

5-string banjos can be tuned in fifths but rarely are. In fact, I've never seen it happen (maybe you're thinking of a mandolin).

In fact, few standard banjo tunings use a common interval across strings, even leaving aside the 5th (high drone) string. Standard G, for instance, tunes at intervals of (starting at the 4th string and moving up) 4th, major 3rd, minor 3rd.

It is possible to tune a banjo to match the highest four on a guitar -- so, gDGBE. Leave the 5th string alone and you can use the same chord shapes as on a guitar. But what about the lowest two strings, and what about the 5th string?

In other words, good luck. It's a tough translation, probably best made by the human ear.
posted by argybarg at 10:28 AM on May 17, 2009

In general I think you need to re-arrange the music, not just transpose it. Between the difference in strings and tuning you probably need a completely original approach to playing a composition written for the guitar on the banjo.
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 12:20 PM on May 17, 2009

Could you clarify what you're trying to do? Guitar is notated an octave higher than it sounds, but so is banjo music. The only thing you'd need to transpose would be the notes on a guitar below the banjo's range. If you're talking about trying to arrange a guitar piece for banjo that's a different story though.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:17 PM on May 17, 2009

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