Can't enter a note above 0 fret on 4th (C3) string on Tenor Banjo Tab

• May 14, 2022 - 12:13

Like it says on the tin.

I am trying to write some practice studies for my students. For some reason I cannot enter the F note on the 4th string. in fact, I can't enter any note except for the open string. I can enter any note on any other string. But not on the 4th (C String.)

I have no idea what i did. I had to custom the tuning because Musescore only offers 5 string tuning. Which is nice. But I have to edit every time when creating Tenor tab and select each string pitch. I'm not sure if i did something there. I made sure each string had 24 frets.

Tried to attach the .mscz file but website wouldn't let me?


In reply to by bobjp

FYI I did that last night. I also tried the drag & drop method. All that happened was the loading symbol appeared for a second, and then nothing.
But today in my reply, just to be sure, i did the exact same thing, and it worked. It's attached to your reply, but here it is again.
I have no idea why it did not work last night. Maybe cookies? I don't know. But from my end, it's now saying it's attached.

So you'll see the issue. The 4th line/string, bottom line, should be C4 at 0, with 1 being C#, 2 being D etc. But it will not allow an entry above 0. Only C is available on this string. You will also note I double, triple and quadruple checked I had selected "24 frets" for each string. But it won't allow a note above 0 on this string. Other strings are fine.

This cannot be a hold-over from the 5 string, as I had deleted the 5th string (which is a re-entry string, so not lower than the 4th but actually higher than the 1st,) and this string is not an open drone string. It is completely frettable even though it begins on the 5th fret. So I have NO IDEA what the hell is going on.

Attachment Size
Beginnings High Low TENOR 1.mscz 18.16 KB

In reply to by bobjp

Hi bobjp,

There is no Irish tenor in the instrument list. There's options only for 4 or 5 strings. If you choose 4 it gives you the 4 strings of a 5-String (bluegrass, finger style) banjo, but the tuning is the same. You have to go in to stave preferences, delete the 5th string (that doesn't show up on the stave if you chose a 4 string banjo,) and you actually have to manually add the tuning.

The tuning is, from top of the stave to the bottom:

1st String = A4
2nd = D4
3rd = G3
4th = C3 (Edit! I accidentally put C4. It is C3. There is no re-entry tuning on 4 string tenor. This is also standard Tenor, not Irish,)

Only the 4th won't allow any numerical entry, Only open C4 note.


So, yeah, it's in the file you will see,

Attachment Size
Beginnings High Low TENOR 1.mscz 18.16 KB

In reply to by bobjp

Yes, but there is no "Irish tenor" in the instrument list. I have a gig, and when i get back I'll send you a screen shot of what is available. There is NO entry for Irish Tenor. Only 5 String or 4 string, and for each of these, only 5 string tuning is offered. You have to actually edit the notes yourself.

In reply to by Banjonica

In your file in measure 9 the low note in the piano is C4. Yet in your banjo part, it is a C3. I think part of the problem may be working from a piano part.

Forget the Irish banjo. I made a file from tenor banjo and regular banjo tab. I think you mean to have the 4th string be C3 or it won't work.

Attachment Size
test banjo.mscz 11.49 KB

You wrote:
I can enter any note on any other string. But not on the 4th (C String.)

That's because you have the 4th string 'Open' box checked in the String Data dialog (tuning). Uncheck the box.

In reply to by bobjp

Ahhah!!!! That was it! Thanks so much!

Back tracking what I did, to answer the questions as to "why did you do that??" --
When I deleted the 5th string, it defaulted that setting to the C string. I didn't even think to check it, because there are no drone strings on a banjo. But many people that don't play or understand banjo assume there is. But there are none. The 5th string is fretted. You can use it as a drone, pedaling a G or even using it melodically for a G, but you can fret it, and I do as a matter of routine. Makes some great chord extensions, and economic melody playing, which was its original design intention. So I did not even think to look there. It just didn't cross my mind. As a banjo player, why would you? I looked every where else for the problem, and not the most obvious place.

What an idiot! Sorry.

In reference to other advice and inquiries:

The treble clef and tab are separate. So you can have a treble clef melody and an instrumental tab in harmony to the notation, they are not dependent. This is a good way to check your accuracy to, if you play the two against each other and the notes clash, or vice versa, if they harmonize.

Regarding C4 in notation versus Tab, this is a rough draft of a work in progress I am putting together for a little study piece for some beginners, so when i present it it'll be all cross checked and so on for accuracy and ease of reading, but thanks for pointing that out.

Thanks every body. I tried the open string box unchecking, and it worked.

In reply to by Banjonica

Great news. Glad you got it fixed.
I have no idea what the the unfingered check box is. Of course banjos don't have a drone. We have a banjo in the house. Though no one plays it. I had thought that writing for a fretted instrument, that you would write out the part in notation for that instrument. Then copy it to the tab staff. That's what I've done for guitar.

In reply to by bobjp

I imagine you'd have the "unfingered" option for instruments with sympathetic drone strings like certain lutes or a Chaturangi or Moheen Veena type Indian Sitar/Guitar hybrid thingy, or some such. But yeah, I totally overlooked it for Banjo!

I found that I have to enter the notes in Treble (or bass etc) clef in notation, but enter tab separately. For some reason it never translated directly, and gave my better options when entering separately, particularly with 5 String Aarpa style technique, in selecting better notes when recurrent notes were available. I've never really looked into doing it another way, as with 5 string finger style, because of roll patterns, I'm pretty particular about my exact fingering. However, I tend to only write my personal stuff in notation, not tab, and reserve tab for students, so they can learn positioning and fingering etc.

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