Do you love playing different musical instruments? Is music your passion? If you are a true music lover, a banjo can never fail to impress. It looks like a guitar to laymen but plays softer, sweeter, and country-music-like tunes! It is a classical music instrument originated by Africans in North America. Like any other instrument, banjos have different forms of notes and play various genres, such as Bluegrass. Even if you are not a professional banjo player, you can learn it by grabbing a suitable beginner-friendly instrument. Since music is a healthy hobby and helps relieve stress, learning to play an instrument like banjo can bring positivity to your life! However, finding it in a market full of similar products can be a time-consuming task. So, we have reviewed the best banjos in 2022 to help simplify things for you. At the end of this article, we've also put together a detailed buying guide that'll answer the internet's most frequently asked questions about Banjos.
Banjos are highly luxurious items and require a considerable investment. So it would be risky to purchase the instrument without knowing its features, especially if you are a beginner. Therefore, we have created a detailed buying guide on banjos to save you from pouring your money down the drain. It includes all the crucial factors you should consider for purchasing a quality instrument along with some insightful information on banjos.
What Are The Crucial Factors To Focus On While Purchasing A Banjo?
Material of Construction
Banjos are made from a variety of woods. Mahogany, rosewood, walnut wood are some of the best construction materials used for these instruments because they are sturdy, durable, and give a glossy look. Besides, these materials also play a role in providing the distinct sound of a classical banjo. Mahogany produces punchy tones and is excellent for playing bluegrass tunes. On the other hand, rosewood brings forth dark tunes or high notes. You will also find some banjos made from a combination of multiple materials to provide the best tuning and stability.
The neck design is a vital part of the instrument because it smoothens the sound and adds more brilliance. We found that some banjos have a specialized c-shape neck which allows amplified sound production. However, if you are a beginner and want to learn the instrument, you can ignore the neck features.
Remo Head Size
Remo head is also known as the bowl of the banjo. It plays a significant role as it joins all the strings and adds the characteristic banjo sound to the tune. You should go with an instrument with a suitable Remo head size according to your upper body size. Most banjos come with a bowl size of 10 to 13 inches.
If you often travel to different locations for live concerts or jam with your friends on a trip, then you must go for a portable banjo. By portability, we mean to check for its weight, overall size, and structural design. A portable banjo should be light in weight and easy to carry in a suitable storage bag. Furthermore, a banjo with a grippy handle is ideal for carrying at a campsite than a slippy or rough surface instrument. So, make your decision wisely and choose a product that suits your needs.
The pick set includes finger caps worn by the artists while playing the banjo. It produces perfect vibration in the string and also protects your fingers from cuts and rashes. However, some professional musicians suggest playing vintage tunes without wearing a pick set as it gives more brilliance and amplification to the sound. But if you are allergic to metals, we suggest wearing caps for your safety.
What Are The Different Types Of Banjos?
Open Back Banjos
The open-back banjos do not have to cover at the backside and are ideal for playing traditional and vintage tunes. They have a softer tone than the resonator banjos because of no back covering to rebound the sound waves. Moreover, if you are just starting out as a beginner and learning to play the instrument, the open-back banjos would be ideal for you!
If you are a bluegrass tune player, then resonator banjos are ideal for you. Unlike open-back banjos, they have a covering at the back, which is why they produce a high-pitched sound. You can play modern and punchy tunes with the help of a resonator banjo. However, they are not ideal for playing mild vintage and classical tunes. In case you are a travel enthusiast and learning to play the instrument, then a resonator banjo might not suit you as it is heavier than an open-back banjo.
How Many Strings Can Banjos Have?
Most banjos have a five-string structure as musicians highly admire it. The fifth string, also known as thumb string or drone string, is thicker in width and smaller than the other four strings. It provides amplification to the overall sound. Furthermore, if you want to play bluegrass or Jazz tunes, a five-string banjo is the perfect musical instrument.
The four-string banjos are more versatile in sound and can produce Irish, Jazz, vintage tunes, and more. Besides, they have a shorter scale length and have 17 frets that allow quick movement of fingers from one fret to another, producing iconic Irish tunes.
How Much Does A Banjo Usually Cost?
Banjos are considered to be one of the most elegant instruments in the musical world. Therefore, they are expensive, and you can rarely find a cheap banjo in the market. After conducting in-depth research, we found that most quality banjos are priced in the range of 230 USD to 450 USD. The final cost of any banjo is based on the manufacturing company, type, construction material, and more. Hence, make sure to invest in an instrument that is suitable for you and doesn’t make a hole in your pocket.
Q: Can I learn to play the banjo without attending musical classes?
A: It depends on your knowledge of music and determination to learn the instrument. You can watch online videos and read books for learning to play the banjo without attending musical classes.
Q: Do banjos come with a warranty period?
A: Yes, some banjos come with a lifetime warranty period. On the other hand, you can also find instruments with a limited warranty period of two or more years.
Q: Do I need to wear a pick set while playing the banjo?
A: Yes, it is recommended to wear finger caps for the safety of your fingers. However, many banjo players avoid wearing them to produce more sound and vibration in the string.
Q: Which banjo is best for playing modern-style music?
A: A banjo with a back cover known as the resonator banjo is considered the best for playing modern-style high notes and punchy bluegrass tones.
Jack has been a touring guitarist for almost 20 years, playing in a number of country music and rock bands. Jack loves the road and defines himself as a never-ending student of the guitar and other important instruments or tools that make a musician.