Crestwood tuning (FAFCD)
This is my primary, or “default” solo banjo tuning. Most of the other tunings I work with are derived from it, and it is almost always the place I start from when I need to write or arrange a new solo banjo piece.
I arrived at this tuning by accident; when visiting relatives in California, I had my banjo in double-C tuning, and after a slight adjustment to the angle of the neck I found the instrument in a tuning very similar to this: FBbFCD. After some experimentation, I found that dropping the 4th string down from a Bb to an A made it very easy to build basslines in the key of F, with the open string and the 1st, 3rd, and 5th frets producing a “1”, “4”, “5”, and relative minor, respectively.
I ended up naming my first composition in this tuning after the street that my relatives lived on: “Crestwood”. I’ve since used this tuning in many other compositions and arrangements, but I still think of it as Crestwood tuning.
The following videos make use of this tuning: