Banjo Playability and Longevity
Ease of playability is of upmost importance when buying a banjo. To find a banjo that is easy to play, look for an adjustable neck with a “truss rod.” All our recommendations* below should have an adjustable neck (with the exception of the Deering Goodtime which uses violin-grade maple for a straight and strong neck).
Your local music shop will have a variety of awesome instruments for you to choose from. If you decide to purchase an instrument online or used, please have it looked over by a luthier to make sure it is in tip-top playing condition. We love Eagle Guitar for instrument shopping and The Better Fret for set-ups and tune-ups.
Next, what style of music would you like to play? If you’re a diehard bluegrass fan, then a resonator banjo will give you the bright sound you’re looking for. If you prefer a more mellow sound then an open-back is the banjo for you! Check out the banjos below to get an idea of reputable brands and models. Please note, all of our suggestions will be for 5-string banjos. Four string (plectrum or tenor) banjos and six string banjos (basically a guitar with extra twang) also exist but are not as common as the classic 5-string.
Now that you’ve found your perfect axe, outfit it with all the necessities.
- Case — go for either a hard shell or at least a padded soft case to protect your beloved instrument.
- Picks — playing finger pickin’ bluegrass? Be sure to grab some finger picks!
- Strap — pick up a strap in a fun color so you can play securely sitting, as well as standing up onstage.
Build Your Practice Corner
Create a safe and comfortable space to leave your instrument out and get in your practice groove!
- Instrument Stand — a visible instrument is a played instrument! Display your banjo on the wall or on a sturdy floor stand for a standing invitation to practice, and for a beautiful conversation piece.
- Music Stand — find something nice and robust to hold up heavy books and a metronome/cell phone. Bonus points if you have a place to store pencils and highlighters, a stand light, fingernail clippers, and some clothes pins to keep your books open!
- Adjustable Foot Rest — you will play more if you are comfortable. Prioritize ergonomics and practice with a foot rest to bring your instrument the perfect hight.
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