Choosing the best banjo before knowing how to play it can be quite challenging. If you are a beginner, then you must consider plenty of things before purchasing this musical instrument. Banjo comes with a variety of features intended for a specific playing style.
You need to consider how many strings the banjo has, and whether it is a closed or open-back banjo. You also need to consider the scale length before buying your first banjo. Moreover, most of the beginner banjos come with a very reasonable price range too. In this context, we will cover what kind of banjo will be right for you and how to choose the best one.
What is Banjo?
What is a banjo, and what is the purpose of it? According to Wikipedia, it is a stringed instrument that comes with a cavity to form a resonator or a thin membrane stretched over a frame. This traditional percussion instrument has a circular membrane which is usually made of plastic, animal skin, or high-quality wood.
This musical instrument will help you to add folly and cultural aspects to your music. Banjo’s tune or sound quality will also be a good choice for playing Irish music and old-time music.
This musical instrument comes with three major factors, its strings, body, and neck. Moreover, banjo comes in three different types based on strings, including our, five, and six-string banjos. Among all the banjo’s 5-string banjo is the most used one, and it is the perfect banjo to buy on a budget range.
Things to Consider for Choosing
While most people think choosing a banjo for beginners is a little tricky, actually it is not. Here we have included some key factors that you must need to consider before choosing the best banjo for you.
1. Number of Strings
Just like guitars, banjos also come with different types of strings. Basically, you will find three types of string in a banjo, four, five, and six-string. Among all of them, the 5-string banjo is the most popular and common one for playing folk and bluegrass music.
The four-string banjo is also called a plectrum banjo which works almost similar to a 5-string banjo. However, it does not have a drone string, and it is strummed with a guitar pick. The six-string banjo is tuned and played like a guitar, and its membrane drumhead offers excellent sound quality.
2. Open or Closed-back
Another important thing you need to consider in choosing a banjo with open or closed-back. When you choose the classic banjo, it will be an open back, which means the backside will not be covered. Moreover, you can also choose the closed-back banjo, which is also called a resonator banjo.
Closed-back banjos are basically used for bluegrass music. Furthermore, they have a flange and resonator, which makes the sound louder. So you have to decide what type of banjo you need to buy based on your needs.
3. Music Type
You must need to consider the music type before purchasing a new banjo. There are different types of banjos available based on music type. If you want to play Dixieland or Irish music, a four-string banjo is an excellent choice for a lively tune. You can choose 17-fret tenor banjos, 19-fret tenor banjos, or plectrum banjos for Dixieland tunes.
Or if you want to play bluegrass, country, gospel, jazz, folk, classical, or rock music, you need to choose a five-string banjo. Moreover, except for Dixieland or Irish Music, the five-string banjo is suitable for almost all types of music.
4. Internal Pickups
Like acoustic guitars, banjos can also come with or without internal pickups. Moreover, like electric guitar pickups, the pickups on the banjo are specialized to produce specific frequencies. However, it is not necessary to pick a banjo with internal pickup functions. You can choose a banjo without internal pickups. If you choose a banjo with internal pickups, it will let you perform with bands more comfortably.
5. Banjo Wood
Here comes another important thing, and you also need to consider the banjo wood type before purchasing. That is because several types of wood will offer different types of tone rings. If you pick the mahogany wood-made banjo, it will offer you a warm and gentle sound. It will also give you a slower response.
When you choose maple wood, it will give you a crisp and sharp sound. It will let you play in both soft and loud tones. Moreover, you can also choose walnut wood-made banjo. It will give you a brighter sound than mahogany and a warmer sound than maple.
6. Easy to Play
Besides considering the banjo type, you also need to make sure that the banjo is flexible enough to use. Some banjo comes with a thicker neck which is pretty difficult to use as a beginner. And some banjo comes with D-shaped, which is easier to handle and play.
However, you need to consider your hand dominance too. It may seem like an obvious suggestion, but you must consider which hand you prefer to play the banjo before buying it.
7. Price Range
From cheap to high-priced, you will find banjos in all types of the price range. Banjo features, brand, and material quality make a huge difference in the price. As a beginner, you will not need to spend a lot of money to buy a good quality banjo. However, don’t forget to read the reviews before purchasing your first banjo.
What Type of Banjo Is Best for Beginners?
If you are a beginner and want to choose the best string banjo, you can go for five-string banjos. The 5-string banjo is the first-ever banjo that was invented, and also, it is really easy to learn. There is a myth that it’s difficult to learn to play five-string banjos, but actually, it is not.
A 5-string banjo can be the perfect banjo when you want to buy it for banjo music as a beginner. Five-string banjos are also considered budget banjos which contain plenty of key features to produce a brighter tone.
A 5-string banjo can be an excellent choice for most beginners because it is much easier to play. When you compare the 5-string banjo to others, it will definitely win the race. Moreover, you can also play this popular banjo through the three-finger and clawhammer style.
As you can see, you have to consider plenty of factors while purchasing the banjo for you. You will find many types of banjo, but not all of them will be suitable for you. As you are not a professional banjo or stringed instrument user, you will find the best banjo in an affordable price range.
Above, we have discussed how to choose a perfect beginner banjo player. What type of music you will play is also a good factor you need to consider while picking a string banjo. That is because any normal type of string banjo will not let you play all types of music.