Learning a banjo requires you to learn the basics about it, then try out a beginner banjo version and move to the next level. While you go for an instrument that is perfect for beginners, it doesn’t mean that it can play only few chords and tune or it cannot be played as an advance instrument. When an instrument is specifically designed for beginners, this means it is easier to learn it and then move to a complex one as that might include some extra strings or chords that you cannot have on a beginner’s instrument.
This guide will get you through some of the best Banjos for beginners along with the buying guide that will help you select the most suitable banjo for yourself. Many people confuse themselves between a banjo and a guitar. But they are both quite a lot different in terms of tunes that both of them can play and the volume that it creates. It is said that with a 5-string banjo, you can also play guitar tunes and banjo creates larger volume as compared to a guitar.
- What is Banjo and How it Works?
- Best Banjos for Beginners
- How to Choose the Best Banjo for Beginners
What is Banjo and How it Works?
The banjo is a popular stringed instrument. It includes a thin membrane that is normally circular in shape. The membrane is extended over a frame to form a resonator. Mostly, animal skin and plastic are used to make the membrane. The Banjo is used mainly in folk and rock music. Nowadays, Banjos are available in 4,5 and 6 stringed versions – learn 5-string banjo with us.
Banjos usually have a drum that resonates according to the vibration of strings. It is widely used just like the guitar in musical shows and in the cafeteria. When we pluck the Banjo, it produces sound much more than the sound produced by the guitar. We can see a lot of variations in the type of banjos. If you are a beginner, then a thin string is advisable. There are the best banjos available in the market for sale. You should check the reviews about different banjo before buying one.
Best Banjos for Beginners
The most significant step in the process of learning banjo is selecting the most suitable one. Some of the banjos are exactly made for those who studied at the advanced level. Before the selection of banjos, we should check the prices of them and choose wisely as per the budget. The instruments are usually expensive. Slimmer necks are more comfortable to play if you are a beginner.
Jameson 5 string banjo is one of the most popular, high-quality 5-string banjos. The back portion is closed and made solid with mahogany. The bridge is made from maple and it has 24 brackets. This type of banjo provides you with all the classic tones of a traditional 5 string banjo.
It suits well for folk, bluegrass, and also modern rock playlists. The cost is less compared to the other brands. It is already assembled and it is quite simple to use. There are no prerequisites like installing the bridge or string fixing.
If you are a beginner or pro player, you can use this type as it is comfortable and easy for all users. It has an amazing design that gives a splendid look.
- We can easily tune them
- The resonator can also be easily removed
- The perfect tuning and versatile sound increase its demand
- Produces high-quality sound
- Replacing the resonator is a bit problematic
Deering good time 5 string banjo is best known for its sound quality. If you really want to buy a banjo with high-quality sound and durability, this is the best option to choose from. This brand has a 6-year warranty period.
The chances of wear and tear are very less in this brand. Maple is used for making both the neck and the resonator portion. A satin finish is also provided along with that.
Ebony and maple are used to make the ⅝ bridge. The Maple rim has a diameter of 11 inches. The string height can be easily adjusted by moving the coordinator rod in the pot. They get close to the fingerboard after adjustment. The tuners are perfectly sealed.
- It is a superb choice for beginners and experts.
- The weight makes it suitable for both adults and children.
- A good time tailpiece is also used here
- No stress rods
The Epiphone MB-200 is a full-size lightweight banjo. It features a Remo banjo head, Mahogany, my body and neck, a Rosewood fingerboard with a floral inlay pattern, a traditional Rosewood bridge, Chrome-plated hardware.
This banjo is very attractive in looks as it reminds a classic glimpse. The playability is very high. With an affordable price, you can enjoy the tones as it has a rich sound and high flexibility. The instrument can stay in tune with no obstructions or difficulties.
The user finds sometimes difficulty in using it as it requires the assistance of a local music store to adjust and set up the bridge. Often the instrument is packed after disassembling it. So, we have to assemble the parts for long term use. The floral inlay pattern is so gorgeously designed.
- Good finish
- Best intermediate banjo
- Remo banjo head
- It is required to assemble the parts with local store
Pyle Pro 5 string banjo has an attractive gloss finish chrome-plated hardware. The rosewood fingerboard and Maple wood bridge are lovely to see. The friction peg is the another important feature of this banjo.
This type of Banjo produces incredible music. The light weighted nature is perfect for traveling people. It is perfectly designed both for children and adults. The vibrant mood outlined by the playing of this banjo enriches our soul.
The chrome-plated hardware is providing a dazzling look to the banjo along with the classic style. Instead of aluminum, the layered wood rim is used in this type of banjos. It is a good starter banjo.
- Lightweight in nature
- The slim neck
- Affordable high-quality materials are used for its making
- It lacks a geared peg needed for the 5th string tuner
- It has a remote drum head
This type of banjo can last for many years. It is very comfortable to play them as it has low string action. It is considered to be one of the fantastic banjos that can be tried by a beginner.
It is considered to be the best starter banjo mainly due to the demand it had during the previous years. The major peculiarity of this type is the Brass tone ring and 2-way adjustable truss rod. The black binding is present on the resonator part of this banjo.
It is well known for producing the perfect tone, resonance, perfect pitch etc Because of the impressive looks, this banjo is a favorite among the music lovers. It is one of the best inexpensive banjos. Gold tone CC 100 R is one of the inexpensive banjos under $500
- Maple neck and rim
- Convertible resonator
- Straight-line tailpiece
- High-quality parts which cannot be replaced quickly
The OB5 banjo is considered to be one of the most used and reputed five-string banjos in the world. When we play this banjo, the mind will get enriched with a hilarious mood. It is affordable for anyone.
It possesses a 30-bracket cast-aluminum tone ring, resonator made from mahogany, and geared 5th string tuner. The fretboard is made from rosewood and has 22 frets.
The resonator is made from mahogany wood so it can only produce a warmer tone compared to that of the superior quality maple wood resonator. The resonator is removable in nature. It has a fixed bridge system and back material is made from acacia wood. It possess a rosewood fancy fingerboard inlay.
- 30 bracket cast aluminum tone ring
- Rosewood fingerboard
- Brand affordable price
- We can’t ensure the sound quality
- The neck is a little narrow
- Mainly for the beginners’ level
How to Choose the Best Banjo for Beginners
Before you purchase any instrument, you must know what are your requirements and which banjo will suit you the best. So, here are the factors that you must look for while choosing a banjo for yourself as a beginner.
1. Features of the Instrument
Tuning – In the matter of tuning, you must select Geared Tuners. Geared tunes greatly prevent the chances of falling out of the tune by accurate coordination.
Multiple Coordinator Rods – If you really need a high-quality tone and a vibrant ambiance, then these rods are essential for your professional purposes.
Truss Rod – It’s a very important thing to make the neck of the banjo stable. The truss rod facilitates it smoothly by balancing the forward bending of the neck
Wood – The best banjos are always made from Maple as it helps in producing a highly clear sound. Mahogany can produce a warmer tone.
Brass Tone Ring – If you are using a beginner banjo, then it is advisable to use a brass tone ring to create a huge impact on sound quality. Then it will be the best beginner banjo.
Multi-layer Rim – This feature generates an additive sound clarity and quality to the banjo. It helps also intoning.
2. Open Vs Closed Resonator
We must check the differences between open back and closed back banjos before selecting them. The design features are similar for both types, still, it differs in the volume, toning, and sound features
This type of banjo has very low volume and normally it has no back cover. The open sound chamber is the most distinguishing feature. Even though it has a classic look, it tries to retain the original Banjo design in its perfect way. We can play Clawhammer style using this type of banjo. It’s harmonious to hear the music as it produces soft sound if you try traditional, mountain styles.
The typical feature of the closed-back banjo is the Wooden ‘bowl’ resonator. This type can cover the sound chamber and cause a louder voice. The bluegrass style can be amazingly played using this type and it produces a sharp sound. In this type, strings are placed closer to the fretboard. Compared to the open back type, this is much heavier.
3. Left-Handed vs Right-Handed
Many of the instruments can be played using both hands and there is no difference between the usage of the right hand or left hand. But in the case of stringed instruments like banjo and guitar, one hand is usually placed at the string and the other hand may be at the musical notes written in a book.
So, both hands are inevitable in the case of a banjo player. But the majority of the banjo players are right-handed. Even though this is true, Deering produces a lot of left-handed versions nowadays. Deering good time banjos are the best banjo brands perfectly made for left-hand users.
4. Type of Banjo
There are different types of banjos to choose from. There are 4-string banjos, 5-string and other types that you will find in the learn the banjo guide. Most of the new learners try out with 5-string banjos as it plays folk as well as rock music. With a 5-string banjo, you can even play tunes of a guitar. If you wish to compose a musical piece, then you will get a perfect tune using a 5-string banjo as you get a variety of chords and strings to choose from.
5. Banjo Anatomy
You might get confused and worried about starting banjo lessons when you will look at the below picture. But it isn’t that difficult to remember. Initially, you might not want to learn everything, then you can start of with the basic parts of the banjo and slowly get to learn more parts. Do not rush to learn it all at once. While choosing a banjo, you must look for the instrument that has the anatomy fixed as discussed in the picture below.
6. Banjo Wood
The most convenient and long-lasting banjo wood is maple. The wood used in the neck of the banjo is different for different brands. They may use mahogany which is a gentle wood that plays warm sounds and produces slower response.
Maple produces a crisp and sharp sound that is high in volume but you can play soft as well as loud songs on it. And the least known wood is walnut which gives a light warm and brighter sound which is in-between sound that mahogany or maple woods produce.
All the banjos listed in the above list are perfect for the beginners. You can try out using any of them after going through what is your need. When you learn the elements of music, you will be able to compose the music even better. It is important to choose a light weight instrument to hold on to it for longer and get comfortable with it while playing it.