Best Beginner Banjo

Best Beginner Banjo: Our Top Picks!

In this article, we will take a look at the best beginner banjo for those inspired to take up this fascinating instrument.

As a lifelong guitar player, I’ve started taking up the banjo myself and it’s been quite an interesting journey.

The best way to learn any new instrument is by starting with a quality beginner’s model.

This is especially true for the banjo, which can be quite challenging to play if you are not used to it.

In this article, we will take a look at some of the best banjo for beginners on the market.

These reviews should help you choose the perfect banjo for your needs.

What do you need to know?

If you’re just starting, it might be helpful to know some of the basics about choosing a banjo.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Type of Banjos

There are four main types of banjos: tenor (4 string banjos), plectrum, six-string banjos, traditional 5 string banjos and long neck.

Most beginners will want to start with a 5-string banjo, as they are the most popular and versatile.

Now that we’ve covered some basics, let’s take a look at our top ten picks for best banjo for beginners.

Best Beginner 5 String Banjo Overall

Deering Goodtime 2 5-String Banjo

Our top overall pick is more on the pricey side but it’s a 5-string banjo that you will have for a lifetime.

The Deering Goodtime 5-string is a high-quality and American-made making this banjo perfect for beginners.

This model has a single-bound maple resonator giving it a rich, golden tone and it weighs just six pounds – about the weight of a guitar.

It also features a rich, golden tone with plenty of reverberation, thanks to the resonator.

If you’re looking for an affordable option that still offers quality construction and sound, the Deering Goodtime 5 string banjo is hard to beat.

The Goodtime Two also has a natural blonde maple finish with a satin finish to protect it.

If the volume is important to you, you’ll appreciate the difference between an open-back banjo and the Goodtime Two.

With its resonator, this banjo projects sound waves much better than an open-back model and this gives you a bigger sound that’s perfect for playing with others or performing live.

If you’re looking for a 5-string banjo with a resonator, the Deering Goodtime Two is a great option.

Pros

Pros

  • Excellent quality and sound.
  • Made in the USA.
  • Single bound maple resonator for rich, golden tone.
  • Lightweight.
  • Sleek satin finish for protection.
  • High quality.

Cons

Cons

  • More on the expensive side than some beginner banjos on the market.

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Best Beginner Banjo on a Budget

Ibanez B50 5-String Banjo Natural

If you’re looking for a quality beginner 5-string banjo on a budget, the Ibanez B50 is a great option.

This model has a mahogany back and sides with a mahogany neck and it also features an 11-inch Remo coated weatherking banjo head and open-gear tuners.

The B50 delivers a sweet, mellow sound that is perfect for beginners.

This banjo also has a natural mahogany finish with black binding that looks great and protects the wood from wear and tear.

With a great tone and an affordable price, this is a great choice for someone just starting out.

One of the best things about this banjo is that it comes ready to set up right out of the box.

Pros

Pros

  • Affordable price tag.
  • Features open-gear tuners.
  • Lightweight and easy to carry.
  • Mahogany construction for rich sound.
  • Comes set up right out of the box – no tuning necessary!
  • Rosewood fingerboard.

Cons

Cons

  • May not be suitable for more experienced players.

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Best Beginner Banjo Under $ 600

Gold Tone CC-100R Cripple Creek Banjo with Resonator

If you’re looking for a quality beginner banjo that is also convertible, the Gold Tone CC-100R is a great option.

This model has a maple neck with a two-way adjustable truss rod and separate rosewood fretboard, a hard-rock maple rim with twin coordinator rods, and it’s CONVERTIBLE!

The natural-blonde finished CC-100R has a resonator that’s easily removed for true open-back playing, helping new players become comfortable with different playing styles with just one banjo.

Gold Tone’s superb factory setup in Florida further adds to the CC-100R’s value making this a great 5-string banjo option for those that are looking.

With its superior construction and sound, the Gold Tone CC-100R is perfect for both new and experienced players alike.

Pros

Pros

  • Maple neck with the two-way adjustable truss rod and separate rosewood fretboard.
  • Hard-rock maple rim with twin coordinator rods for superior construction.
  • Resonator easily removed for true open-back playing.
  • Beautiful natural blonde finish.
  • Factory set up in Florida.
  • Rich, golden tone with plenty of reverberation.

Cons

Cons

  • Even though it’s set up, action may need to be adjusted to personal liking.

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Best Beginner Banjo Under $300

Pyle, 5 String Banjo Resonator Starter Kit

If you’re looking for a quality beginner banjo, the Pyle resonator starter kit is a great option.

This all-in-one set includes everything you need to start playing, including a gig bag, digital tuner, spare strings, three finger picks, cleaning cloth, and detachable shoulder strap with hanger.

The professional full-size 38.60″ instrument has a tunable 5 string banjo with 24 brackets and 22 frets equipped with a classic traditional style binding design.

It also features a coated and polished rich wood finish with chrome-plated hardware/accents.

With its resonator, this banjo projects sound waves much better than an open-back model giving you a bigger, richer tone.

The Pyle resonator starter kit is perfect for any beginner looking to learn how to play the banjo.

This 5-string banjo also features heavy-duty hardware, an adjustable truss rod, pearl color tuner pegs, and a geared fifth string tuner.

This banjo also has a rich and polished Sapele wood resonator, high-density man-made wood fingerboard, and Remo milky skin banjo top.

It is designed to sound as good as it looks and comes with a Maplewood bridge stand and truss rod adjustment tool.

Pros

Pros

  • Rich, polished Sapele wood resonator.
  • High-density man-made wood fingerboard.
  • Remo milky skin banjo top.
  • Heavy-duty hardware.
  • Adjustable truss rod.
  • Pearl color tuner pegs.

Cons

Cons

  • Action may need to be adjusted.

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Best Beginner Banjo Long Neck

Gold Tone Maple Mountain MM-150LN

If you are just starting on the banjo, the Gold Tone Maple Mountain MM-150LN is a great choice for a first banjo.

It features an accurate replica of the vintage and highly sought after three-part White Ladye tone ring coupled with a half-inch rim for maximum air chamber volume.

Other features include a maple neck, rosewood fingerboard with snowflake inlays, and vintage Friabanks style headstock design.

This banjo also features planetary tuners, eleven Renaissance heads, Vega style armrest, and a No Knot tailpiece.

Final assembly and complete setup are performed at the Gold Tone Factory.

This one is tuned one and one-half steps lower than a standard 5-string banjo making the Maple Mountain Series MM-150LN perfectly set up for the best singing keys.

With its superior construction and sound, the Gold Tone CC-100R is perfect for both new and experienced players alike.

Pros

Pros

  • Accurate replica of the vintage three-part White Ladye tone ring.
  • Half-inch rim for maximum air chamber volume.
  • Maple neck with the two-way adjustable truss rod and separate rosewood fretboard.
  • Hard rock maple rim with twin coordinator rods for superior construction.
  • Resonator easily removed for true open-back playing.
  • Beautiful natural blonde finish.
  • Factory set up in Florida.

Cons

Cons

  • Not a standard neck-size banjo.

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Best Beginner Banjo – Tenor

Rover RB-20T Resonator Tenor Banjo

If you are looking for a quality 4-string banjo, the Rover RB-20T Resonator Tenor Banjo is a great option.

This tenor banjo has a slim, fast neck which makes it easy to play just like the professionals.

It also features a resonator with all of the professional features, giving you volume and carrying power to spare.

The lightweight composite rim is an important modern improvement that provides a tone like no other banjo at or near this price point.

Final assembly and complete setup are performed at the Rover Factory.

The Rover RB-20T Resonator Tenor Banjo is perfect for any beginner looking to learn how to play the tenor banjo.

Pros

Pros

  • Slim, fast neck.
  • Resonator with all of the professional features.
  • Lightweight composite rim.
  • Final assembly and complete setup performed at Rover Factory.
  • Clear and bright tone.
  • Perfect for any beginner looking to learn how to play the tenor banjo.

Cons

Cons

  • The string nut is very delicate.

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Best Beginner Banjo – Plectrum 

Rover RB-20P Plectrum 4 String Banjo

If you are looking for a quality plectrum banjo, the Rover RB-20P Plectrum Banjo is a great option.

This banjo has a standard 11″ rim made of composite material in metallic gun grey finish with grooved tension hoop.

It also features standard spacing using 24 Flat hooks and a nut set for head attachment.

This banjo also has a deluxe Vega style armrest, traditional No knot tailpiece, and an exquisite mahogany neck with East Indian Rosewood fingerboard.

Inlaid dot position markers adjustable truss rod, guitar-style geared tuners, make this banjo very attractive to the eye.

This 4-string banjo’s tuning is set to CGBD.

The Rover RB-20P Plectrum Banjo is perfect for any beginner looking to learn how to play the plectrum banjo.

Pros

Pros

  • Standard 11″ rim made of composite material in metallic gun grey finish.
  • Grooved tension hoop.
  • Standard spacing using 24 Flat hooks and nut set for head attachment.
  • Deluxe Vega-style armrest.
  • Traditional No knot tailpiece.
  • Exquisite mahogany neck with East Indian Rosewood fingerboard
  • Guitar-style geared tuners.

Cons

Cons

  • Not a 5 string banjo.

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Best Beginner 6 Sring Banjo Overall

Washburn Americana Series B6-A 6-string Open Back Banjo

The Washburn Americana Series B-66-A is the best beginner banjo if you are interested in 6-string banjos.

This banjo comes with a natural finish, and it also has D’Addario J60+ light gauge strings.

The chrome die-cast tuners make it easy to keep the banjo in tune, and the engraved gold armrest adds to playing comfort.

The distressed Remo head looks cool and has a warmer, fuller tone.

The ebony-tipped maple bridge provides pristine articulation and an engraved Gold armrest add to playing comfort.

The ebony-tipped bridge also provides the best transfer of tone.

The mahogany rim, mahogany neck with 22 fret alternative/engineered/Tech wood Fingerboard, and smooth action die-cast tuners make it a joy to play.

Pros

Pros

  • Mahogany Rim and Neck.
  • Engraved Gold Armrest.
  • Distressed Authentic Remo Head.
  • Ebony tipped maple bridge.
  • Fuller and bold tone.
  • Lightweight.

Cons

Cons

  • Action may need to be adjusted.

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Best Beginner 6 String Banjo on a Budget

Jameson 6-String Banjo Guitar 

On a budget? This is another great pick if you are looking for a 6-string banjo.

It is crafted from the finest woods, with a five-ply maple and mahogany shell, mahogany neck, closed-back mahogany resonator, laurel fretboard, and Remo Weatherking drum head.

This instrument offers distinctive and beautiful sound characteristics perfect for playing bluegrass, clawhammer folk, country, and rock tunes.

Chrome-plated closed geared tuners make it easy to keep the banjo in tune, and the adjustable tailpiece and truss rod ensures that you will be able to set the action to your playing preference.

The included gig bag makes transport a breeze, and, at just under ten pounds, this instrument is lightweight enough for even novice players to carry around with ease.

If you are looking for an affordable 6-string banjo that doesn’t sacrifice quality or sound, the Jameson Six-String Banjo Guitar should be at the top of your list.

Pros

Pros

  • Perfect for bluegrass, folk, country, and rock tunes.
  • Chrome-plated closed geared tuners to keep it in tune as you play.
  • Includes gig bag.
  • Mahogany neck and resonator.
  • Maple ebony bridge.
  • Beautiful and clear sound.

Cons

Cons

  • The bridge may need to be upgraded.

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Best Beginner Banjolele

Donner DBU-200 Banjolele

Now let’s take a look at the hybrid of the banjo and the ukulele known as the Banjolele.

The Donner DBU-200 Banjolele is a great choice for any beginner looking to learn how to play the banjo ukulele.

This 4-stringed instrument uses standard ukulele tuning of G-C-E-A, and its Remo Drumhead contributes to a warm, full, and clear tone.

The body of the Donner DBU-200 Banjolele is made of Sapele, enabling it to produce a mellow, and soft sound.

The maple and hardwood bridge is hard enough to prevent the strings from cutting into the bridge, and the easy-to-learn design makes it perfect for beginners.

Comes with a strap, picks, strings, gig bag, tuner, and truss rod.

The Donner DBU-200 Banjolele is the perfect way to start learning how to play this unique hybrid instrument.

Pros

Pros

  • Warm, full, and clear tone from the Remo Drumhead.
  • A mahogany body that produces mellow sounds.
  • Maple and hardwood bridge prevents strings from cutting into the bridge.
  • Easy to learn design perfect for beginners.
  • Comes with a strap, picks, strings, gig bag, tuner, and truss rod.

Cons

Cons

  • Action may need to be adjusted.

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Buyers Guide

Now let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions in our best beginner banjo buyers guide.

What is the easiest banjo to learn to play?

If you are a beginner, the best banjo to learn is the traditional 5-string banjo.

Now, which banjo is the easiest to play could be debatable.

For guitarists learning how to play banjo, the 6-string banjo would be more than likley easiest since it’s just like playing the guitar.

The 5-string banjo has a short neck, which makes it easier to reach the strings.

Can you tune a 5-string banjo like a tenor?

Sure you can!

The 5th string on a tenor banjo is longer than the similar-sounding fifth of an ordinary guitar, so you could just remove that from your instrument.

This was done by many musicians in Dixieland jazz bands at the turn of the20th century who would play with flatpicks instead and standard tune C G B D for their basic strumming chords.

Can you strum a 5 string banjo?

You can strum a 5-string banjo!

5-string banjos are great for learning how to play chords.

However, the 4-string banjo is better suited for strumming.

Remember, it’s your banjo and you can play it however you want!

Is it easier to learn a 4-string banjo or a 5-string banjo?

There are many banjo players out there who are wondering if it is easier to learn a 4-string banjo or a 5-string banjo.

Both types of banjos have their own unique set of pros and cons, so making a firm decision can be difficult.

What should I look for when buying my first banjo?

When purchasing your first banjo, be sure to consider what type of music you want to play.

There are 5-string bluegrass banjos, 4-string old-time banjos, Tenor Banjos, Plectrum Banjos, and 6-string banjos.

Is a 4-string banjo good for beginners?

A four-string banjo can be a great choice for a beginner as it uses the same tuning as a ukulele.

What are the best brands of banjos?

Some of the best brands of banjos include Deering, Gibson, Gold Tone, and Washburn.

What are the benefits of learning how to play the banjo?

The banjo is a very versatile instrument that can be used to play a variety of genres such as bluegrass, country, folk, and rock.

It is also an affordable instrument when compared to other stringed instruments like the guitar.

Is it easier to learn banjo or guitar?

Everyone may have a different answer to this. Since I started playing guitar first, I will say the guitar is easier to learn.

There is an interesting transition to learning the banjo since your mind is so engrained with how the guitar operates.

It just depends on the type of player you are and how quickly you can pick up one or the other.

How do you get started on your journey to becoming a banjo master?

Start by picking up an entry-level banjo and finding a tutorial video or lesson plan to help you get started.

There are many great resources available online, including our own best beginner banjo buyers guide.

Be sure to practice regularly and have fun!

What are the different styles of music played on the banjo?

The banjo can be used to play a variety of genres such as bluegrass, country, folk, and rock.

The 5-string banjo is used mostly in bluegrass, while the six-string banjo can be used to play a variety of genres.

The 4-string banjo is mostly used for Dixieland music and old-time country music.

The tenor banjo is best for jazz and ragtime music, and the plectrum banjo is best for playing popular songs from the 1930s and 1940s.

What are some famous banjo players?

Some of the most famous banjo players include Béla Fleck, Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, Tony Trischka, and famous actor Steve Martin.

Conclusion

We hope you have enjoyed our article on the best beginner banjo.

The banjo is a great instrument to learn.

They are affordable, versatile, and fun.

We would love to hear from you in the comments about your experience learning the banjo or any other tips you may have for beginners.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and remember to always HAVE FUN!

Frank DeMaria
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