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Best Banjo for Beginners 2024

There is no doubting that playing the banjo is a ton of fun, which is perhaps why they are once again becoming more and more well-liked. They are now being produced by more instrument makers, and some of the finer ones are selling out quickly. Although bluegrass may have brought some people to this page, it’s important to remember that the banjo has a lot more to offer. You can perform Americana, jazz, Dixieland, blues, rock, Irish folk music—pretty much anything. The best banjo brands beginners has a long musical history and predates bluegrass by almost 100 years.

Deering Goodtime 2 5-String Banjo

Deering Goodtime Two Resonator 5 String Banjo
  • Lightweight - Only 6 lbs.!
  • Made In USA
  • 3-Play Violin Grade Maple Rim

Deering Goodtime is one of the best banjo for beginners available. Deering banjo company are one of the most popular brands and are created outside of San Diego. This banjo reviews isn’t just good for beginners; it’s also the best banjos on the market for advanced players. The Deering Goodtime is a high-quality banjo that deserves to be played on stage.

The Deering Goodtime 5 String Banjo is a five-string guitar with a resonator, while the ordinary Deering Goodtime is a five-string guitar without one. This 5-string banjo is both attractive and durable, and it will last a long time if properly cared for. The neck is the perfect length for fast and simple playing, and the sound is fantastic. It’s no surprise that the majority of banjo players adore the brand. Budget constraints are the main reason why individuals do not purchase this.

It is 38 inches in length and weighs approximately 6 pounds. A single bound maple resonator plate and sealed geared tuners are included. The banjo’s tone is exceptionally rich and warm as a result of this. It also features a Deering fiddle-shaped peghead. The majority of the wood is maple, with frosted mylar on top. The rock maple neck in particular is golden and slender. The rim is made of 3 ply maple, the bridge is made of maple and ebony, and the tailpiece is adjustable.

This is a fantastic banjo in every way. It will appeal to a wide range of gamers, from beginners to experts. Keep in mind that a fine banjo like this will require protection and upkeep. If you have the money, acquire the Deering Goodtime 4 or 5 string, and you’ll be just as satisfied as the rest of the customers! If pricing isn’t a key consideration for you, this is the greatest beginning banjo on the market right now.

Jameson G5-String Banjo 24 Bracket with Closed Solid Back and Geared 5th Tuner

Jameson Guitars 5-String Banjo 24 Bracket with...
  • Includes padded gig bag: Included with this 5-string banjo is a deluxe 15mm...
  • Premium craftsmanship: Crafted from the finest woods, with a 5-ply maple...
  • High-quality design: Jameson's banjo features a Remo Weatherking drum head,...

The Jameson 5-String Banjo is nearly tough to beat for the money if you’re a novice wishing to learn to play the banjo. RW Jameson is a Nashville-based firm that produces high-quality guitars and banjos at a reasonable price. This 5-string banjo has a wonderful reputation, and given the price, it’s our best value pick.

Under $300 will almost certainly result in motion and intonation concerns, however this isn’t the case here. 5 string banjos are also more expensive, but Jameson has discovered the proper materials to keep the price low while still producing a fantastic instrument. Because this is such a popular banjo, it is not uncommon for it to be momentarily sold out. It’s a beautiful banjo with terrific motion (if set upright). It’s no wonder that this banjo is one of the best-selling banjos of all time.

This tenor banjo measures 38 inches in length and weighs approximately ten pounds. It has 24 brackets, 5 geared tuners, and a closed resonator back that is bound. The neck is thin for easy playing, and it contains a truss rod that can be adjusted in the future. The maple neck is complemented by mahogany on the top, back, and sides. It also includes a maple bridge, nickel-plated armrest, and a tailpiece that can be adjusted.

This is a good place to start learning the banjo for complete beginners. The price won’t kill you, and you’ll be able to decide whether you’ll stick with it or not! If this is your budget, go ahead and buy it. If you can wait, save up for a Deering or Gold Tone.

Oscar Schmidt OB3 Open-Back 5-String Banjo

Oscar Schmidt created this open back 5 string banjo. Washburn now owns a company that has been known for outstanding folk instruments since the 1800s. Many of their most popular models cater to the upper echelon of many low-budget households. While they do occasionally produce a lemon off the factory floor, for the most part they produce excellent student instruments.

There are no bells and whistles on this plectrum banjo. Indeed, it’s easy to think, “What a basic instrument,” and “Why is it over $200?” But keep in mind that even if we want something simple, it must be playable. If you don’t need the resonator and just want a cheap open back banjo, the OB3 will suffice. It is 46 inches in length and weighs 8 pounds. It features 18 Remo brackets, a multi-inlay gloss fretboard, and a satin finish on the pot. The fretboard is made of rosewood, and the rest of the instrument is made of mahogany.

This is ideal for individuals on a budget who don’t require a resonator, want something basic, and don’t require a resonator. It’s also an excellent instrument to take camping! This simple banjo will be an excellent buy if you enjoy the style. It has no resonator and Oscar Schmidt has a great reputation. This is one of the best banjos for beginners in 2023.

Donner 5-String Banjo

Donner Banjo Full Size 5 String Tenor Banjolele...
  • Remo Drumhead 5 String Banjo- the drumhead of Donner banjo is from the...
  • Quality Material Banjolele- Mahogany neck, sides and back have beautiful...
  • 24 Bracket Banjo- Donner Banjo's 24 high-quality Brackets stabilize the...

Both novice and expert players will enjoy playing the Donner 5-string banjo. It produces wonderful music with minimal effort and has the traditional banjo sound. You won’t need to replace this instrument anytime soon because it is of the highest caliber. The Donner 5-string Banjo should be at the top of your list if you’re seeking for a low-cost, high-end instrument that plays well.

The Donner 5-string banjo includes a gig bag, strap, and picks among other extras. Additionally, it contains the crucial tuning pegs that let you easily and rapidly tune your instrument. For new players who want to experience their first solo or performance gig, the tone of this banjo is amazing. Any space in which the banjo is played will be filled to the brim with its rich, resonant sound. This is the best beginner banjo in 2023.

Gold Tone CC 100R 5 String

Gold Tone CC-100R Cripple Creek Banjo with...
  • Body: MapleNeck: MapleResonator: MapleTone Ring: BrassTruss Rod: Two-way...
  • Tailpiece Other Features: Neck binding, Curly maple headstock veneer, Low...

Gold Tone is another well-known and dependable banjo brand on the market. It began in Florida in the early 1990s and has grown in popularity since then. This banjo appears to be unlike any other we’ve seen so far. It has all of the same qualities as typical 5 string resonator banjos, except for its goldish color. This is a banjo that you will be able to tell whether it is appealing or not just by looking at it.

The only distinguishing trait When you order a Gold Tone, they frequently advertise a low action setup. This is one of the nicest things a newbie can have because it lets them know when they only need to tweak the settings. This is the banjo to have if you want to start performing bluegrass or folk music. It will last as an expert instrument. Gold Tone makes some fantastic banjos, and you’ll want to get one with a case.

It’s 39 inches long and weighs roughly 7 pounds. A rolled brass ring surrounds each of the 18 brackets. Snowflake inlays and a terminator tailpiece are included. It also features an etched armrest and a maple and ebony bridge. It has a maple neck and resonator, as well as a brass truss rod. The rosewood fretboard while the headstock is maple veneer.

If you’re looking for a great banjo with more flare than a Deering, this Gold-Tone is the way to go. If you have the funds, invest on a quality banjo that will last you a long time. That way, you may rest assured that low-quality issues will not obstruct your study.

Rogue B30 Deluxe 30-Bracket Banjo with Aluminum Rim

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Rogue is a South Korean firm owned by Sunbo that produces low-cost guitars, banjos, and mandolins, as well as a decent lap steel. They have a mix of people who are happy with their Rogue instruments and those who have had poor experiences, like with most low-cost models. Spending $200 for a four-string guitar isn’t awful, but for a five-string, you’re overdoing it.

When you obtain a good Rogue B30, the sound isn’t bad and you can get by, but if you have a problem, you may not be able to advance. This is simply a banjo purchased on the basis of price, which is frequently not the greatest option. It is 39 inches in length and weighs approximately 8 pounds. It features 30 brackets with an aluminum ring, and the neck and body are made of nato. A chrome-plated armrest and tuners are also included.

At this price range, buyers who are looking for the best budget banjo to be a touch too cheap are taking a danger. They sell good lap steels, but only if you change the pick-up.

Vangoa 5 String Banjo

Vangoa Banjo 5 String Full Size Banjos Set with...
  • ✔️REMO DRUM HEAD It uses high-quality Remo drum head as Banjo panel...
  • ✔️ADJUSTABLE STRING HEIGHT It equips a truss rod that can adjust the...
  • ✔️DURABLE MATERIAL Mahogany neck, sides and back have beautiful wood...

The Vangoa 5-string banjo is an excellent instrument that will last for many years. It has a great sound quality and is reasonably priced. If you’re searching for a 5-string banjo that’s low on the money but high on value, this is the one to acquire!

This review will go over some of the characteristics and compare it to best starter banjo in its category. We’ll also discuss whether we would suggest it to others who are contemplating purchasing it. The quality of this banjo is the first thing to note. It’s built solidly and feels heavy (which suggests it’ll last a long time). Due to its weight, the music produced by such an instrument would be rich in tone, making it ideal for any genre!

In terms of affordability, this model delivers excellent value for money at roughly $200 US dollars, making it tough to suggest given how fantastic those characteristics are when compared to comparable violins on the market. All things considered, we recommend that you take advantage of this opportunity today.

The Vangoa banjo is an ideal alternative for every type of player searching for a high-quality instrument on a budget, from beginner to professional. The features included in this model, as well as the sound quality and weight, are excellent; the only drawback is that there isn’t as much customization as there is with other models.

Rover RB-20 Open Back 5 String Banjo

Rover RB-20 Open Back 5 String Banjo
  • Standard 11" rim made of composite material in metallic gun grey finish...
  • Standard spacing using 24 Flat hook and nut set for head attachment
  • Deluxe Vega style armrest Traditional No knot tailpiece

The Saga designed this good beginner banjo to incorporate modern advancements while maintaining traditional qualities in order to build a banjo that will serve people from various worlds. In comparison to other banjos in its class, it is reasonably priced. The quality of sound and ease of play of best banjo for the money is determined by its construction. The quality of the craftsmanship used to put together the finer components of a banjo determines the overall quality of the instrument.

The RB-20 banjo has an 11-inch rim with a tension hoop grooved into it. It has a mahogany neck for added smoothness, and it does not disappoint. The RB-20’s fingerboard is rather smooth, and the lightweight nature of most of the materials used in its construction reflects the manufacturer’s desire to create an instrument that is simple to operate.

The banjo’s tension hoop is nickel-plated, and the guitar type is geared with a fifth peg. Some people may find the tension on this model to be excessive, however it is possible to modify it to their taste. The tone of many banjos in the same class as the RB-20 is quieter and mellower. It gives off delicious, well-balanced tones. All you have to do now is make sure the action and strings are adjusted correctly, and you’ll have the perfect tone and volume. This is the best beginner open back banjo.

ADM 5-String Banjo 24 Bracket with Closed Solid Wood Back

The ADM 5-String Banjo is a well-made banjo at a reasonable price with a gig bag. Optional resonator back and neck with laminated three-ply mahogany neck and maple rim are included with this banjo. Due to its hybrid design, which merges traditional Appalachian music with current bluegrass tones, the tone quality of this banjo sets it apart from other models on the market.

The ADM-5 string beginner banjos has a narrow neck that makes playing up and down the neck a breeze. They also offer adjustable truss rods with a wide range of specs to meet all of the banjo player needs. The banjo is built to last, and you’ll be able to enjoy the sound chamber for many years to come.

The high-quality metal and wood finishes on the exterior of the best entry level banjo give it a striking and sparkling appearance. It’s also simple to use, thanks to the adjustable tailpiece and armrest. The ADM 5-string banjo has a 7-ply wood resonator and neck, which allows it to generate a great tone as a starter banjo foe the best banjo under 200.

AKLOT 5 String Banjo

AKLOT 5 String Banjos Full Size Open Back Banjo...
  • 【MAPLE WOOD BANJO】AKLOT 5 string banjo is made of all maple wood...
  • 【OPEN BACK & REMO HEAD BANJO】The open back and professional...
  • 【ADJUSTABLE BRACKETS & BANJO NECK】There are 18 consolidation brackets...

The AKLOT 5-String Banjo is a budget-friendly instrument that provides good quality at a low cost. Because of its lightweight and compact size, this banjo is ideal for both beginners and intermediate musicians. It features a broad, rich sound and good volume control, allowing you to perform in a variety of environments, from quiet to very loud.

The best open back banjo for beginners has a mahogany neck and resonator, which gives an even, warm tone when paired with the tungsten steel-wound fifth string. It is also available in two sizes: 26 inch and 30 inch scale lengths. The strings are nickel plated brass and sound fantastic acoustically, but there is plenty of room to add pickups to the top without any alterations (this can easily cost up to $150 additional). In terms of quality vs. price, we haven’t discovered anything cheaper than what they already offer at such high standards while still remaining affordable; so why would anyone choose anything else in this price range?

The AKLOT banjo is an affordable option for anyone wishing to purchase their first instrument without sacrificing sound quality or craftsmanship in any way – from the tuning pegs to the tailpiece and all the way up to the strings, it looks like it was crafted by musicians who know what they’re doing! This is the best 5 string banjo for beginners.

Costzon 5-String Banjo

Costzon 5-String Banjo 24 Bracket with Geared 5th...
  • 🪕【Solid and Durable Plywood Frame】: The panel is wood, and the back...
  • 🪕【With Geared 5th Tuner】: Our 5 string banjo brings you the classic...
  • 🪕【24 Adjustable Brackets and Remo Drum】: There is 24 consolidation...

This plywood-built five-string banjo will last a long time because it is strong and corrosion-resistant. The sound output of the Costzon may be easily adjusted thanks to a digital tuner with a button cell. The digital tuner with a button cell in the cost can accurately adjust the sound level the Costzon is producing when there are beneficial accessories present.

24 consolidation brackets that may be adjusted to produce the ideal sound and according to design specifications are placed around the drum. For the drum to produce an amazing sound that meets the needs of the design, it is advised to tweak it multiple times. The robust mid-range steel wire on the Costzon is created to be flexible so that the player can pluck the strings, and it has a closed grip that fits a variety of persons.

Children and beginners typically choose it because it is portable and shields the device from rust and scratches. To achieve the optimum pitch and vintage tones, Costzon has a geared fifth tuner. It is one of the essential types of banjo that is frequently used in country music.

Kmise 5 String Banjo

Kmise 5 String Resonator Banjo,Professional Sapele...
  • ♫ The Kmise 5 string banjo uses a high-quality drumhead that can produce...
  • ♫ The lacquered removable back cover makes the entire banjo more advanced...
  • ♫ This banjo has a polished chrome installed armrest to provide comfort...

Beginners and advanced players will enjoy the Kmise 5 String Resonator Banjo. It has a great sound that will not let you down! This banjo is entirely made of wood, including the resonator, giving it a vintage appearance. The strings are made of high-quality steel and are simple to tune. Because it has an open back construction, you may play it with or without amplification, which is one of the best features of this banjo.

With its open back construction, this banjo can be played as a traditional banjo or as a traditional banjo. It’s entirely made of wood and features high-quality steel strings that are simple to tune, but most importantly, it sounds great. This instrument is also available in a variety of sizes to suit your needs, so take a look!

Choosing the Right Banjo for Beginners (Buying Guide)

Regardless of the instrument you acquire, you should always conduct some research before you buy. Finding a superb banjo is more likely when you are more knowledgeable. Knowing the basic structure and components of a banjo could save you from making a purchase of an unplayable, too-cheap instrument.
Sizes and tuning for banjos

All of the sizes and string counts below are available with either an open back or a wood resonator. Resonators are used in musical instruments to boost volume and tone. Even without the resonator, the banjo is quite loud, and it can be heard far away from the stage. An open back is excellent if you’re new because it’s lighter and less awkward. But, if you purchase one with a resonator, you can typically remove it. the finest of both worlds is yours.

5 String: The majority of banjos, particularly those linked to bluegrass, have five strings. with four long strings and one on the top that is slightly shorter than the others. This fifth string serves as a drone string that you can use when rolling and picking. Moreover, 5 string guitars can have a range of neck and fretboard lengths, from a short parlor neck to an extra-long one. The majority of large 5 strings are often tuned in the open G chord, which is GDGBG. Finding chords and notes is made very simple by this tuning.

The small midway down the neck short string is absent from these four-string banjos. They can be tuned in a number of ways, including GDAE, the same tuning as the mandolin used in Irish folk music. They work well for traditional folk music like Dixieland as well. The four strings’ backs are typically open, however they could have resonators. These may also be found in different scale sizes.

Plectrum: A four-string banjo with a smaller size that is played with a pick. More traditional tunings like C, G, B, D, and occasionally D, G. B, E are used by them (like a baritone ukulele). Traditional jazz and folk music both frequently employ it.

Hybrid/6 Strings: This guitar-banjo hybrid is designed for guitarists who are switching to the banjo. It is EADGBE since the tuning is the same. Typically, it seems to be a banjo head affixed to a guitar fretboard. Go for it if that particular sound is what you’re going for. A 5 or 4 string instrument would be preferable for the majority of beginners.

Electric banjos are uncommon, with the exception of sporadic, rare hybrids like the Gold Tone EBM5. Depending on your budget, you can usually just add a decent pickup to the back, top, or bridge of your banjo to amp it up. The banjo is already quite loud, too. Before turning up the volume, improve your playing so no one in your family or neighborhood becomes upset. It has taken place.

Banjolele/Banjolin: A banjolele is a hybrid instrument with a banjo head and ukulele-sized body. The same is true of a banjolin, also called a banjo mandolin. Although the majority don’t shop for these, it’s still a good idea to be aware in case you fortunately run upon one. Playing them is enjoyable! If you get the need to buy an ancient banjo mandolin, be cautious because they frequently lose their playability due to stress.
Materials and Components for Banjos

Even though there isn’t much wood in the banjo’s body (without a resonator), it nevertheless has a significant impact on the sound. Laminated wood is less expensive than solid wood in stringed instruments, but it doesn’t sound as good. The tone and volume of the banjo are influenced by both the wood and the metal used in its construction. Whether or not those materials are high-quality depends entirely on your budget.

Neck and Peghead: On a banjo, the nut is located where the neck joins the headstock, which we refer to as the peghead. We can tighten the strings since the tuning gears are located in the peghead. The neck connects the body (or pot) and peghead and is frequently made of mahogany or maple. If the banjo has five strings, the fifth tuner and string are fastened to the instrument approximately midway down the neck.

Fretboard: There is a fretboard on the neck, which is typically made of rosewood and has the amount of metal frets required for the model. Your fingers should be placed just before the frets when playing the notes. A truss rod passes through the banjo rim and down the middle of the neck. The neck is stabilized by this truss rod, which may also be changed if the neck bows.

Rim: The banjo’s rim is the main round wooden piece that is joined to the neck. Depending on how much your banjo costs, the rim may be strengthened with steel and little rods. For rims, maple is a popular wood type. The banjo will sound better if the wood is more dense. Sometimes it’s necessary to tighten the bolts holding the rim to the neck since they can loosen up and alter the sound.

Tone Ring: The tone ring is located below the banjo head and above the rim. Again, the type of material used will affect the banjo’s price, but rolled brass is particularly popular. Adding volume and sustain is the tone ring. The loop and rim receive sound waves from the banjo head as it vibrates.

Banjo head: When pulling a string, the sound travels through the bridge and then into the head. They used to be made of animal skin, but nowadays most of them are made of mylar. It matters how high the mylar is from the point where it adheres to the rim in addition to the mylar’s thickness. The best banjos often have a high or medium “crown height.”

Hoop/Brackets: A tension hoop covering the mylar head is placed over it, and it is then secured in place using 16 or more brackets, and on some large models, up to 30 brackets. A flange will be present on a banjo with a resonator. The resonator is connected to the rim and pot assembly by way of this flange.

Resonator: The banjo’s resonator, which projects the sound, is frequently constructed of mahogany or maple. It typically connects with a few lugs and is simple to unplug. Some athletes remove it and insert a soft fabric to muffle the loud sound during practice. A resonator won’t be present in an open back banjo, and typically there is no means to install one.

Bridge: The fact that the banjo bridge is movable is the most crucial fact to understand. And occasionally you might need to position it correctly on the banjo head. The intonation will be considerably influenced by where you set it, so pay close attention to the directions. (When a banjo isn’t set up for you they will leave the instructions, and it may also be accessed online). Investing in a better bridge and set of strings will help an affordable banjo sound better.

Tailpiece: The tailpiece joins the strings that extend from the peghead tuners to the rim’s bottom. Although it may seem unimportant, it is a crucial component. It can vibrate and generate unwanted noises if it is composed of inexpensive metals. Felt or fabric is frequently put inside of cheap banjos to minimize rattling. Even models with large budgets can experience it occasionally.
Several String Types

The strings you choose are crucial if you play a stringed instrument. You’ll want to switch up your strings and try out various brands once you’ve mastered some of the fundamentals. Learn which components and designs make your banjo sing. Typically, banjo strings are quite affordable. These are the major categories of strings that will be offered.

Steel: The majority of the strings you will encounter are steel; they are the least expensive and produce the tone that many banjo players desire.

Steel that has been nickel-plated typically has a warmer tone in the lower register.

Some musicians prefer nickel plated for the low notes and steel for the high notes.

Phosphor Bronze: The body of brass instruments, saxophones, and even string wrapping are made from this copper alloy! These strings have a stronger sustain and are very robust.

Coated: When string manufacturers cover steel, nickel, or another alloy in a polymer coating. It is done to give the fingers more tone and a better feel. Some of the most expensive banjo strings have an amazing tone.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much should I spend on a beginner Banjo?

Because banjos come in such a wide range of quality, it’s usually a good idea to figure out your budget before making a purchase. It’s probably not a good idea to get the cheapest banjo you can find, but you also don’t want to buy the most expensive one, because, like anything else, the sky’s the limit.

There are, however, a plethora of entry-level, high-quality banjos to pick from, and you’ll most likely find one that meets your needs for between $300 and $800. Many music stores now offer monthly payment plans, so if you’re prepared to sign up for one of these, you can acquire a better instrument.

In any case, acquire the most expensive one you can.

What brand of Banjo should I buy?

Several banjo companies have become synonymous with the instrument since they have been producing high-quality banjos for decades. Some off-brand banjos, like many other manufactured things, are mass made as cheaply as possible, and while they are less expensive, you should be aware of their quality.

When you’re looking for for the best banjo to buy, consider brands like Gold Tone, Oscar Schmidt, or Deering, an American company known for making high-quality banjos.

What type of Banjo should I buy?

Banjos with an open back are widely employed in genres of music where the banjo is mixed in with other instruments, such as clawhammer playing.

Resonator banjos are most commonly employed in music styles where the banjo is the main instrument, such as bluegrass. As previously stated, the weight of the instrument can be determined by choosing between these two body forms.

Open-backed banjos, sometimes called as traveler banjos, are available in relatively light weight variants. If you intend to travel with your banjo, this is an important consideration.

Is the banjo harder to learn than the guitar?

The difficulty of learning an instrument can vary greatly depending on the individual. Some people might find the banjo easier to learn due to its fewer strings (typically 4 or 5 compared to 6 on a guitar). However, the playing techniques can be quite different, so a guitarist transitioning to banjo might face a learning curve.

Can I use a guitar pick to play the banjo?

While some banjo players use a guitar pick, especially when playing a 4-string banjo, it’s more common to use fingerpicks on a 5-string banjo. This allows for the distinctive picking patterns often used in banjo playing.

How often should I replace the banjo strings?

The frequency of string replacement can depend on how often you play, but a common recommendation is to change them every 50 to 100 hours of play time. If you notice your banjo sounds dull or out of tune, or the strings are discolored or rusty, it’s likely time for a change.

What is the key of a banjo?

The 5-string banjo is often tuned to open G – with the strings tuned to D, B, G, D, G (from the 5th to the 1st string). However, alternative tunings can be used for different styles of music or to play in different keys.

What are the main types of banjos?

There are several types of banjos, each suited to different styles of music. The most common are the 5-string banjo, typically used in bluegrass and folk music; the 4-string tenor banjo, often used in jazz and Irish music; and the 6-string banjo or banjitar, which is tuned like a guitar.