Best Banjos

Review & Comparison, Last Update May 31, 2018
If you love country, bluegrass, and folk songs of all times and vibrant banjo sounds make your heart beat faster, you will have a great time learning to play this instrument. We have reviewed the best banjos on the market to help you choose the one to start your musical journey. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Back Style
Strings
Frets
Brackets
Tuners
Extras
Warranty
 
PROS

This Deering banjo is equipped with a single coordinator rod allowing you to adjust the height of the strings so that they will be closer to the fingerboard for better playability.

CONS

The strings are a bit close together which might be inconvenient for users with bigger hands.

OUR VERDICT

Equipped with an 11-inch diameter maple rim, this open back banjo delivers very clear sound. High-quality materials of the rim along with its 3-ply design ensure durable use of the item. Peg tuners work great; the string tension is easy to adjust and the banjo will stay in tune longer.

detailed parameters
Back Style

Open-back

Strings

5

Frets

22, pressed in nickel silver

Brackets

16

Tuners

Sealed geared (incl. 5th string)

Extras

N/A

Warranty

6 years

PROS

Being an excellent choice and a wonderful gift idea for aspiring musicians, this 5-string resonator banjo comes with a beginner user guide that has an extensive chord chart.

CONS

Some users are not quite happy with the brackets quality.

OUR VERDICT

It is easy to move your hand along the fretboard; the banjo's smooth maple fingerboard makes for a great playability and beautiful sound. The item is thoroughly packed and padded to prevent any damage during its shipping.

detailed parameters
Back Style

Closed-back (Resonator) 

Strings

5

Frets

22 

Brackets

24

Tuners

Geared 5th tuner

Extras

Standard banjo tightening tools, Beginner Banjo Guide

Warranty

30 days

PROS

Featuring a 7-ply maple and mahogany shell with a high-gloss finish and a stylish chrome-plated armrest, this Jameson Guitars banjo both plays and looks fantastic.

CONS

With a resonator removed, the item looks not as great as in its closed-back configuration.

OUR VERDICT

If you are looking for a beautiful banjo with a clear sound, here it is. The item is well packed for shipping and it comes ready to play, which makes it a perfect instrument for novice musicians. You can also buy this model with a gig bag included.

detailed parameters
Back Style

Closed-back (Resonator) 

Strings

5

Frets

22

Brackets

24 

Tuners

Geared 5th tuner

Extras

N/A

Warranty

1 year

PROS

Featuring a traditional-style binding design and classic banjo sound, this Pyle banjo is just what you need for performing your favorite country, bluegrass, folk music, and even some rock stuff.

CONS

The hardware could be of better quality.

OUR VERDICT

This closed-back banjo is pretty lightweight; it is just what you need to carry along on a picnic or to the beach. Its polished wood finish and chrome-plated accents make this model look as good as it sounds. A truss rod adjustment tool is included.

detailed parameters
Back Style

Closed-back (Resonator)

Strings

5

Frets

22

Brackets

18

Tuners

Geared 5th tuner

Extras

Maplewood bridge stand, Truss rod adjustment tool

Warranty

1 year

PROS

This 6-string banjo model will be appreciated by guitar players. Due to its close resemblance to guitar, they won't need to spend a lot of time learning how to play it.

CONS

The action is somewhat high. 

OUR VERDICT

This full-size banjo introduced by one of the best string instruments manufacturers delivers a traditional banjo sound. The neck feels comfortable in hands and it is easy to go up and down the frets thanks to its smooth gloss finish.

detailed parameters
Back Style

Closed-back (Resonator)

Strings

6

Frets

22

Brackets

24

Tuners

Diecast enclosed tuners

Extras

N/A

Warranty

1 year

Deering GOODTIME BANJO/ GT

Beautiful Look and Sound

Well-made, stylish, and beautiful, this open-back banjo is a perfect choice for clawhammer style players. To ensure excellent sound and durability of the item, the manufacturer used high-quality tonewoods; this Deering banjo has a three-ply maple rim, rock maple neck, and ebony bridge. For easy and comfortable fingering, the unit is equipped with a low-profile neck; there are hardwood bow tie inlays on its 22-fret fingerboard. Its premium sealed geared tuners will help you tune the strings (including the 5th one) in a breeze. The patented Goodtime tailpiece, both robust and easy to adjust, allows you to experiment with the tone. Moreover, the playability of the instrument can be enhanced by changing the string height which is easy to do using an adjustable single coordinator rod. This model has an 11-inch high crown head and a standard rim diameter with 16 brackets, so it will be easy to find a replacement head.

In a word, if you are looking for a quality instrument by one of the best banjo brands, suitable for both beginners and experienced players, this Deering model is a wonderful choice. This open-back banjo is pretty lightweight too, which makes it a perfect outdoor companion for a music lover.

Review of Deering GOODTIME BANJO/ GT Banjo

 

Resoluute 5 STRING Full Size

Your First Banjo

So, you have made up your mind to master the banjo and you are looking for a quality yet not too expensive beginner model. This Resoluute banjo may be just the one you need. Equipped with a removable mahogany resonator, it can deliver both a brighter sound of a close-back banjo and a mellower tone of an open-back one. In other words, it is equally good for playing a clawhammer and bluegrass banjo styles. Equipped with a Remo drumhead for excellent sound and impact, it has 24 brackets to provide an even tension all around it. The unit has sturdy, easy-to-turn tuning pegs including a geared 5th string tuner. A smooth maple fingerboard allows you to easily change the chords moving up and down the frets.

It is not a secret that fragile things like musical instruments should be transported with care. Whether you are going to use the banjo yourself or give it as a present to your friend, you want it to be delivered undamaged and in perfect condition. That is why the manufacturer has provided an upgraded packaging that will minimize the chance of any unpleasant surprises during shipping.

An added bonus is the included beginner banjo guide with the chords that will help you start mastering the musical instrument of your dream as soon as the box arrives.

Review of Resoluute 5 STRING Full Size Banjo

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Jameson Guitars BJ05RHBANJO

Sounds Great, Looks Great

Jameson Guitars are known for their excellent playability and sound combined with an appealing design. The same goes for this amazing 5-string banjo that features a closed mahogany back with a shiny gloss finish. 7-ply maple and mahogany shell ensure excellent sound and durability of the item so it will be your favorite banjo for years to come. This model has a chrome plated armrest, 24 brackets, a hard maple bridge, and a hinged tailpiece allowing you to adjust the tone of the instrument. With this traditional 5-string banjo you can play bluegrass, country, folk, and experiment with other music styles. By the way, the wooden resonator can be removed in case you are going to practice playing an open-back banjo as well. Made of traditional tonewoods, this moderately-priced banjo has a geared 5th string tuner; high-quality machine heads mean that, on one hand, it is easy to tune the instrument, on the other hand, you won't have to do that too often.

Summing up, this is the best banjo for music lovers who appreciate good sound and style. Very well packed for shipping, the unit arrives in good condition and the only thing you might need before you start practicing is tuning the strings, which is easy to do if you have a quality tuner.

Review of Jameson Guitars BJ05RHBANJO Banjo

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Pyle PBJ60

Make Your Journey Fun

The Pyle PBJ60 not only looks like a traditional classic banjo; it boasts a rich vibrant singing tone, too. It has a beautiful rosewood fretboard with white diamond-shaped inlays and white jade key pegs (including a 5th string geared peg). Next, it features a shabili wood body with a stunning high-gloss finish and stylish chrome-plated hardware. To deliver a bright sound, it is equipped with a REMO M1 drumhead. A truss rod adjustment tool and a Maplewood bridge stand are included in the box.

Usually, resonator banjos are heavier than open-back ones; however, while delivering a loud and bright sound common for closed-back banjos, this model is pretty lightweight. So, you can take it along with you on a travel to play and sing good old country, folk, and bluegrass songs in front of the fire. However, you should also keep in mind that this musical instrument is to be properly maintained to preserve its great sound and looks. For example, it is not recommended to leave the banjo in the sun and it is better to store it in a hard case. It is also important to wipe it off smudges and fingerprints after you've finished practicing and handle it with care overall so you can avoid bumping and damage of the 5th peg. If you follow these simple tips, your Pyle banjo will look like new for years.

Review of Pyle PBJ60 Banjo

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Jameson Guitars 6 String with Closed Back Resonator

Plays and Tunes Like a Guitar

Whether you are a guitar player and you want to get banjo sounds without mastering this 5-string instrument or you are a newcomer looking for a quality beginner banjo, this wonderful model can be a perfect choice. 6-string banjos are very similar to guitars in the way they are played and tuned. However, what you hear when you play it is a bright banjo tone. This sound is created by a Remo head, 7-ply maple and mahogany shell and a mahogany resonator of the unit. This model has a great playability - it has a rosewood fingerboard and smooth mahogany neck making it easy to go up and down the frets. Some users find its action a bit high, however, if needed, you can replace the bridge to adjust the string height. This wonderful banjo has 24 brackets and an adjustable hinged tailpiece. Finally, the item features diecast enclosed tuners for easy tuning and a chrome plated armrest. Thanks to its elaborate design and the high quality of materials used for its manufacturing, this 6-string banjo both looks and sounds terrific. With that, it has an affordable price which makes it an excellent choice for both beginners and musical instruments collectors.

If you are looking to explore unconventional musical instruments, you are welcome to read our ukuleles review.

Review of Jameson Guitars 6 String with Closed Back Resonator Banjo

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

What Is a Banjo?

It is hard to imagine American old-time music without a bright banjo sound that was and is widely used in various genres including folk, bluegrass, country, and jazz. How is this sound created? The body of the instrument consists of a tensioned head (nowadays, it's usually made of plastic), wooden circular rim, and a resonator (for closed-backed banjos) that makes the sound brighter and louder. There are also open-back banjos with no resonator; they have a more mellow tone and are lighter in weight.

You can find 4-, 5-, and 6-strings variations of the instrument; the last one is getting more and more popular these days, mostly due to the fact that it's played and tuned like a regular 6-string guitar. However, if you are looking for something more traditional, a 5-string banjo is an excellent choice. Still, it is not so easy to select a quality beginner banjo. We have picked the five best banjos available on the market to make your choice easier.

Folk music fans may also be interested in our acoustic guitars, violins, and harmonicas reviews.

Other reviews
Publish Date: 2018-05-31 09:01:02