The cello banjo was introduced during the banjo orchestra craze of the early 20th century, to play, not surprisingly, the cello parts of the orchestra. Recently it has made a little comeback, thanks mainly to Gold Tone making two low-pitched instruments, a 5-string and the 4-string. I play the latter.
The tuning is the same a cello, from the bass: CGDA, which is the same as a tenor banjo, but one octave lower. It is therefore possible to play tenor solos, if your hands can cope with the stretches.
Here are some videos I made – some early ragtime-jazz crossovers, and some Bach. Bach’s solo cello music fits perfectly on the cello banjo, as they both have the same tuning. You can buy my scores in TAB and standard notation from Mel Bay.
Blue Stocking, by A. J. Weidt, 1921:
Waiting For You, by A. J. Weidt, 1921:
Free For All, by A. J. Weidt, 1921:
Monday Morning Blues, by A. J. Weidt, 1921:
Bouree’s I+II from Bach’s 3rd Cello Suite:
Allemande from Bach’s 2nd Cello Suite:
Sarabande from Bach’s 3rd Cello Suite: