Buying Your First Banjo: Tips on Prices

Once you decide to learn how to play banjo, you face the need to find a decent musical instrument. The first instrument in your life does not have to be professional or too expensive. If you are wondering whether you can find the best cheap banjo with similar features as an advanced one, read this article. Since you are new to this instrument, you might find helpful the information on average prices on the market I collected for you.

Average Prices on the Market

Prices for music instruments can usually be divided into cheap, intermediate, and expensive categories. Based on the quality, brand, features, and even sound clarity, they can be for beginners, students currently studying, and professionals. At the beginning of your music journey, you will hardly need a professional banjo since it requires advanced skills. Using the proper instrument is the best way to start learning how to play the banjo.

Average prices on the market:

  • Banjo for beginners is $120 – $450;
  • Banjo for halfway students is $350 – $900;
  • Banjo for professionals is $900 – $5,000.

Things to Consider

Before shopping, decide what type of music you want to play, what features of the instrument you’ll need, and where you will use it. There are numerous factors to consider, and one of the major ones is the music you will play. If you don’t know the answer yet, it is better to consult with your teacher or listen to the samples of each style online.

Prices based on music type:

  • Bluegrass banjo is from $300 up to $1,000 and above;
  • Folk banjo is from $400 up to $1,000 and above;
  • Clawhammer banjo is from $250 up to $1,000 and above;
  • Country banjo is from $200 up to $1,000 and above.

These banjos differ based on the music style. While you may still perform the average country music on the folk banjo, you will not be able to use it to play bluegrass music. Banjo for bluegrass has five strings and a resonator so you can amplify the sound. Instruments with resonators are more expensive than open-back models. Resonator prices start from $300. The open-back models are cheaper and cost $200.

You need a four-string instrument with an open back to play country music. Of course, you can play dixie music on a wide range of instruments, but they will not sound as well as those specifically designed for these melodies. Don’t rush ordering the banjo if you are unsure about the style.

The Average Prices

Spend a few minutes to search for banjos online quickly. You will notice that this musical instrument does not have a fixed price. Some models cost no more than $150, while others will go $2,000 and above. Your current instrument requirements should determine the price you pay and what kind of instrument will be sufficient for you in the first stage of your learning.

It would be helpful to define the upper threshold for you. You’d better avoid buying an expensive banjo at the start of your learning process. Wait until you reach the level that will require a professional instrument.

Choose Your Level

Another important step is determining which level you want to reach in banjo playing. If you are aiming at a professional level, that’s great, and you can consider venturing into a half-professional banjo. However, try to postpone buying a professional model since it is harder to play, trickier, and costs much more than a banjo for beginners. Here are the tips based on the level:

  • You may order the beginner’s kit if you have never played banjo before. It includes the instruction, tuner, picks, bag for banjo, and a strap, apart from the music instrument. The kit can cost more than the banjo itself. It may start from $300;
  • Medium level. If you have already been playing banjo for some time, you need no starter kit as it could probably be your second or third instrument. One of the defining criteria for you could be brand: not necessarily legendary, but reliable. You might Fender, Goodtime, or Huber. Make sure that the instrument is durable. Check the bridge, neck, and the tuning pegs;
  • If you are an experienced banjo player, you may already know what to look for when choosing the instrument. You might need extra customization of the banjo for comfort during the long hours of playing. An electric banjo could be a good option.

Start Now

If you are really into banjo music, nothing will stop you from buying your own instrument and playing it. Start with something simple. You may consider the starters kit, which includes everything you need for your first sessions.

Once you learn how to play well,  you can choose which extra features you need to refine your technique.

What has been your experience with choosing the right banjo so far? Please, share your story in the comments with us!