So, you have made the decision to buy a banjo, great! We have written this little guide to help you choose the right one for you.
There are a few things to consider when looking for your perfect banjo: Budget, Brand and Genre/strings.
Consider what you are willing to spend on a banjo before you start looking – this will help to narrow your search. Forgetting the rubbish budget banjos, you can get a decent banjo from not much more than £100. In fact, our best-selling banjo (which gets a 5* review from our customers), is just shy of £120 at the moment –The Rocket Deluxe Western 5 String Banjo.
Banjos go up to around £1,000 (on the usual market – I’m sure there are some much more expensive special edition models available). If you are reading this guide, it is unlikely that you would ever need to spend that much money. You can get a fantastic quality banjo for no more than £300.
Some popular brands of banjo are: Stagg, Rocket, Washburn, Barnes and Mullins, Pilgrim, Epiphone… the list goes on.
Stagg and Rocket Banjos are perfect for beginners. They are relatively inexpensive and well made, and even the cheapest model has a high quality Remo head. A particularly popular model with our customers is the Stagg BJW24 Deluxe Western Banjo. All 23 of our customer reviews for this product are 4 or 5 stars!
Barnes and Mullins have been making bajos well before any of you readers were born! They continually develop their banjos and offer a range of different products from around £190 (for their ‘perfect’ model banjo) up to almost £300 (for their ‘Rathbone’ model banjo).
Pilgrim and Epiphone generally make higher end Banjos, and in my opinion, you do not get as much value for money. Sure, they are good quality, but compared with Stagg and Rocket in particular, you will pay over the odds for these brands.
Consider what type of music you’d like to play with your banjo. Banjos are generally styled for a particular type of music:
Folk song accompaniments – For this, any type of 5 String banjo would be perfect
Top Choice: Rocket Deluxe Western 5 String Banjo
American ‘Old time’ – Open back 5 strings banjos. These banjos are fairly small and have reasonably easy fingering.
Top Choice: Stagg BJW-OPEN 5 String Banjo
Bluegrass Music – Resonator banjos (mainly called bluegrass banjos!)
Top Choice: Stagg 6 String Bluegrass Banjo (a popular one with guitarists…)