Good Banjos For Beginners
So, you just heard a great country or bluegrass band play one of your favorite tunes and for the umpteenth time you said to yourself, “I wish I could play the banjo!”. And, for the umpteenth time you gave yourself the same excuses you always do that prevent you from starting to play the banjo, like: “A banjo costs too much” or “I don’t even know how to read music”, or “It's too difficult for me.” It’s easy to stop yourself from taking that first step, isn’t it? The fact is, you can enjoy playing this classic stringed instrument at any level; even when you begin to learn your first finger rolls, practicing them along with a song you are listening to. Don’t put off taking that first step any longer! I have put together this website to help you from the start, learning how to choose a quality starter banjo brand, some current good buys on reasonably priced models, and some basic instructions and tips so you can start playing your new banjo right away.
I have been researching and writing about good buys on stringed instruments for some time now. I know that you can't do much better than these 5 string banjos that are real bargains. I regularly review them to make sure they maintain their level of customer service and quality from the customers themselves and I think they are by far the best buy for someone just beginning to learn to play, or for someone on a budget. Sure, the Deering Goodtime series are probably the best, but their starter models begin at around $400 and that's a bit steep for a lot of people, especially for a beginner, or if you are giving one as as a gift. These quality banjo's are much cheaper (less than half the cost) of the Deering, Gold Tones and Fenders, for example, but at around half the price they are excellent choices in how they are made and their sound: The Oscar Schmidt OB5, OB4, and the popular Jameson 5 String Closed Backed banjo. You can read more about these below on this page. Another good beginner brand, at a lower price, that you might want to go with a Pyle 5 String. It's a budget entry level instrument, no doubt, and the price reflects that, but people have been happy with it considering it's lower cost.
Important Reminder: If you are getting your first banjo, or givng one as a gift, be sure and get a few necessary accessories. Don't forget to buy a learning book, tuner, strap, picks, and protective case when getting a new banjo, especially if you are a beginner! Here are my tips on what you will need starting out. You can also direct them to this site for helpful links and videos on tuning, lessons, etc.
The Best Selling Beginner Banjo
The Jameson 5 String Closed Back Banjo
I recently read one reviewer of this banjo brand who said something to the effect of it beging just a cheap import knock off, and that a serious player should buy something else, and then he or she mentioned a very costly banjo. Well, I have to take issue with that on several points. Number one, it's definately NOT poorly made, just the opposite. Is it an import? Yes, but there are few that are not; even the big name brand banjos, (except Deering) at least have their parts made outside of the US. Think of this, you spend hundreds of dollars for your mobile phone that is made in Asia. So as long as a banjo (or anything else) is of good quality, I don't see how it being an import automatically makes it a bad instrument. And, of course, if you are on a tight budget and can't afford $1,000 or more, it's just plain ignorant not to consider a well made import, especially for someone just beginning to learn how to play. What you need to look for is value; the quality and features vs the price. If you look at it that way, this is a very good choice, especially if you don't want to spend more, or can't afford to spend a lot more. It's been a top seller for years, and has maintained it's high customer satisfaction rating, both in manufacturing quality, appearance and customer service. It also comes in a 6 string model. Read more about the 6 string banjo here.
The Oscar Schmidt line of banjos carry a Lifetime Warranty from a long time (1800's) American stringed instrument maker. They are now selling the OB series through Amazon and have lowered their prices, which now puts them among my top choices for beginning banjo players. If you are on a tighter budget and looking for a better banjo with good quality sound and a rich looking finish, these are comparable to others at twice the price. I would seriously consider their bundle, if you need the accessories.
Want to learn more about mandolins or ukuleles? See our other helpful buying guides:
Best Mandolin Buys
Ukulele Buying Guide
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