How to Change Strings on a Split Key Tenor Banjo

A split key tenor banjo is a four string banjo with either a 19 or 17 fret finger board. A tenor banjo typically has a smaller neck and is most commonly used by jazz musicians. It's played pectrum, meaning with a pick, in a strumming fashion to make the strings resonate long and loud. As a result of pick play, the strings stretch out and wear quickly, requiring frequent replacement. Fortunately, changing the strings on a split key tenor banjo is just as straightforward as changing them on any other banjo guitar.

Things You'll Need

  • String or wire cutters


    • 1

      Turn the tuning pegs clockwise to loosen string tension. Pull the string out of the tuning key post, unhook the string loop from the bridge, found at the bottom of the banjo, and pull the string off the instrument.

    • 2

      Thread the straight end of the new string through the bottom hole of the bridge. Hook the looped end onto the bridge string hook. Hold the loop in place and pull the string tight up towards the tuning pegs.

    • 3

      Thread the straight end of the string through the hole in the tuning key post. Pull the string semi-tight, wrap the loose end around the tightened end and up through the loop to secure the string to the tuning key post.

    • 4

      Wind the tuning peg counterclockwise to tighten the string. Repeat this process for all remaining strings.

    • 5

      Cut excess string with a pair of wire cutters as close to the tuning key post as possible.

Tips & Warnings

  • Change your strings when you notice an audible degradation in the instrument's sound.
  • Change your strings when they begin to hurt your fingers to play.
  • Clean the finger board and the body thoroughly with the strings off if the instrument is dirty.
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  • Photo Credit Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

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