Playing the banjo is more than just picking up the instrument and plucking the strings. There is a lot to know about using this instrument. Once you learn what you need to know, then it becomes easier to master the banjo and make some great music.
To find out that information you need to know about, just continue to read our article. it explores the world of banjos, best banjo brands and other banjo related topics. It will only take a few minutes to get the basics about banjos and get on the right track to mastering the instrument.
Top Twenty (20) Best banjo brands:
Choosing the best banjo brand is not an easy thing. If you are a beginner, it should be better that you familiarize yourself with this musical instrument before you buy one. This information is going to guide you as a novice buyer.
Choosing the best beginner banjo can be challenging and that is because the beginner banjo can be expensive. If you are looking for the best, you must do extensive research.
The information below is to assist you to make that important choice. Every novice user can actually benefit from the information below. Keep reading to discover more.
1. Gold-Tone CC-100R Cripple Creek Banjo
Gold tone CC is one of the best banjo brands on the market today. This features a resonator that includes clear maple and five strings.
The body is composed of a maple neck as well as a maple resonator. Besides, it features a maple tone ring as well as a brass truss rod. Most importantly, the model comes with a two-way adjustable tailpiece as well as a straight line. The other tailpiece’s great feature includes a curly maple headstock veneer and a necking binding.
This brand is great for learners because it simply guides you by the hands and leads you through until you become an expert in all these. Compared to other banjo brands within the same range, you discover that this has an advantage over others.
The best thing about it is that it is affordable. It has other fantastic features that set it apart from other models out there. When you order this product, you will have real value for your money. If you are looking for the best banjo brand, you can start with this model.
2. Deering Goodtime 2 5-String Banjo
It is 5 string banjo is another high-quality musical instrument. Because of the simple design and ease of use, some people regard it as the ease to use and entry point Banjo. It comes with the most interesting features such as the adjustable tailpiece, sealed geared tuners as well as three-ply maple rim.
Moreover, it comes with a resonator back which makes for an improved project sound. When it comes to quality, this model comes around the best since it is a product of the US. Moreover, it is low priced making it a perfect choice for beginners. If you are looking for a perfect gift for beginners, then you can think of this wonderful product.
3. Gold Tone, 5-String Banjo (CC-100RW)
This is one of the best in the market and it comes with a resonator. Two things make it unique and these include five-string and clear maple. The body is composed of MapleNect: as well as Maple Resonator as well as Maple tone ring. Its body is composed of Brass Truss Rid and features a two-way adjustable tailpiece. Moreover, it features a straight line.
Its tailpiece comes with a binding neck as well as a curly maple headstock veneer. This product is unique and it is the best for learners. Every beginner will find it very easy to start with this piece of musical instrument. The most interesting part that makes it ideal for beginners is the cripple creek 100 resonators.
Compared with others of this category, nobody would be in doubt as to the value of this wonderful product. This product has been in the market for more than a decade and it has proven to be the best for beginners and students. If you are interested in using the best, then you can start with this one. It comes with the most interesting learners feature.
4. Jameson Guitars 5-String Banjo
Jameson is one of the leaders when it comes to the manufacture of musical instruments. This product is one of the best in the company. It features a five-string banjo as well as 24 brackets and a closed solid back.
Moreover, it features a geared 5th tuner. Despite the high value, it is one of the most affordable in the market. As said before it is composed of 24 brackets and this is designed with the finest quality mahogany back. Its width is also put at 1.25 inches. The total length of this musical instrument is 38 inches.
Although this model is highly affordable, it comes with the most expensive features. One can hardly believe it goes for those cheap prices. Furthermore, the sound remains one of the most outstanding features of this product. Every musician and aspiring musician is going to like this wonderful product and it can be a wonderful addition to your musical collections.
There are lots of features that made this product great and one of them is the 5th string as pointed out earlier. The other interesting feature is both tuning and playability. You can get the best tones from this product and the best amongst them remains the classic tones.
5. Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo
It is another quality banjo brand we are recommending for you. Deering Goodtime is another 5 string banjo and comes with 22 fret rock maple neck. This is a low profile product with a hardwood bow tie. The product is also a sealed and geared tuning machine and comes with a fifth string.
Furthermore, this product comes with 5/8-inch maple ebony as well as a good time bridge and comes with an adjustable Deering tailpiece. Other features include a three-ply as well as 11 inches’ maple rim and a steel tension hoop including a high crown head.
When it comes to quality, it is one of the most durable since it is an American product. The tailpiece is adjustable. It also comes with a single coordinator rod and the importance of this is that it makes adjustment simple and easy. Every starter will find it easy with this unique product and because of the quality, it makes the list of the best.
6. Ibanez B200 5 String Banjo
This is another high-end product and comes with a basswood rim. This is a five-string banjo coordinator rod and comes with a double rim, basswood block rim resonator as well as mahogany neck. It also features a mahogany fretboard as well as Rosewood Resonator binding. The other interesting feature of this product is ABS-Multilnlay. This equally comes with 22Armrest as well as a chrome featuring fetching bridge material as well as a maple tailpiece.
This brand has been around for a long time and it has been popular over the years because of the quality construction. It is still the case with this high-end product. When you are looking for the best, you can start with this product. It is best for beginners because of its outstanding features.
7. Ibanez B300 5-String Banjo Natural
These reviews would not have been complete with the mention of this high-quality Ibanez product. This company has been in the market for three decades and when it comes to quality, they are always ahead of others. This particular model is designed with the finest quality mahogany wood for the sides, neck as well as back.
Moreover, it comes with five strings and this makes it good for beginners and intermediate users. The other interesting feature is the 24 lug configuration. Ibanez tradition has continued to dominate the industry and it is not surprising that this model is widely accepted by all including students, and advanced users. If you are looking for the best, you should not hesitate to start with this product.
8. Rogue Learn the Banjo Starter Pack
A superior quality banjo, it comes with unique start kits. It is easier for anybody to start with this playing instrument. This also comes with 18 brackets as well as a high-quality head. The open back and the satin finish make it an outstanding musical instrument of note. It is a first-rate tuning machine and it is not surprising that many starters often begin with this unique and outstanding product.
This banjo is light and fleet and the importance of this is the tone and sound coming out of the sound is authentic and sound original. Very easy and simple to operate, this model comes with a case chord that book with different fingerings.
Furthermore, the five-string banjo DVD makes it easy for beginners to get started. If you are looking for the best banjo you can easily get started with this noble product.
9. 5-String Geared Tunable Banjo
Pyle PBJ60 is the best and it is a highly recommended product here. Beginners and intermediate users will not find it difficult, to begin with, this tool. It comes with white Jade Tune pegs as well as Rosewood Fretboard and it is polished with rich wood to make it attractive.
The product also comes with a Maplewood bridge stand as well as a Truss rod adjustment tool. It comes with everything you need as a beginner. The premium quality design makes it the most outstanding in the market. Its other component such as the side, neck, and back are designed with the best wood materials and that is why it can serve you for a long time.
Most importantly, the tone is very wonderful and it is exactly the five-string traditional banjo. It is perfect because of the great tone and exciting sound quality. The geared 5th tuner is another outstanding attribute and it makes it for more playability. What is more, it being lightweight and looks every inch attractive. If you are a beginner, this product is meant for you.
10. Epiphone MB-100 Open Back Banjo
The product comes with everything you need for a beginner as well as intermediate users. It is designed with the finest quality Rosewood fretboard and comes with a high-end mahogany body. Most importantly, it features a Remo head top. Everything about this product is great.
It is obvious from the feature that this product is a starter banjo and the open back and lightweight design make it great for travelers. This is because you can comfortably move with it to any other location. The chrome hardware and the traditional rosewood bridge are some of the most outstanding features.
Besides, it is sold at affordable prices. You will like the quality sound and tone. To use this product, you do not need to be an expert. If you want to begin with this playing tool, very soon you could become an expert. If you are looking for that user-friendly and beginner banjo brand, then you can make do with this model. It is recommended because it comes with everything you need to get started,
11. 6 String Banjo 24 Bracket with Closed Solid Back and Geared
This is a company that is known for quality products over the years. It comes with a closed back resonator as well as 24 brackets. It tunes as well as plays like a guitar and you can tell from the sound that it is also a banjo.
While many others reviewed above are five-string, this one is innovative since it features 6 string. You can also tell from the design that it is one of the best you can buy with money. It comes with a maple neck as well as a mahogany resonator. The other interesting feature is the 24 brackets which help improve the sound quality as well as the tone.
This is good for everyone and not just for beginners. Once you are a musician you can enjoy playing this one. If you want to learn about playing, it is the best place to get started. It comes with the necessary kits that assist you to get started and it is easy and fun to learn. Most importantly it is fun to play. If you are looking for that perfect gift, then you can always begin here. This model is beautifully designed and easy to use.
12. Epiphone MB-200 Banjo
Epiphone is a great quality product and when you are looking for that entry-level product, then you can think of this model. It is wonderfully designed and looks highly attractive. This comes with the mahogany body as well as the US Remo head. Most importantly, it is designed with a Rosewood fretboard. If you are interested in quality, then you can think of this model because it comes with everything a beginner requires to get started.
This is a full-sized product and when you use this for a short time, you are going to become an expert. The lightweight design makes it simple and very easy to use. There is hardly any other brand that can compare with it when it comes to performance and when you are looking for the best then you can think of this wonderful product.
13. Kmise UV10406BL 4 String Banjo
This is another great product and it comes with a bag tuner. The tuner is much advanced than what you get elsewhere. It comes with tuning pegs and contains oil as well. Because of the wonderful design, this product is not going to rust fast as most other products would do. Its tuning system is great and it fast and the banjo ukulele is rated high because of the intonation which stays longer.
Designed with neat fret wire as well as a smooth fingerboard, it is not difficult to play this banjo ukulele musical instrument. You do not need hard pressing to use this and everything you require to use this product is put in place.
When you are looking for the best, you can always opt for the model, especially for beginners. Even intermediate players can have fun using this one too. In terms of quality, it is simply the best. Currently, there are two styles available and not just the resonator type which includes the open back type. You can tell the difference in sound quality.
14. Kmise 5 String Resonator Banjo Professional Sapele Back Banjos
Another beginner musical instrument we are recommending here without hesitation. It comes with a brass tone ring and it is rolled and not cast and this makes the tone to be significantly different from what you get elsewhere. You should not be surprised that the ringing tone is very clear. The beautiful design and the unique tone that come from the system are great and very outstanding.
This case is the most durable in the industry. You can use this with full confidence that this product is not going to disappoint you. When it comes to quality, there is hardly any other that can compare with this fantastic product and that is why it makes the list. This offers you a modern interpretation of what classical music should be.
15. Recording King RKT-05 Dirty Thirties Tenor Banjo
It is the recording kind and it comes with the best resonator designed with mahogany material. This also comes mahogany neck as well as rolled brass tone ring. Furthermore, it features a rosewood fretboard and Kershner tailpiece.
It is good for beginners and the resonator model is the most outstanding in the industry. The banjo comes with an inlaid M.O.P peghead inlay as well as a heart like markers. Most importantly, it features rolled brass, planetary tuners and hoop tone ring, and rosewood fretboard as pointed out above. It is obvious from the features discussed above that this brand is good for beginners.
16. Vangoa 6 String Banjo Guitar Mini, 26 Inch Sapele Travel Banjo Guitar
Vangoa brand is another quality brand to look out for when you are searching for the best banjo brands. It comes with the necessary accessories.
Moreover, it is designed with the finest quality wood material which includes the Mahogany wood at the back as well as the side. The standard guitar tuning makes it easier for beginners to use the product. Another interesting feature is the carry case, which makes it travel friendly. You can tighten or loosen the head. The most important attribute of this product remains high-quality construction.
17. Oscar Schmidt OB4 5-string Banjo, Gloss Finish
It is a five-string banjo that comes with a Remo’s head and is designed with the finest quality mahogany wood. If you are looking for the best you can always think of this product because it comes with everything you need as a beginner. This equally comes with 24 brackets.
18. Dean BW2E PRO Backwoods 2 Pro Banjo w Pickup
If you are looking for the best banjo brand that offers traditional values with modernity, then you can always think of this Dean product. It is designed with the best quality woods and you should not be surprised at the great expectations and quality this product delivers to its users. This is the combination of the best wood materials in the different parts of the product which include the body that comes with mahogany, the fingerboard designed with rosewood materials, and so on. It is sleek in design.
19. Morgan Monroe RT-B01 Rocky Top Hoedown 5 String
This is also another great banjo brand you can buy with money. It comes with a resonator designed with a composite material. In the same way, the rim is a product of composite material while the neck is composed of maple just as the fingerboard is designed with rosewood material.
20. Rogue Travel Banjo
This brand is known to offer different kinds of banjo and this deluxe edition is one of them. Rogue is famous for the great sound that comes out of the system and it is designed with the finest quality woods. This comes with a resonator and it is the best for those on a strict budget.
These are the best banjo brands you can buy with money. They are designed for different categories of users. Most of them are great for beginners. They are also affordable and designed with the best wood materials and the required number of strings. You can easily choose from any of the recommended products.
In order to master playing the banjo, you need to know what your banjo teacher and other banjo players are talking about. That means you need to learn a new set of vocabulary just to keep yourself from becoming confused.
Here are those terms that will help you understand what you are supposed to do when you play the banjo:
- Accent- putting emphasis on one note.
- Arpeggio- playing individual notes and not the whole chord.
- Binding- the plastic strip with dots that let you know which frets are which.
- C tuning- lowering the 4th string from standard G to C.
- Capo- the clamp-like tool that raises the pitch of all your strings.
- Chops- describes a player’s playing ability.
- Crash & Burn- making a very obvious mistake or blow the ending.
- Down the neck- playing at or below the 5th fret.
- Down Cold- playing a song effortlessly because you know it so well.
- Fingerboard- where your fingers press the strings to make the notes.
- Half step- raising or lowering a note by one fret.
- Pinch- picking two strings at the same time.
- Slur- slurring the sound of one note on a string and blending it into the next note.
- Turnaround- the transition from the end of one verse to the next verse.
- Up the neck- playing the banjo above the 5th fret.
- Walk downs- notes played as you go to a lower tone.
It is impossible to list all the terms used in banjo playing.
Choosing the best Banjo brands for you
The first piece of advice you need to follow here is to make sure you know the level of your playing ability. It does you no good to pick up a top-rated banjo when you are just a beginner.
You need to find the right banjo for your talent and experience level. Second, you need to know what style of music you want to play. There are different banjos for different styles.
You can always add a new banjo later on when you have learned how to play better and when you want to expand your music-making ability. The third item you need to think about is the price. Don’t spend too much just in case you lose interest in playing the instrument.
The following list of top brands all makes good banjos. You just have to try some out to see which brand sounds the best to you and your style of music:
Read the reviews on these companies and look at both the positive and negative ones. Remember that each person will have their own personal favourite so read those reviews with a grain of salt.
Then take some of their banjos for a test drive and see which one fits you, your body style and so on. The best banjo brand for you is the one that fits your style, your figure and you and your pocketbook.
What you need to consider
First, and foremost is the price. If it is too expensive it may not be the best purchase you can make. It is best to go with one that fits your budget.
Second, you need to think about how many strings you want to play. There are 4, 5, 6 and 12 string banjos that all make a different sound.
Third, you need to think about the materials that went into making that banjo. Were the top quality or made cheaply? The construction materials play an important role in how your music sounds.
Fourth, you should consider the difference between an acoustic banjo and an electric one. Both have their strong and weak points and how loud you want to go maybe the influential factor that convinces you to go with one over the other.
Finally, you should consider how the banjo feels in your grasp. If you are uncomfortable playing it then your music will suffer. Make sure you can reach the pegs easily and be able to hold the banjo comfortably while you are playing.
Best banjos in the world
This is a subjective category and for you the best banjo will be the one you can play easily and make the kind of music that your audience enjoys. Anything less than that and you do not have the best banjo in the world.
If you are looking for a specific brand name, the ones listed above are all good and every player has their own favorite one while criticizing those other brands that other players prefer.
Fender is famous but even famous manufacturers do not always make the best instrument in the world. Sometimes you have to go to those lesser brands in order to find the best one available at the right price.
Keep in mind that cheap is not always bad and expensive is not always good. Sometimes you are merely paying for the reputation of the maker not the quality of the banjo when you pay top dollar.
Find the one that is right for you and that makes the sound or tone that you enjoy.
Banjo Buying Guide
When you go shopping for a new banjo, it pays to know what to look for before you get into the store. That way you will be able to fend off the over-aggressive salesman and choose the banjo you want. Here are some tips to help guide your search:
#1. Price- we have mentioned this aspect several times but it is important to remind you that price is not the best factor to use. Find one that fits your budget now and you can always save to buy a better one later.
#2. Wood- find one that is made from either maple or mahogany for the head and maple for the neck
#3. Closed gear pegs- make sure they are really closed and that they are made from top quality materials
#4. Dual wood bridge- this is best and make sure there is ebony on top.
#5. Finish- make sure the finish looks glossy and there are no blemishes on the instrument
#6. Types of banjo- there are 4, 5 and more string instruments as well as closed and open backed types. Each one is best for a specific genre of music or tone quality. Test them out to see which one fits your music playing style
#7. Sound- the banjo should produce that classic banjo twang and the richer the tone the better the banjo
#8. Neck size- it should be slim and easy to hold no matter how big your hands are or how small.
There are different ways to tune a banjo and how you tune yours will depend on the type of sound you want to make. There are about 6 different ways to tune a 5 string banjo and 5 for the 4 string.
The 5 string banjo
- Open G
- G modal
- Double C
- C tuning or Drop c
- D tuning
- E tuning
The 4 string banjo
- Standard tenor
- Irish tenor
- Chicago style
- Adapted jazz option
Plus, there are less commonly known options that may suit your taste in music. The 6 string option is tuned just like a guitar- E,A,D, G, B, E. Then the 12 string banjo is tuned just like a 12 string guitar- E,E,A,A, D,D, G,G, B,B, E, E.
The banjo ukulele is tuned the same way as a standard uke- G,C,E,A. Which tuning you use will depend heavily on the type of banjo you decide to buy and how you want it to sound.
Again you should test out the different styles of tuning to see which one works the best for you and your songs. Your banjo won’t sound that great until you are happy with the tuning you selected to use.
Best Banjo Brands: FAQs
#1. How can you differentiate between open and closed back banjos?
Besides, see that the back is closed on one model and open on the other, you have to turn to the sound each banjo makes. The closed banjo model will produce a more resonating sound than the open one. It is also a bit louder and often it is the lead instrument in some bluegrass bands.
#2. Which is the best banjo tuner app?
The tuners for banjos are hard to find. If you do find a top-quality one, they are usually priced at very high prices. many players use a clip[ on the tuner that is designed for the guitar which works okay. But they still cost. Click on this link to get a top banjo tuner for free.
#3. Is banjo hard to play?
No, the banjo is one of the easier instruments to learn how to play. if you already know how to play a stringed instrument, then picking up the banjo is a matter of a few adjustments.
#4. Is Banjo harder than guitar?
No, it is actually easier to play and if you are musically inclined towards playing a stringed instrument, you should be able to play both with ease. That ability would also include playing the mandolin, the ukulele and other stringed instruments.
#5. What is a good cheap banjo?
Basically, all top major banjo making companies make a good cheap banjo. Their reputation depends on that and the more affordable they make their banjos, the more likely someone will buy one. The 5 string might be the best one to go to first.
#6. How many strings should I have on my banjo?
This will depend a lot on the type of music you want to play. there is ample choice as banjos come in 4, 5, 6 and 12 strong variations. 4,5, & 6 string banjos are the most common and you should pick the one that is easiest for you to play. You can always try more or fewer strings on a banjo later on when you have more confidence.
#7. Should I try playing a banjo hybrid?
These instruments are more for those who want to play a unique instrument and produce a very unique tone. It would be best to master the standard banjos first before moving on to the hybrids. Of course, you can start with the hybrids and move on to the standard banjo if you want to be different.
#8. How dop I get the best tone from my banjo?
The best way to accomplish that goal is to buy a banjo that is made from the best wood possible. Mahogany and maple are two of the best woods you can have in a banjo.
#9. Resonator vs open back which one is better?
This depends on what you want to play. If you are one of those that want to play bluegrass, then it is better to opt for the resonator.
#10. Which is the type being the best for beginners: electric or acoustic?
It all depends on what you can afford. Many people prepare acoustic because it is affordable and this is the best for beginners.
#11. Where should I purchase the best banjo brands?
It depends on you and there are different online outlets you can purchase. Check the cost and the features. Moreover, ensure that you get what you want. Check the return policy as well. Many people prefer to buy from amazon.
#12. What are the best woods to have on my banjo?
Banjos are made in different woods such as maple, walnut, mahogany, rosewood, and so on. The best wood depends on the part of the equipment you want to put the wood on. In the neck, you can put any of these woods. The same thing applies to the body as well as the back. Most people prefer to use mahogany because it is warmer.
#13. What Are the Best Banjo Brands?
The best banjo brands are reviewed above. Compare their features and choose what you want. If you are on a tight budget you can opt for the Epiphone brand.
Some final words
When you are looking for a good beginner banjo to play, you need to check out the top brands and compare. Don’t just take the salesman’s word for it. Do some research, read the reviews and test out those different brands.