Uncovering the best banjo brands before you know how to play the instrument can be quite a challenge. There a few easy-to-understand factors that will make it much easier to evaluate the various beginner banjos that you will come across in your search.
This comprehensive guide offers the basics of how to buy a banjo, a rundown of some of the best banjo brands for beginners, and specific banjo reviews that will help you find a first banjo that will be a perfect fit.
Bluegrass musicians far and away prefer banjos with a resonator, a metal plate attached to the back of the instrument that projects the sound forward. Resonators give the banjo a much louder and fuller sound, making banjos with a resonator a great fit for ensemble playing when you need to project past the sound of other instruments. This results in a far darker, mellower tone preferred by singer-songwriters, folk musicians, and anyone interested in playing the old-fashioned clawhammer technique.
The most common types are 4 string banjos, 5 string banjos, and 6 string banjos, though 12 string banjos and even fretless banjos are also available. Most beginning banjo players choose the 5 string banjo, which is by far the most common and is used by the majority of professional banjo players.
You can find them with either an open back or a resonator, so 5 string banjos are well-suited to an array of traditional styles including bluegrass and folk music.
In fact, the top string on the neck — known as the thumb string or the drone string — is much shorter than others, starting in the middle of the neck instead of at the end. The most common tuning for bluegrass is G-B-G-B-D, an open G chord, which means you can play a full chord without putting a single finger on the neck!
Another common variety of banjo is the 4 string banjo, which has several different builds depending on the style of music you want to play. Essentially the same as a 5 string banjo but with no drone string, plectrum banjos are strummed with a guitar pick and are frequently used in Dixieland Jazz music as a result of their bright tone that can cut through a dense ensemble sound. Similar to the plectrum banjo but smaller in size is the tenor banjo, which is popular especially with Irish folk music players.
Of particular interest to beginners is the banjolele — a modern development that is basically a hybrid between the banjo and the ukulele. It is roughly the size of a ukulelebut it looks and sounds like a small banjo. This can be a great option for beginner banjo players, because it is very easy to play. If you are already a guitar player, you might consider starting your banjo-playing career with a 6 string banjo.
This makes for a smooth transition, but even the best 6 string banjos are not recommended if your goal is to become a serious banjo player.
So, while you might find it easy to play songs intended to be played on the guitar, it can be a struggle to learn to play songs that were intended to be played on the banjo.List of banjo brands that include the most reliable and best sounding models available. Popular Banjo brands include those from major manufacturers of musical instruments, including Gibson, Fender, Deering Banjo Company and more. The best banjos are generally the heaviest banjos--these make a better sound.
Banjo makers know this and design their instruments accordingly. Today there are many top-quality banjos made in the USA. There are also plenty of inexpensive banjos made in China, Taiwan and Korea. Although the craftsmanship of American-made banjos is usually higher quality, you can buy great banjo instruments from overseas manufacturers as well. There are also good banjos to learn on that cost substantially less than that. So what are the best banjos and best banjo companies?
It's a matter of personal preference.
The Best Banjo Brands
Size and weight of neck, good workmanship and shape of body all have an affect on the banjos sound. Users looking for a new banjo will want to research a variety of different brands and names to find the one that best suits their needs, based on quality and features. Deering Banjo Company. Gold Tone. Gibson Guitar Corporation. Recording King. Bishline Banjos. Washburn Guitars. Morgan Monroe. Grundy Banjos. Romero Banjos. Bart Reiter Banjos. Gold Star. Fender Musical Instruments Corporation Manufacturing.
Crafters of Tennessee. Neat Custom Banjos. Mike Ramsey. Search for an item here and add it to the list! Hey There!Banjo is a highly visual app and website that allows users to experience breaking news and live events in real time through the eyes of the people who are there.
Founded in by Damien Patton and David J. Phillips, Banjo is known as "The Live Internet", because it offers users an all access pass to breaking news and live events. InBanjo was gathering information from more than 1. Founded by Damien Patton and David J. The app reachedusers in six months  and one million users in nine months. In JanuaryBanjo announced a total overhaul of its app and mission. Banjo 4. Banjo currently has 6 million users.
On March 8,at South by Southwest, Banjo launched a new feature called Banjo Rewind, which allows people to search past events and go back to specific moments in time. The Banjo platform has several core features that utilize live-time intelligence technology ad multi-signal verification. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. HPE Newsroom.DUELING BANJOS ~ Guitar & Banjo Song ~ Deliverance
Retrieved June 22, Tech Crunch. December 27, April 18, November 15, Retrieved 27 March Tech Cocktail. The Next Web. Retrieved 5 November Fast Company. Categories : Mobile software Mobile social software. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history.
The Five Best Banjo Brands that Make a Great Instrument
Looking for Banjo parts and accessories? All hardware Made in the USA. As soon as it was in my hands I knew this Pisgah banjo was the instrument for me. Being from the mountains of North Carolina myself, it means a great deal to me to have a banjo from my own home place. Hannah Seng. The scoop is an exact fit for my right hand, too.
I love the look of the stainless steel rim and brass hardware. The walnut neck is a sustainable local hardwood. Hilary Dirlam banjo pro. It has a beautiful simple aesthetic and a deep bellow sound that I love, and a warm richness that is the quintessential sound of our style of hollow-back banjo playing.
Subtle, soft, and full. I also love telling people the story of its local North Carolina origins. Thanks Patrick and Pisgah Banjos for making such beautiful instruments. Leah Song of Rising Appalachia. I love my Pisgah Dobson Rambler. I was teaching a workshop and one of the participants brought his for me to see. I put it in my lap, played just a phrase of a tune, stopped and said, "I got to get me one of these!
I went to Elderly instruments a few months back and played about every open back banjo they had out and when I came across a particularly beautiful sounding banjo, I would sit and do a side by side with the Pisgah Dobson Rambler they had in stock I know tone and sound is subjective, but in my opinion, it was the BEST sounding banjo they had and that I have played! Wonderful instrument, looks, sound, and playability!
Brett Ridgeway. Open-back banjos, hand-made in the Appalachian mountains with native hardwoods. Custom banjo orders received between January 1st and March 31 will be completed in July Why Choose a Pisgah? Testimonially Speaking.Damien Patton creates his own debris field.
Stories swirl around him of smoldering vehicles, broken bones and shredded ligaments, a girlfriend launched "like a missile" into the Mojave Desert from the back of a dirt bike. Patton enjoys these accounts. Maybe a little too much. So it was with a mix of adrenaline and dread on my first day at his Las Vegas offices that I followed him and Stacey Epstein, his brand-new chief marketing officer, out to his truck: a Ford F Raptor 4x4, black as David Hasselhoff's Knight Rider rig, with a SuperCrew cab, a super-juiced engine, massive custom suspension, and special software running the whole operation.
Half an hour later, we were doing 95 down a rutted dirt road cut into the rolling foothills, sagebrush blurring by, slowing to 50 to power through blind curves, taking out the occasional small tree.
Now and then, Epstein, who's no delicate flower, let out a low warble of alarm. I sat locked in a kind of waking rigor mortis, the windows in my corner of the cab steaming up as I pressed myself into the leather.
Don't worry. It turns out that Patton is a damn good driver. And he's not as reckless as he may seem. His biography might come across as a random walk through some highly improbable places, but there is a logic behind his recklessness: He always wanted to build something big.
Now, it appears, he has. This month--this story, in fact--marks the end of stealth mode for Patton's new enterprise software, Banjoan "event-detection engine" poised to disrupt industries all over the world.
Banjo does something no one has managed to do until now, at least not in such an elegant, intuitive fashion: It imposes order on the vast chaotic cloud of social media and unlocks its power in ways we haven't yet seen. Through a Playskool-simple Web interface, Banjo turns a system built around "following" people into one organized by location. It shows only geolocated public posts made from mobile devices; those posts are drawn from what Patton calls a "world feed" he's created by aggregating more than a dozen major social networks and countingfrom Twitter to Instagram to Russia's VKontakte to China's Weibo.
So instead of letting your social stream simply wash over you, possibly filtered by a clunky grab bag of hashtags and keywords, you can work from the ground up, anywhere on earth. Interested in the public tweets coming out of Goldman Sachs's headquarters in lower Manhattan? Want to hear what's happening on Weibo around the Foxconn factory in Shenzen?
Or see the many subspecies of human getting Instagrammed at this month's Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California? Plug in the location plus keywords, if you wantand the map at the center of Banjo's screen resizes to the relevant scale, with all of the public posts in that area appearing as pins on the map and as cards, complete with text, photos, and video, alongside it.
All this in real time. Patton, who designed the technology and is the company's de facto CTO as well as CEO, thinks of Banjo not as a simple consumer product but as a platform, an underlying intelligence that others will come along and tap into, build on. And he's right that the implications of Banjo's technology are almost incalculable for businesses as diverse as financial services, marketinginsurance, news and media, public health, and beyond.Buying a stringed instrument is tough.
Buying a banjo is arguably the hardest of all to shop for. We want to help, that's why we've assembled this list of the best banjo brands. There are other great Banjo's out there, but by starting with these brands you'll cut out a lot of lower quality instruments. Although not as important, we also tried to select banjo manufacturers that give you a good selection regarding how many strings you'd like and a choice between open back or resonator.
Not all of these manufacturers are right for all of our readers, so we narrowed it down a bit. So, we judged companies on three factors. While it would be nice to list the Hubers, Gibsons, and Stellings of the world, it wouldn't do our average reader much good.
The brands on our list all have one thing in common. A reputation for quality. Several of them are better known for other styles of stringed instruments, but the quality and value of their banjos is unquestioned. It would be pretty cool to own a limited edition, numbered, specially made model from a small shop that produces 20 banjos a year. But just like price, that isn't realistic for many of our readers. These manufacturers can be found at your local music shop or at online sources like Amazon.
If you are looking for a Stelling, Huber, Gibson, or many of the other high-end manufacturers we recommend a used music shop. Not only will the price be more appealing but you'll get to play the instrument before you buy. For more specific information on individual models, you should jump over to our list of great beginner banjos and find the instruments we recommend! Not only does the company make a top-notch banjo it makes them in almost any configuration you're looking for.
While these banjos are produced with a beginner or limited budget customer in mind, they are an amazing value for a quality instrument. Started as Gold Tone Banjo inthis company specializes in high quality instruments for acoustic players of all levels. While we love, and will concentrate on, the banjos, the company has expanded to make a great offering of guitars, mandolins, bass, and ukulele. They also offer one of the best selection for "folkternative" instruments.
Hybrid instruments like the banjola, the Bela Fleck baritone banjocello banjo, and banjitar add a great variety for good string instrument players. The Gold Tone CC is often rated as one the best banjos for beginners, and the quality of the instrument could demand a much higher price than it normally does. Similar to Gold Tone, Oscar Schmidt makes a wide selection of stringed instruments. They are better known for their guitars, but the quality and experience of crafting fine instruments they've learned in over years as a company shines through on all their products.
Oscar Schmidt has yet to put out a truly high-end banjo, but with instruments like the OB5 picturedbeginner and intermediate banjo players could do much worse with a first or 2nd instrument than an Oscar Schmidt. Starting as a house brand for Montgomery Ward in the 30's, they've been mastering their craft ever since.This is a list of builders of 5-string banjos, both resonator and open back models. Also see guitar builders. At its peak, this list had 71 companies.
As of Februarythere are 53 or 52 if Gibson is ignored. This is surely a disturbing trend. Many of the defunct listings were for old-time, open-back banjos and most of these were from one-man shops, so perhaps it means that competition in this segment was severe and the loss of companies represents a thinning of the herd. If you know of any builders not on this list, please let me know.
Want to get on this list? Have a problem with this list? Find an error? Click the bar to view more details about the maker. Click the blue globe to visit the maker's Web site.
Rob Bishline South Sheridan Rd. Greg Galbreath P. Chuck Lee Banjo Company, Inc. As might be expected from the location, the majority of the business is in 4-string banjos. Some 5-strings are made each year.
Banjo (mobile application)
Dean O. DP Hopkins, Inc. A division of Gibson. No banjos currently in production, a sad condition for a past great name in instruments. I owned an Epiphone long-neck in the '60s and it was an excellent banjo.
Handcrafted, custom banjos for over 30 years. Christian has been with Tommy since and has another shop in Memphis. What is arguably the most famous banjo brand in the world is no longer manufactured following Nashville's flood.
Editorial Note: At some point I will remove this listing, but I just can't bring myself to do it yet. How can the brand that defined the instrument just vanish overnight? But what of the tradition, the history? I have absolutely no information for this brand at all other than having seen several McKinley banjos, which impressed me. Know anything?