Best Banjo 2017 Reviews – Top Banjo Brands That Make A Great Instrument

Looking for the Best Banjo for beginners, or the best banjo for the money? Before guitars became cool and mainstream, banjos were the ideal instrument to play as a substitute. In the past couple of years, it started to make a popular comeback thanks to celebrity artists like Taylor Swift, Avett Brothers, and more. People usually associate the Banjo as a mini version of the guitar and in some ways, that’s true. While both the instruments are very similar in many ways, they are different and unique.

We’ve compiled a guide to help walk you through the banjo from start to finish. We have reviewed the top 5 banjos we think are worthy of buying.

Top 5 Best Banjo Music Instruments Comparison Chart

  • 5-String Banjo By Jameson Guitars
  • Number Of Strings: 5
  • Style: Traditional
  • Dexterity: Right-Handed
  • Item Weight: 9.9 pounds
  • Package Dimensions: 45.6 x 17.9 x 6 inches
  • Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo
  • Number Of Strings: 5
  • Style: Varies
  • Dexterity: Right Handed
  • Item Weight: 4 pounds
  • Package Dimensions: 37.8 x 11.8 x 3.8 inches
  • 6-String Banjo By Jameson Guitars
  • Number Of Strings: 6
  • Style: Multiple
  • Dexterity: Right Handed
  • Item Weight: 10.4 pounds
  • Package Dimensions: 45.6 x 18.6 x 5.3 inches
  • Pyle PBJ20 8-String Mandolin-Banjo Hybrid
  • Number Of Strings: 8
  • Style: Multiple
  • Dexterity: Right-Handed
  • Item Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Package Dimensions: 10.2 x 24.5 x 3.8 inches
  • Pyle-Pro PBJ60 5-String Banjo
  • Number Of Strings: 5
  • Style: Varies
  • Dexterity: Right Handed
  • Item Weight: 7.2 pounds
  • Package Dimensions: 4.5 x 39 x 16.8 inches
Our Best Banjo Pick : 5-String Banjo By Jameson Guitars

5-String Banjo By Jameson Guitars

Our Most Recommended banjo is 5-String Banjo By Jameson Guitars. Jameson Guitars has started to gain traction in the banjo community over the years for the quality banjos they produce. The 5-String Banjo By Jameson Guitars is a solid Bluegrass banjo that we feel is the best banjo for beginners. Considered an entry level banjo, this 5-string banjo is one of the most popular banjos in the market.

5 Bestselling Banjo Reviews

Read our top banjo reviews below before buying the perfect one for you.

1. 5-String Banjo By Jameson Guitars – Luxurious Banjo Instrument

Best Banjo

5-String Banjo By Jameson Guitars

5-String Banjo By Jameson Guitars5-String Banjo By Jameson Guitars

  • Strings: 5
  • Music Style: Traditional
  • Wood Type: Mahogany
  • Open or Closed Back: Mahogany resonator with 7 ply maple shell
  • Finish: Glossy
  • Manufacturer: R.W. Jameson

Our first banjo on the list is a 5-String Banjo By Jameson Guitars. Jameson Guitars has started to gain traction in the banjo community over the years for the banjos they produce. The 5-String Banjo By Jameson Guitars is a solid Bluegrass banjo that’s a perfect banjo for beginners. Considered an entry level banjo, this 5-string banjo is one of the most popular banjos in the market for the aspiring banjo player, or for more advanced players.

Features

  • Strings: The banjo by Jameson guitars currently uses 5 strings.
  • Geared 5th Tuner: With a 5th string tuner mounted along its neck, tuning and adjusting the playability of the banjo comes very easy. This feature is usually found in more expensive banjos.
  • Performance: The banjo features 24 brackets, an adjustable tailpiece, and a maple wood finished bridge.
  • Quality: The banjo is completed with a high gloss finish from top to bottom to give it that crispy and luxurious feel. Designed to mimic the playability and quality of a higher quality banjo, the 5-string banjo by Jameson Guitars is made to impress.
  • Great Experience: Whether you’re starting out as a beginner or returning to Bluegrass music as a veteran, this 5 string banjo by Jameson Guitars is perfect for everyone at all skill levels.
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Good for playing BlueGrass banjo music
  • Designed for both beginners and veterans
  • Incredibly affordable and great quality
  • Produces high quality sound
  • Ergonomic design makes it a great feel and fit to the hands

Cons

  • The neck sometimes wiggle and is not so bad
  • Sound can sometimes be a little off

Conclusion

Overall, the 5-String Banjo By Jameson Guitars is an outstanding starter banjo if you’re new. In addition to a quality price, you get a great quality banjo at a fraction of what you’d pay for their more expensive counterparts. It comes finished in a nice gloss and  it is constructed from quality mahogany wood.

2. Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo – Best Lightweight Beginner Banjo

Banjo Reviews

  • Strings: 5
  • Music Style: Varies
  • Wood Type: Maple
  • Open or Closed Back: Openback
  • Finish: Satin
  • Weight: 4 lbs
  • Warranty: 6 years

Deering over the last several years have started to improve their game and presence in the banjo market. The Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo is one of the most popular banjos and is highly recommended among the banjo community. Praised as one of the best banjos, the sound and durability of the Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo has built a loyal customer base for Deering over the last decade.

Features

  • Three-Ply Maple Rim: The Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo is American made that sports a slim, maple neck with a 3-ply maple rim.
  • Tuners: It’s constructed with sealed geared tuners and the tailpiece is easily adjustable by the user.
  • High Quality Finish: The gorgeous maple is completed with a smooth satin with its metal components plated by nickel.
  • Adjustable Action: The coordinator rod attached to the banjo allows easy adjustments to change the tone and sound of the instrument.
  • Pricing: At a competitive price, the Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo is an incredible steal at a great price.
  • Open-Back: While the Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo is an open-back banjo, it can easily play a variety of traditional and folk music.
  • Lightweight Design: Its lightweight design makes it portable for traveling, hiking, and camping.
  • Great Experience: Whether you’re a professional musician looking to add a bit of flare to your style or a casual player, the Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo is a great addition to any musician’s inventory.
  • Warranty: This banjo comes with a warranty of 6 years for repairs and malfunctions.
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Banjo comes professionally packaged for safe transport
  • High quality wood helps make beautiful sound
  • Portable design ideal for many traveling options
  • Produces high quality sound
  • Quality materials make it soft on the hands for playing bunjos

Cons

  • Does not come with a gig bag or case, but can be purchased cheaply
  • Slightly more expensive than other banjos

Conclusion

The Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo is a masterpiece by Deering. Constructed from fine materials and designed for the ideal musician, the Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo is highly praised by many satisfied customers. If you’re looking for a second banjo to add, or even something new to start out with, the Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo will go beyond your expectations.

3. 6-String Banjo By Jameson Guitars – Good Quality Banjo

Best Banjo For Beginners

6-String Banjo By Jameson Guitars

6-String Banjo By Jameson Guitars

6-String Banjo By Jameson Guitars

6-String Banjo By Jameson Guitars

  • Strings: 6
  • Music Style: Multiple
  • Wood Type: A combination of mahogany and maple
  • Open or Closed Back: Openback
  • Finish: Gloss
  • Weight: 10.4 lbs

Another banjo that’s featured on our banjo reviews list is a 6 string banjo by Jameson Guitars. As previously mentioned on their 5 string banjo, the six string banjo is another masterpiece by Jameson. It’s designed to tune and play like a guitar and constructed from a mixture of wood.

Features

  • Wood Type: The 6 string banjo by Jameson Guitars is finely pieced together from various types of wood. The resonator that’s attached to the back is built from mahogany while the shell derives from maple.
  • Glossy Finish: A high gloss finish added to the duo of woods makes the 6 string banjo by Jameson Guitars one of the most unique and beautiful banjos out in the market.
  • Performance: The banjo sports 24 brackets, with a maple bridge, and an easy to adjust tailpiece.
  • Dimensions: The 6 string banjo by Jameson Guitars is currently 38 inches in length and comes with a 26.5 inch neck. Although slightly bigger than other banjos, this full size banjo is highly recommended to anyone at any age.
  • Fun To Play: Regardless of your skill, the 6 string banjo by Jameson Guitars is suitable for anyone at all levels.
  • Lightweight: The 6 string banjo comes at a comfortable weight of 10.4 pounds.
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Strings produced from high quality steel
  • High quality material from head to toe
  • Affordable for any budget
  • Sharp and glossy design gives it a modernized look
  • Easy and comfortable to hold

Cons

  • A little bit larger than most banjos but shouldn’t be an issue
  • The action can be a little bit tough

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a quality, full sized banjo, then consider the 6 string banjo by Jameson Guitars. They’re a company built on quality at affordable prices and this is precisely why we have their 5 string banjo at the top of our list. It’s well constructed and produces a melodic sound that’s perfect for any type of music genre.

4. Pyle PBJ20 8-String Mandolin-Banjo Hybrid – Passionable Banjo

Banjo Instrument

  • Strings: 8
  • Music Style: Multiple
  • Wood Type: Rosewood and Sapele Wood
  • Open Or Closed Back: Flat back
  • Finish: Gloss
  • Weight: 4.2 lbs

The Pyle PBJ20 8-String banjo hybrid is an odd instrument. It’s a beautiful blend between a mandolin and banjo, and that is why it has 8 strings instead of the 4 to 6 that a normal banjo has. However, the uniqueness of this hybrid instrument is the variety of sounds it makes that other instruments can’t.

Features

  • Beautifully Constructed: The Pyle PBJ20 8-String banjo hybrid is a beautiful fusion of both a mandolin and banjo.
  • Hybrid Design: The body resembles the banjo and the neck tunes like a mandolin. The purpose of this mixed instrument was to bring a new level of creativity to the banjo market with a tribute to the mandolin.
  • Different Wood Finishes: It’s polished with a Sapele wood body, a mahogany headstock, and rosewood fretboard.
  • A Touch Of Nostalgia: Musicians that long for the nostalgia of a mandolin will soon discover the euphoria of their addictive sounds through the beautiful hybrid melodies of the Pyle PBJ20 8-String banjo hybrid. The Pyle PBJ20 8-String banjo hybrid is the best of both words for both mandolin and banjo players alike.
  • Flat Back: The Pyle PBJ20-8 is a flat back hybrid banjo.
  • Featherweight: Coming in at 4.2 pounds, the Pyle PBJ20 is possibly the lightest hybrid banjo in the market. This makes it incredibly easy to transport and play on the go.
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Produces beautiful sound
  • Unique design makes it easy and fun to play
  • Small, compact, and lightweight for travel
  • Constructed from high quality wood with a beautiful finish
  • Incredibly affordable

Cons

  • Not designed for beginners but shouldn’t be an issue
  • Can sometimes be difficult to tune

Conclusion

Overall, the Pyle PBJ20 8-String banjo hybrid is a rare mixed beauty. Perfectly combining the banjo and mandolin, the Pyle PBJ20 8-String banjo hybrid plays just like its two parent instruments. For the quality and passion the Pyle PBJ20 8-String banjo hybrid exudes, the price point is an incredible steal.

5. Pyle-Pro PBJ60 5-String Banjo – Best Banjo For Beginners

How Many Strings Does A Banjo Have

  • Strings: 5
  • Music Style: Varies
  • Wood Type: Combination of Rosewood and Maplewood
  • Open or Closed Back: Closedback
  • Finish: Gloss
  • Weight: 7.2 lbs

Our last instrument on the list is the Pyle-Pro PBJ60 5-String Banjo. Considered one of the top selling banjos, the Pyle-Pro PBJ60 5-String Banjo comes with an introductory price that’s perfect for all budgets. It’s constructed from high quality materials with musicality at its core.

Features & Specifications

  • High Quality Components: The Pyle-Pro PBJ60 5-String Banjo is made from excellent components: A Maplewood bridge, a REMO drumhead, and more.
  • Lightweight: The Pyle-Pro PBJ60 comes in at a modest 7.2 pounds and is measured at 4.5 x 39 x 16.8 inches. This isn’t a banjo that you would consider to be portable and small, but the quality materials and beautiful sound it produces makes up for its lack of portability.
  • Great For Beginners: The Pyle-Pro PBJ60 5-String Banjo is considered a top choice for beginner enthusiasts.
  • Finish: The Pyle-Pro PBJ60 is completed with a glossy finish.
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High quality components help make a great tone
  • Can be easily be played by children
  • Great starter banjo at affordable prices
  • Easy to strum with

Cons

  • Does not come with a case but it can be bought separately
  • Packaging is sometimes not great

Conclusion

The Pyle-Pro PBJ60 5-String Banjo is another great choice for a starter banjo. It comes with a glossy finish made from high quality materials. The price is reasonable and fits all types of budgets from beginners to veterans. If you are searching for a best starter banjo, the Pyle-Pro PBJ60 5-String Banjo is a fantastic choice.

What Is A Banjo?

By the dictionary definition, a banjo is a stringed music instrument that’s similar to the guitar with a long neck and hoop area similar to a tambourine. The banjo is played by plucking the strings, similar to a guitar. Usually, the banjo is seen used in American folk music but over the last several years, we’ve seen popularity rise with the instrument in more modern and pop music. The music and sound that banjos make are considerably different than a guitar but both are played the same way.

 The History of The Banjo Instrument

The modern banjo borrows its form from instruments that were used in the Caribbean since the 17th century. It was very common for enslaved individuals to play the banjo back in old America. While the instrument has African origins, it’s used more today as a backup sound to enhance the melody of a song.

Banjo Vs Guitar

The question we’ve all been waiting for: What’s the difference between playing banjo and the guitar? Although both instruments are considerably similar, the difference lies in their build. A banjo is usually a lot smaller than guitars, making it easier to play with a weaker hand.

Most banjos have either four or five strings, while almost all guitars have six. The tuning is also very different. Banjos are commonly tuned up to an open G major setup, with their strings adjusted to G-D-G-B-D as opposed to a guitar being tuned up to E-A-D-G-B-E. Lastly, guitars produce rich and deep sound, while the perfect banjos are usually higher pitched.

How To Choose a Banjo

Which Is Better: Acoustic Or Electric Banjo?

In music, the general rule of thumb is that nothing is better than the other simply because different instruments cater to different needs. Acoustic banjos produce a much different sound than an electric banjo, and picking one of either boils down to preference. Acoustic banjos are usually considered more versatile while electric banjos tend to mimic electric guitars. Both the acoustic and electric guitars are fine choices, but do remember that one type of banjo does something that the other type of banjo doesn’t. Our best advice is to try a little of both at your local music shop to do a realistic comparison.

How Many Strings Does A Banjo Have?

While banjos comes in all shapes and sizes, the number of strings that come attached to them also vary. Here’s a list of best banjos and number of strings that they usually have:

  • 4 String Banjo: 4 strings
  • 5 String Banjo: 5 strings
  • 6 String Banjo: 6 strings
  • Hybrid Banjo: 6 strings
  • Parlor Banjo: 5 strings
  • Long Neck Banjos: 5 strings
  • Plectrum Banjos: 4 strings

Banjos in general usually come with 4 to 6 strings, depending on the type you get. The most common is 5 stringed banjos. 5 stringed banjos are usually used for traditional styles and genres of music, such as old time folk music or bluegrass. 5 stringed banjos are usually constructed with an exposed back, or even a resonator, depending on the genre of music you want to play.

The number of strings on a banjo are important because they produce a different type of sound and also allow for more flexibility as far as the genre goes. While best banjos were traditionally played on 5 strings in the past, nowadays, artists look to switch things up to create their own unique style. If done properly, the banjo can create a different and unique sound that’s rarely heard with other types of instruments.

Open Backed Banjos Or Closed Back Banjos?

Banjos are usually put together with an open back, or a closed back, sometimes known as a resonator. The difference between the two are usually the playing styles. Musicians typically use open backed banjos to play folk style music, while banjos that have resonators are used in bluegrass music.

Other than these two major differences in the music style, there aren’t many other differences. However, another important difference to note is the tone that’s produced from these two banjos. Open back banjos usually push sound out from the front while the resonator banjo does it from the back.

Factors To Consider While Choosing The Best Rated Banjo For Beginners

How To Choose Banjo

The marketplace for banjos is very large and it grows as musicians seek creativity and uniqueness in their own musical style. While there are a number of banjos out in the market, there are a number of different things to consider when buying a banjo. We’ve compiled a list of the most important factors that you should watch out for when buying an ideal banjo:

Banjo Straps
Banjo Capo
Banjo Cases & Gig Bags
Banjo Strings
Rim
Head/Bridge
Tailpiece
Tension Hoop
Coordinator Rod(Upper & Lower)
Peghead/Tuners
Neck/Fingerboard
Nut
Material Quality
Tone Ring
Resonator

Also Read : How To Find The 88 Key Weighted Keyboard

Types Of Banjos Wood

Banjos are usually made from different types of wood. The most common are Mahogany, Maple, and Walnut. Depending on the quality of the banjo parts, each part can be made with a different type of wood. Banjos are mostly made out of Maple wood. The finest quality banjos are usually made out of Walnut wood. Mahogany is equally as good as both Maple and Walnut, but also gives you a deeper tone. In comparison, all three types of banjos wood are great, but the preference all comes down to the sound that each type of banjo makes.

How Much Does A Banjo Cost?

Banjos comes in all different shapes and sizes and so do the price. Lower end banjos will be worth about $50 while higher end banjos will fall into the $5,000 range and more. For beginners, it’s advised to start with a budget banjo at a price range of about $100 to $500.

Related Category : What Are The Best Record Players

How To Play A Banjo

While we can’t teach you how to play a banjo, we can say that if you’ve ever played a guitar, it’s very similar. In fact, a lot of guitar players will find that banjo are easy to pick up. The bunjos are the easiest string instrument to learn. The best way to learn how to play a banjo, is seeking a local music store to see if they have lessons available. If you’re more adventurous, you may even consider teaching yourself how to play through the internet. There are lots of Youtube videos available and other resources that can help you improve your skill. Like all instruments, the more time you commit to practicing the better you’ll sound. Consistency is key.

Conclusion

The banjo is a fascinating instrument that has origins back to old America. Although it’s been phased out over the last few decades, we can see that it’s making a popular comeback in mainstream music. The best banjo adds a certain level of uniqueness to music styles and popular artists like Taylor Swift has been seen using one. In the music world, there’s no shortage of creative ways to make your style stand out. From the above banjo reviews, you can consider choosing the perfect one for you.

Related Link : How To Find The Perfect Electric Guitar

Reference Links :

“History of the Banjo”Bluegrassbanjo.org

“Contra bass banjo – Minstrel Banjo”. Minstrelbanjo.ning.com

“George Formbys Little Strad banjolele up for sale”The Times. London