Another reader writes:
Hi Paul....nice to read your article about the Deering D6 you brought back into use. I'm a D6 user (heavy, aren't they?) and wondered if you've ever tried the approach I use - after initial playing of the thing with standard strings, I finally altered mine to run on Nasville stringing, ie the octave side of a 12 string guitar. This brings the instrument to life, for me, tonally, since the basic fundamentals are higher and easier to tune in to a banjo head. A PB Nashville string set with a renaissance head gives glorious harp-like tones and means the instrument can be fingerpicked or flat-picked, the latter giving useful plectrum style sounds. Great instruments when set up properly. Stay well....
Thanks for getting in touch. You're the third person who recommended using Nashville tuning on the thing, and I understand its value. However, I REALLY enjoy fingerpicking it and using those gutsy low strings to play the bass part.
I also play 5-string, so when I need something with a lighter sound, those are available. Lately, in fact, I've been experimenting with playing songs I usually play in D or A on guitar on a 5-string with the 5th string tuned up a step. Frankly, it's so simple, I don't know why everybody doesn't do it.
I've been working a nice 5-string version of the Moody Blue's "Question of Balance." It is JUST the right tempo for a 5-string banjo roll.
I have also acquired a Deering Sierra 5-string of the same general design as the 6-string (same resonator, tone ring, resonator flange, etc., and it is JUST as heavy. I'm wondering of one of those metal shoulder harness things that marching band drummers use would work.
Have a great week!