Tuning stringed instruments for the visually impaired

This page was created for people with sight loss, if you find this helpful or wish to add comments please feel free and I will do my best to accommodate you.
Man with pony tail sat leaning against a table in a library setting used by local musicians to share performances with each other.
My open back banjo

5 String Banjo

Tuning a banjo can be difficult when you have diminished sight or are blind. The following 5 audio samples will play the sounds of a banjo from string 1 through to string 5

Each file has a verbal description of which string is to be played and the 40 seconds of playing to allow time to tune up.

String 1 is the string that is closest to the ground when you sit holding the banjo in the normal playing position.

String 5 is the short string – closest to your face when you sit holding the banjo in the normal playing position.

String 1 D
String 2 B
String 3 G
String 4 D
String 5 Hi G

The Banjo should be set up correctly before playing by either the music shop or someone familiar with setting up a banjo. Two things that may require attention are:-

  • The action.
    • This is the term used for the playability of the banjo most importantly the height that the strings sit above the the banjo,
  • The Intonation.
    • The banjo has a moveable bridge and this must be set at the correct distance from the nut which is the piece of bone or plastic at the neck end where the tuners also called pegs are.

The tension of the banjo head may require adjusting and this is done by adjusting the tension hooks. If any of these are outside of your skill set then take the banjo to a professional repairman.

Picture of a young man sat on the edge of a chair in a room with the sunlight streaming through the window, he is wearing a baseball cap and is holding an orange jazz style guitar, he is half blinking as his picture is taken.
Man with guitar

6 String Guitar

A standard acoustic guitar has a wide range. The open tuning is E2 A2 D3 G3 B3 E4
where C4 is middle C on a piano

Guitar String 1 E
Guitar String 2 B
Guitar String 3 G
Guitar String 4 D
Guitar String 5 A
Guitar String 6 E
This picture is a close up image of a ukulele showing the string and sound hole.
Ukulele close up

4 String Ukulele

The open tuning for a standard soprano, concert and tenor ukulele is G4 C4 E4 E4
A standard ukulele is tuned to gCEA the little g lets you know that it is a hi g. This tuning is sometimes referred to as re-entrant tuning.
The hi g is G4 on the piano which is the G above middle C.

If the ukulele has a low g then it will have a thicker string and be tuned to the g below middle C on a piano. This is sometimes referred to as linear tuning.
I have added a low g to the end of the tuning.

Ukulele String 1 A
Ukulele String 2 E
Ukulele String 3 C
Ukulele String 4 Hi G

The next tuning is for a low G found on some linear tuned Ukuleles

Ukulele String 4 Low G

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