Cello Banjo

A New Way to Look at an Old Idea 

Here are a few links for the Cello Banjo :

Gold Tone Banjo

Marky Marxer and Cathy Fink  

Banjohangout has two threads that are full of information Here and Here. 

BanjoCrazy.com is a web site from Paul Roberts.  Paul has a special affinity for cello banjos.

This is my critique of the Gold Tone CEB-4 Marcy Marxer Cello Banjo

Here is the second part of the critique.

The Third Part of the critique

 The Fourth Part of the Critique

The Fifth Part of the Critique

O'Carolan Medley on the Cello Banjo

Here are a few tips:

Wayne Rogers of Gold Tone told me that there will be special purpose made strings for this banjo in the near future. I will keep you updated as this progresses.

 UPDATE:  Gold Tone now has a set made for the CEB-4 for sale.  In addition there is a gig bag made for the cello banjo.  I will report on them later.

I found that several types of picks are useful with this banjo. Currently I am using a nylon 3 mm Big Stubbie but the standard 3 mm Big Stubbie works fine as does a host of other picks from 1 mm to 5 mm. You should try them all to see which ones you like the best. I use a 5 mm pick for songs and bass backup.

I have been so wrong about the picks!  Marcy Marxer has been telling me for two months to try the thinner picks and after hearing my banjo played with both sizes, it is obvious that the thinner picks (in this case Clayton Ultem picks) make the banjo sound much better.

UPDATE:  My favorite pick right now is the Dava Control Pick which I am finding has all the qualities I need to produce a good sound from my cello banjo.

The Gold Tone Cello banjo does not need a lot of left hand finger pressure in the classical string mode.  I fight the tendency to push down on the strings all the time and have to remind myself not to be so aggressive.  If you use a light pressure on this instrument it will respond well and you will be able to make music more smoothly while retaining the sound you want.

New Tuning possibilities

Paul Roberts has begun to tune his CEB-4 in what he calls "Double Octave Tuning" or G,D,A,E, two octaves below a mandolin.  He uses the same string gages that came with the banjo and I have found that the Gold tone set (you can write Paul at Banjocrazy and get them) seems to work best so far.  

Here I am playing Dever the Dancer in this tuning: