Best Banjo Reviews 2018

Want to enjoy classic melodies like ‘Pocket Full of Sunshine’ anytime, anywhere? Then a banjo is the instrument to get since it’s great at playing fast-paced and fun melodies. We know that buying a banjo, just like any other musical instrument, can be a cumbersome affair. That’s why we’ve looked at top notch instruments from some of the best banjo brands around, because we believe that each and every one of them are capable of bringing out the best musician in you.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Type
Style
Size
Material
Brackets
Our Top Choice
PylePro 5-String Chrome-Plated Banjo
Pyle is a reputable manufacturer of entertainment equipment that allows you to listen and play music wherever you find yourself.
4 white key pegs for head tuning; extra side tuning peg; durable hardware; mahogany neck; elegant wood finish
Pegs require extra modification for perfect tuning
5-string banjo
Closed back
4.5 x 39 x 16.8”/ 7.8 pounds
Maple bridge, shabili wood body
24 brackets
Best Value
Rogue Learn The Banjo Starter Pack
Rogue produces quality and functional music equipment to help you play and create sweet melodies.
Superior quality head; 18 brackets that give an authentic tone; includes easily readable chord book & tuning chart; Open, lightweight back
Fragile, requires careful handling 0
5-string banjo
Open back
15.75 x 41 x 4”/ 14.2 pounds
Maple bridge, satin finish
18 brackets
Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo
Deering was started in 1975 and has expanded remarkably to become a leading manufacturer of innovative musical instruments.
22 silver frets that are precise and accurate; strong & durable tailpiece; low maintenance peg head; slender & strong maple neck.
Quite pricey due to great craftsmanship.
5-string banjo
Open back
37.8 x 11.8 x 3.8”/ 4 pounds
Maple/ebony bridge, satin finish
16 brackets
Oscar Schmidt 5-String OB3 Banjo
Oscar Schmidt was started in 1871 and continues to make quality musical instruments that are comfortable on the hands and give good sound.
18 brackets for an awesome tone ring; elegant nato neck; durable Remo head; strong mahogany resonator.
Little by way of assembly instructions.
5-string banjo
Open back
43 x 6 x 21”/ 8.9 pounds
Mahogany resonator
18 brackets
Jameson Guitars 6-String Guitar Banjo
Jameson Guitars is dedicated to providing all musicians with quality instruments at greatly affordable prices .
6 enclosed pegs for fine tuning; durable rosewood fingerboard; adjustable tail-piece; long-lasting mahogany shell; easy to learn & play.
Neck needs some modification for better strumming
6-string banjo
Closed back
45.6 x 18.6 x 5.3”/ 10.4 pounds
Mahogany, nickel-plated armrest
24 brackets

(Updated )
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Watch Our Banjo Review

How Do I Choose the Best Banjo?

You and your amazing group of friends have saved up all year in order to go for a camping trip up in the mountains. Camping gear, check. Bonfire, check. Duck slowly roasting on your portable grill, check. What else could anyone want on such a lovely summer night? Some good ol’timer music of course! But wait; you can hardly play your electric guitar in the mountains. Not to worry, banjos were designed for such a moment as this.

Just like the authentic sound that’s made by a violin or the beautiful melodies produced by a harp, the banjo is designed to emit sweet and crispy sound. The unique thing about a banjo is that its fast-paced drone notes are lively and engaging, creating the effect of several musical instruments at once. The good thing about playing a banjo is that its sound doesn’t need any amplification since the resonator acts as the amplifier.

In order to get the best banjo, you need to have a couple of things in mind such as its hardware and tuning features which all interplay to give you quality sound. The focal point of a banjo is its rim over which the head stretches and is often made using layered maple for quality sound. The rim works in coordination with the tuning pegs that are located on a finger board. For this reason, go for a quality fingerboard, preferably one made of rosewood for a pitch-perfect tuning experience.

All in all, impress everyone with your banjo strumming skills and have them singing along to ‘Cotton Eyed Joe’ or ‘Foggy Mountain Breakdown’ all day!
Price
A banjo is a beautiful thing to invest in; it may require you to spend a fair penny but the crispy sound that you get is priceless. You can expect to pay between $150 and $500 for a good banjo, with the main determinant in price being the banjo’s craftsmanship. In this range, you’ll be in a position to get a quality instrument that’s easy to tune and fun to play. There are also high end banjos way above this range whose price is driven up by deluxe features like top notch parts and expensive hardware.

Creating a quality banjo takes skill, expertise and a lengthy period of time. For this reason the market is flooded with mass produced banjos that are often imitations and don’t produce quality sound. You may find that such cheap pieces are made of flimsy wood that easily break and won’t serve you for long. If you get a banjo from a reputable brand, however, you can expect to get a long warranty to go along with it!
Features
As you go shopping for a banjo, you’ll realize that there are many brands selling them. But do you need to be a music expert in order to acquire this fun instrument? No, because there are certain features that you need to have in mind, such as:
  • Type — Most of the banjos are either 4-stringed, 5-stringed or 6-stringed. The number of strings helps you pluck the banjo depending on the position your finger prefers and the type of tune you want to produce.
  • Style — A banjo can either have an open back or a closed one known as the resonator. The open-backed banjo produces a much softer sound compared to the one with a resonator, which has an amplified sound.
  • Size — The reason why open back banjos are popular is because they’re lighter in weight, allowing you to easily carry them around.
  • Material — Different parts of the banjo are made using different materials. For the fingerboard, the most popular material is rosewood while the shell is often made using maple or hardwoods such as mahogany. All you have to ensure is that all the components are made using quality and durable materials.
  • Brackets — Brackets are responsible for tightening the head of the banjo, which implies that the more the brackets, the tighter the head and the crispier the sound.
Construction and Design
A banjo comprises of three major parts: the tuner head, the neck and the pot. The tuner head, commonly referred to as the peg head, is the point where the strings meet and often has pegs or tuners that are responsible for the sound of your banjo. The pegs may have gears that are adjusted to give you a particular tune. At the bottom of the head is a slot where the strings come together before they go down the neck.

The neck is also often referred to as the fingerboard, because this is where your fingers come alive. Since this is the most commonly used part of the banjo, it needs to be made of quality wood, especially hardwoods such as mahogany, ebony or rosewood. The neck length varies depending on the type of banjo you have. The fingerboard holds the frets in place; frets have a decorative effect and also help mark different positions to help you strum better. On the neck, you’ll also find a truss rod which gives it firmness and rigidity to prevent it from breaking.

Further down the banjo you’ll find the vibrating membrane, which is better known as the pot. Just like the human heart, this is what keeps the banjo going. A key component of the pot is the rim, which is what holds the other parts together. The rim can be made using multiple layers of wood such as mahogany or laminated using maple. The better the quality of the material used to make the rim, the greater the vibration and the richer the tone produced.

The membrane on the top of the pot is where the vibration happens and it acts as the sound board. The thickness of the membrane varies depending on the brand. At the bottom of the pot you’ll find the tail piece which is often adjustable, leading to a variety of tones produced. As you can see, a lot of parts make up a banjo, which is the reason why you have to be keen on the quality of each component to help you enjoy your music to the utmost.
Performance and Ease of Use
A banjo is pretty easy to play, and it becomes even easier when you know how to pluck a guitar. In case you’re a beginner start practicing using simple chords and before you know it you’ll be churning out even complex tunes. Mastering the chords is the key to a perfect jam. The internet has chord books that can help you, but you may also find that the manufacturer has provided you with one, especially if the banjo you ordered is designed for beginners.

Correctly positioning your fingers and watching how you move them also greatly affects the performance of a banjo. Just like most skills in life — the more you practice, the better you get. You have to regularly maintain your banjo so that it keeps giving you good tones. Use a soft cloth to wipe your instrument as often as you can. Oh, and remember to keep your fingernails short — you don’t want to dent the fingerboard, do you?

What is the Best Banjo?

From the quality of hardware of the banjo to the craftsmanship of its neck, a lot needs to be considered before you settle on a particular product. Let’s continue exploring more pointers to help you pick the ideal banjo.
Our Top Choice
The PylePro 5-String Chrome-Plated Banjor is made with 4 white key pegs for head tuning and an extra tune peg on the side to ensure that you have a memorable musical experience. Do you also play the mandolin? Then you’ll love the Pyle 8-String Mandolin-Banjo Hybrid that’s a combination of the two instruments.
PylePro 5-String Chrome-Plated Banjo with White Tune Pegs and Rosewood Fretboard

PylePro Banjo PBJ60


Features
In 1960, Pyle started out by manufacturing advanced woofers using only the best materials available. Its innovative sound systems quickly gained popularity and now the brand is one of the most recognized names in the musical instrument industry. The team at Pyle believes in the power of music which is why they endeavor to provide you with amazing music audio products that’ll give you quality sound regardless of the environment you’re in. Whether you’re in your car, home or even outside, Pyle has a reasonably-priced instrument that allows you to play and enjoy music whatever the occasion.

The PylePro Banjo is a five-stringed instrument made to give you great quality sound with 4 main tuning pegs at the head and an extra peg on the side for even better tuning. The five white jade pegs allow you to effectively tune this instrument’s five strings to produce some nice, stirring melodies. You’ll enjoy strumming this banjo for a long time since its strings are professionally laid on a solid mahogany neck that’s built to last.

Here’s more of what to expect once you choose to make sweet music using this classic-looking banjo:
  • A sizeable fret board made of quality rosewood
  • The fret board measures 19.4 inches with 22 frets available
  • The bridge stand is made of top notch maple wood
  • The Remo M1 drumhead has a wide diameter of 11.4 inches
  • Its traditionally designed body is made of strong shabili wood
  • Its truss rod is adjustable and meets universal standards
  • Classic wood finish with chrome coating and elegant polish
  • A warranty that’s valid for one year
Best Value
The Rogue Banjo Starter Pack is naturally designed for beginners and is comprised of 18 brackets and a superior quality head which will help you come up with even better tunes. Are you also looking to start making melodies using a mandolin instead? Then get the affordable Rogue Learn The Mandolin Pack that includes a readable chord book.
Rogue 18 Bracket Learn The Banjo Beginner’s Pack with Satin Finish

Rogue Banjo KIT-511197


Features
Rogue is a brand that seeks to provide quality musical instruments to its customers with the aim of helping them create memorable tunes. The craftsmanship of its equipment is top notch and customized to make it easy to achieve a perfect tone. For those that are new to playing instruments it has a wide range of starter packs designed to help such individuals bring out the beautiful melodies inside their heads.

One such starter pack is the Rogue Learn The Banjo that’s meant to help you learn the basics of playing a banjo. The pack includes a 5-stringed banjo that’s easily portable, allowing you to play it wherever you are. Also included in this pack is a chord book that’s easily readable, enabling you to learn how to combine different chords into one harmonious melody. There’s also an interactive DVD with special features as well as tab charts that are easy to interpret. With such a starter pack, nothing will stop you from playing banjo hits like ‘Oh Susanna’!

So what’s this banjo really like? Here are a few more features to get you started:
  • A lightweight open back that allows authentic tones
  • Has eighteen brackets to help tighten the head
  • Superior quality head that gives it a unique tune
  • Top notch tuning pegs
  • Elegant-looking satin finish
  • Comes with a padded bag for easy travel
The Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo is a masterpiece that boasts of 22 silver frets that work in an accurate and precise manner to give you the correct tone as you work your fingers. If you feel more familiar with a 6-string banjo, go ahead and give the Deering Goodtime 6-String Natural Banjo a try!
Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo with 22-Fret Maple Neck and 11-Inch Maple Rim

Deering Banjo GOODTIME BANJO/ GT


Features
Deering is a great American company that was started back in 1975 by Greg Deering with the help of his wife Janet. This couple together with a team of 48 committed banjo enthusiasts have made Deering one of the leading Banjo makers around. This brand focuses only on making banjos which has led to the production of fine masterpieces that fit across a wide price spectrum. With a record of 100,000 banjos produced under its supervision, you can be sure that this brand gives nothing but the best it can. By buying its banjos you become part of the Deering family where you’re free to express and explore banjo music.

This Goodtime Banjo is a testament to Deering’s dedication to helping you soar the heights of music and bring out the musician in you. With 22 stunning silver frets you’re guaranteed a classic sound since the fret board intones in an accurate and precise manner to respond to the touch of your fingers. It’s no wonder this banjo is a common feature around camp fires as people sing the night away as they strum this masterpiece.

Hold up! There’s more to this Goodtime Banjo:
  • Open back that’s light in weight for easy handling
  • The slim satin neck is easy to strum and accommodates both large and tiny fingers
  • Adjustable strings that are tuned using a single rod that coordinates their action
  • The wooden drum is made using quality 3 ply durable maple
  • Extremely strong tailpiece that adjusts easily
  • The rim is 11 inches wide and produces quality sound
  • Its low maintenance peg head is shaped like a fiddle for easy tuning
  • The strings are well aligned and are pressed close to the fingerboard
  • The internal structure is made of hardwood
  • Weighs about four pounds making it light to carry around
  • Deering gives you a warranty of six years on this instrument
The handcrafted Oscar Schmidt 5-String Mahogany Banjo is a deluxe instrument that boasts of an 18 bracket tone ring and 18 frets that come together to give you a near perfect tone. Are you also a fan of the ukulele? Then you’ll love the Oscar Schmidt Ukulele that boasts of a quality mahogany resonator.
Oscar Schmidt OB3 Open-Back 5-String Banjo

Oscar Schmidt Banjo OB3


Features
Oscar Schmidt was started in the late 1800s to provide musicians with affordable yet quality musical instruments. It has a wide range of instruments and vast knowledge in the creation of timeless masterpieces. Its instruments are often imitated but rarely duplicated due to the high level of craftsmanship required for it to be a true Oscar Schmidt piece. The use of fine wood to create its instruments gives legitimacy to their products as well as great sound resonance. Since each piece is personally inspected by a specialist, you’re assured of a top notch product.

One such product is the Oscar Schmidt 5-String Open Back Banjo that’s handcrafted and comes in a glossy classic finish.

Here are more features of the Oscar Schmidt banjo:
  • Tone ring from 18 brackets
  • Resonator made of mahogany
  • A nato neck that gives you a nice place to strum it
  • 18 frets on a durable rosewood fret board
  • Its fingerboard inlay has a traditional design
  • Geared 5-string tuner
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
The Jameson Guitars 6-String Guitar Banjo plays like a guitar but gives a banjo sound with 6 enclosed pegs that make tuning this instrument a breeze. Are you left handed and want to get in on the fun? Then check out the Jameson Guitar Left Hand 5-String Banjo that’s designed for left hand strumming.
Jameson Guitar Closed Back 6-String Guitar Banjo with 24 Brackets and Mahogany Resonator

Jameson Guitars Banjo 6 STRING BANJO


Features
R.W. Jameson Guitar Company is a brand that’s dedicated to helping everyone enjoy playing music regardless of their ability. Its fairly-priced electric and acoustic guitars as well as its banjos are designed to give everyone access to music. It’s guided by the three principles of having a wide selection of instruments, delivering quality performance and having excellent customer service. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned musician, Jameson Guitars has an instrument for you.

One such instrument is its 6-String Guitar Banjo that’s designed to sound like a banjo but its playing technique is that of a guitar. This banjo is easy to learn and fun to strum, especially for those who have experience playing guitar. This classic piece has all the elements of the more expensive models such as an elegant maple neck, but it’s also fairly priced for such high end features.

What can you look forward to once you buy this guitar banjo? Here are some of its features:
  • Seven ply durable mahogany shell
  • Twenty four brackets for quality sound
  • A hinged tailpiece at the bottom that’s adjustable
  • Its resonator is bound using mahogany for an amplified sound
  • Enclosed pegs that are die cast for durability
  • Elegant fingerboard made of quality rosewood
  • Sleek armrest to support your hand as you play
  • Ideal for all levels of musicians including beginners

Get the Best Banjo of 2018!

Wow! That was quite a loaded read, right? Well, we hope that you’re better informed and have even identified the best banjo to help you create great melodies. Not yet? These expert brands have more options for you that we’re sure will give you value for your money, and great tunes as well!

Our Top Choice
PylePro 5-String Chrome-Plated Banjo
Best Value
Rogue Learn The Banjo Starter Pack
Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo
Oscar Schmidt 5-String OB3 Banjo
Jameson Guitars 6-String Guitar Banjo