- 1 Few aspects to know about banjos
- 2 Top 5 Best Banjos for Beginners
- 3 Few things to check before buying
- 4 Conclusion
If you are into playing instruments and looking forward to playing the banjo but do not know where to start and what to buy as a beginner, then you are reading the right article. Banjo is a very intriguing string instrument that has an African root also Portuguese influence in structure and popularized by African Americans and popular among all Americans for folk. The beautiful sound of banjo got it a place in all kinds of musical genres, starting from folk, jazz to rock, and even neo metal. There is various kind of banjos differs by strings and structure from one another.
Finding a good starter banjo can be a bit challenging task if you do not have any idea about banjos. There are many different types of banjos in all ranges of price, but as a beginner, one should start with inexpensive banjos. But cheap banjos can give you a lot of difficulties in your learning process. So here in this article, we will guide you to find the best inexpensive banjo that is the best banjo for beginners. So let's see what do we have!!
Few aspects to know about banjos
As there are various types of banjos, all man banjos may not fall into being very handy for beginners. In this part of the article, we will inform you about different types of banjos and the aspects that differ from one another.
Know these aspects and differences will help you to avoid confusion and get the best one as per your requirement and choice if you have preferences or choices.
Otherwise, you can stick to the standard preference that you will also know soon. SO let's see these aspects.
Open back and closed back banjos
There two different kinds of banjos. Closed-back is the one in which the back is covered with a plate called resonator, and open back has no resonator at the back. A resonator is a plate made by wood or metal to cover the back of a banjo.
Open-back Bajos do not have a resonator. It has an open back, so the sound disseminates from the backside towards the player. It produces low volume but mellow sound and gentle tuning. It often does not require a fingerpick to play.
Closed-back or Resonator
The back of closed-back banjo is closed by a metal, or wooden plate called a resonator. This is best for playing in the audience because the sound resonates towards the front side or the audience. It produces a louder sound that is twangy and sharp. Finger picks can be used in this model.
In some banjos, it is possible to take off the resonator by just taking of few screws or knobs. You can choose to play open-back or closed-back both.
What is best for the beginner?
As a beginner, you can start with any one of thee banjos from above. But since there is an option to buy a banjo, which has a detachable resonator, you can go for that.
Because if you get the banjo with detachable resonator, then you can have the taste of both worlds.
Banjo with different number of strings
The number of strings also differentiates banjos. The standard amount of strings in a banjo is five strings. Five-string banjos are most commonly used and popular all over, but many musicians use four strings and Six strings as per their genre of music and also preference. Some banjos have twelve strings, and there are also fretless Banjos. So let's go check what the specification of banjos with different numbers of strings are.
Five-string Banjos (Common and recommended)
Five-string banjos are standard banjos that are most used and recommended for beginners. Unlike guitars, five strings of banjos are not tuned from lowest to highest. The top string of a five-string banjo is shorter than the other four strings. The top string starts from the fifth fret, and it is a drone string, also known as the thumb string. The most common tunning of banjo, tuning from the top string, is G-D-G-B-D, which is a G major chord.
Four-string Banjos or Plectrum banjos
Four-string banjos or plectrum banjos are also very common. They are the same as five-string banjos, but they consist of four strings which and there is no drone string in a plectrum banjos. The tunning of a plectrum banjo is C-G-B-D, sometime plectrum banjos are tuned like the top four strings of the guitar as well, which is known as a Chicago tunning.
Other than plectrum banjo, there is another kind of four-string banjo, which is called tenor banjo. Tenor banjos are usually shorter by the neck. They are mainly used for chord accomplishment.
Six-string banjos are also known as the guitar player banjos. It is a right cross over for a guitar. The tunning arrangement of a six-string banjo is the same as guitar E-A-D-G-B-E. It is also known as Banjitars, Guitjos, Ganjos, etc. The most commonly known as a six-string banjo.
Build of a Banjo
The elegant sound of a banjo is highly dependent on its built and it. The best banjos have a rim made up of good wood like maple, Mohagony, or walnut woods, and the same goes for the fret and the neck. The body of a banjo is also called a pot. The structure of pot is more like a drum where the head stretches across the top cover it like a soundboard.
In traditional banjos, the head is made of calfskin, which produces mellow sound. In modern banjos, the head is made of mylar, which can produce a brighter tone and also does not get affected by humidity and weather.
Experienced Banjo players scrutinize a banjo with more details for a beginner these can be your key information to judge the body and build of a banjo.
Well constructed banjos have a truss rod inside the fret, which keeps the fret straight and also takes care of the intonation.
Some brands are making inexpensive banjos with these high-quality materials, unlike some cheap banjos with the laminate neck in which several pieces attached with glue. Use this information from above and look for the best inexpensive banjos made with the quality wood and material and avoid cheap banjos that are not made with quality.
Other components to look for
Tuning - For smooth and sustainable tuning geared tuners are the best for beginners
Multiple Coordinator Rods - This helps to produce a high-quality tone
Truss Rod - This stabilizes the front curving of the neck
Multi-layer Rim - This can make a big difference to the sound
Top 5 Best Banjos for Beginners
As we have sufficient information about beginner banjos from the data above, now we will move to the list of top best banjos for beginners. Here we will review the best inexpensive banjos listed according to the price of it from the highest to lowest. So let's see the review of the top 5 best banjos for beginners.
1. Vangoa 5 String Banjo
Vangoa 5 String Banjo is both, a closed-back and an open-back as it has detachable resonator. It is a solid mahogany 5-string banjo, an excellent choice for beginners because it is durable, glossy and smooth, and provides comfortable playing experience and a lovely sound.
This banjo consists of an adjustable truss rod design that enables players to keep the neck straight by countering the pull of the strings and natural tendencies in the wood this feature also allows players to adjust the string high for a comfortable feel. The best part of Vangoa 5 string banjo is that it has a Remo drum head as the head of the banjo, which provides a pleasant tone and a drum feature.
This banjo is like a jack of all trade and master of none. Its truly one of the best inexpensive banjo that comes with a package of equipment at a considerable price. It has all the adjustable features along with a strong body of mahogany wood, making it very preferable for the beginners.
2. ADM 5-String Banjo
If you are looking for a banjo for beginners, then ADM 5-string closed-back Banjo is not a bad deal as it comes with a gear package that consists of a Tuner, strings, carrying bag, and picks. For sustainable tuning, this banjo features a geared tuner.
The mahogany neck and back of the body provide a mellow sound along with durability. It also features an adjustable hinged tailpiece for a better tone. This is banjo, with 24 frets for extended playability.
Though it does not feature a detachable back, it is not a bad beginner package for its price. You will get a good banjo along with essential gears for a starter. Overall it's a good starter banjo.
3. Deering Goodtime 5 string banjo
Dearing good time, five-string is known for its excellent tonal and sound quality and fine tone wood. The body and neck of Sapele maple wood, produce a superior tone with a perfectly balanced sound. The rosewood fretboard which discriminates a rich, vibrant, and warm tone.
The adjustable action helps to adjust the string's height to the fret, and this feature provides comfortable play-ability by making it easy to play for beginners. It also has a Sealed Geared for tunning does not fall easily. As it is an open-back banjo, the volume may not be loud, but it produces a bright and vibrant sound.
It is an excellent sounding banjo, which can give you a great playing and learning experience. The adjustable string action can make your learning experience much easy and joyful. With higher string action, it may be tougher to press the string against the fret, so a beginner may find it difficult, but the adjustable string action solves that problem.
4. Gold-Tone CC-100R Cripple Creek Banjo
Gold-Tone CC-100R Cripple Creek Banjo is one of the best banjos for learners. It is undoubtedly not a cheap banjo, but it has much higher qualities for its price. It has all the excellent features of the banjo with high quality. Gold-Tone CC-100R Cripple Creek Banjo features a Hard Maple neck, and rim ensures the banjos durability and quality of sound and tone. The detachable resonator of CC-100R lets players play in both styles and enjoy the taste of variety sound. It also has a two-way adjustable truss rod that helps to adjust the alignment of the neck.
The tailpiece and the low string action makes the banjo much more comfortable to play for starters. Apart from the features, you cannot overlook its aesthetic beauty, the detail of its construction, and the wood's colour of the wood with natural glossy finish makes it look excellent. And the sound of it never fails to please anyone. This banjo is not suitable for a beginner only, but it is preferable by advanced level players as well.
Well, it CC-100R is more expensive than other starter banjos bu the quality of it pleased many players. It is one of the most influential banjos that helped many players to start. The vibrant sound quality, features, and even the look of this banjo never fail to impress beginners to start with this. And the comfortable playability makes their journey more pleasant. It is worth its price. You will never regret getting this banjo as a beginner.
5. Luna Celtic 5-String Banjo
Luna Celtic 5-String Banjo is not among the cheap banjos but a god starter banjo without a doubt. The unique Celtic look and its vibrant sound, along with all the features, is awe-inspiring. It features a clear Remo head that is resonant and long-lasting, along with a very different and beautiful look.
Mahogany body and neck with a black walnut fretboard provides a loud and vibrant sound and tone. Vigorous chrome hardware combines durability, which makes it visually appealing. It is a perfect combination of excellent sound and aesthetic beauty. It is an ideal instrument for the beginner and a satisfactory instrument for advanced players as well.
If you have a high budget to get a banjo, then Luna Celtic banjos are not bad for a longterm investment. It provides excellent sound, comfortable playability along with durability can give you a pleasant experience as a beginner.
Few things to check before buying
Whether you buy a cheap banjo or an expensive one, there are few things you need to check in a banjo. These are:
Before you buy a banjo, check it by holding it in the position of playing, before going to the store with some videos, basic beginner lessons. When you go to the store, check and try multiple banjos and look for your comfort zone. There be a banjo, which can be the best inexpensive banjo, even better than the pricier ones.
Press the strings against the fretboard to check the action, see if it is too hard for you or not. Tune in to see how the tuning keys work. It does not have to be a banjo from a famous brand, but if it fits in your hands, then it is good to go.
While checking the physical features of a banjo, you also need to check the sound. A wicked sounding banjo may not create an interest in you to play it more. It does not have to be an ope-back or close-back. Look what you like, if you like closed-back banjos, then go for it, or if you like open-back, then that's also fine.
Strum the strings learn at least one easy tune so that when you go to a store, you can check how the banjo sounds. Check multiple banjos of multiple price range so that you know which sound is beautiful to you. Like we mentioned before, that price does not matter in some cases.
You must check the physical aspects of a banjo. Try to look for a banjo with adjustable features. Also, check if anything of the body is loose or does not seem right. The best thing would be to find another banjo player who can come with you to the shop or you show you his or her banjo. Scrutinize a banjo-like it's the last thing you will buy. Keep checking until you find a good starter banjo for you.
Starting to play a musical instrument as a beginner is like going for a journey. Every expert instrumentalist was once a beginner. People are going to start playing the banjo today or tomorrow, many of them may end up becoming a professional banjo player. They will earn by playing this instrument. For many beginners, this instrument will become their part of life, means of earning, and they will play it, its an extension of their body.
So when you choose a banjo, you never know that banjo may become a friend for life. Even if you don't play professionally, you may like it and enjoy playing it so much that the banjo you are going to buy that starter banjo ended up opening a vast world for you where you go to visit every night after your work time is over. That is the power of passion, that is the power of music, that is the power that cheap banjo has that it may become the best banjo in the world for you.
Here in this article, we have given you all the information you can choose the best banjo for beginners. By the use of this information, you can outline what you are trying to get. With all the aspects of a banjo we there is a list of top 6 best banjos for beginners. So that we can also be a part of your musical journey, this is a guideline from us to you. We hope you can buy the best banjo for yourself. Have a happy musical journey.