Things to Say When Tuning a Banjo

By Wayne Erbsen

Banjo PlayerDid you hear about the guitarist that was so far out of tune that the banjo player noticed?

Q: What does a banjo sound like when it’s completely in-tune?
A: No one knows.

You can tune a banjo, but you can’t tuna fish.

It was in tune when I bought it.

Q: How can you tell if a banjo player is sitting in a level spot?
A: The drool drips out of both sides of his mouth.

I can’t remember – do I have to have the pegs in line with the strings or at right angles?

Q: How do you get 5 banjos in tune with each other?
A: Burn 4.

Do you know the difference between a bluegrass band and a rock band? A rock band plays all night without tuning…….and a bluegrass band tunes all night without playing.

If I ever get this thing in tune I’m gonna have it welded.

Q: If you drop a banjo player and a mandolin player off of a tall building – who hits first?
A: The mandolin player – the banjo player has to stop to tune.

Banjo Player: A person that spends half of his time tuning and the other half playing out of tune.

My banjo’s so far out of tune I may have to send it back to the factory.

I’d like to play you a traditional Chinese folk song I learned many years ago. It’s called “Too-Ning.”

Q: What’s the difference between a chainsaw and a banjo?
A: You can tune a chainsaw.

A guy once tried to sell me a banjo and used as a selling point the fact that he just had it tuned.

Remember, if you play out of tune, it sounds like there’s more of you!

While using a clip-on tuner: Hang on, I’m just checking on the football score.

What’s the difference between an onion and a banjo? Nobody cries if you cut up a banjo.

If I ever get this thing in tune I’m gonna join a better band!

Hey, tune that thing! It’s startin’ to sound like jazz.

Sorry, I can’t tune up…….I forgot my hammer!

Not even Earl can tune like that!!!

We’ll be back in a couple of hours folks, when the banjo player tunes up.

I use a capo so I can play out of tune in any key.

Q: What’s the difference between a 1957 Chevy and a 5-string banjo?
A: You can tune a Chevy!

I don’t know what’s wrong with this banjo, it was in tune when I bought it!

Banjo tuning is an oxymoron.

What’s this “tuning up” thing everyone’s talking about?

Ladies and gentlemen, my banjo is tremendously affected by atmospheric pressure. Please hold your breath for the duration of the show.

I’m going to take a few minutes to tune up. It’s not for me – I’m tone deaf, but there might be some musicians in the house that I hate to offend.

I have the incredible talent for singling out the one string that’s out of tune and tuning the other 5 to it.

We tune because we care!

A Yankee asked an old mountaineer how long he’d been playing the banjo. The answer: “65 year tuning and 5 year playin’.”

I suffered for my music…now it’s your turn!

Somebody put one of my strings out of tune and won’t tell me which one.

My strings are still adjusting to the time zone.

Let’s take a vote…who thinks it’s in tune?

Tuning is like aircraft maintenance … it’s worth waiting for.

My wife says I spend half my time tuning and half my time playing out of tune.

That’s the last time I’m buying strings from Chef Boyardee!

I just washed my ears and I can’t do a thing with them.

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Wayne Erbsen has been teaching banjo, fiddle, guitar, and mandolin since dinosaurs roamed the earth (really, about 50 years). Originally from California, he now makes his home in Asheville, North Carolina. He has written more than 30 songbooks and instruction books for banjo, fiddle, guitar, and mandolin.

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