12 Best Beginner Banjos in 2017

Being able to play the banjo can help you to stand apart as it is not an instrument that is commonly played by the average musician.

It can help to demonstrate your talent with a stringed instrument, but can also help you to create unique songs that help to demonstrate your creativity.

If you already have the ability to play the guitar and want to extend your skills, or you are starting from scratch, learning how to play the banjo is a great place to start.

Whether you have ambitions of being able to play some bluegrass, or you just like sounds that it can create, finding the best beginner banjo will be necessary.

Top 12 Beginner Banjos Comparison Table

DesignNameDrumheadStringsRating (1-5)
  1. 5-String Banjo 24 Bracket Mahogany 6 4.7
  2. Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo Maple 5 4.7
 3. Mastercraft Player Deluxe Banjo Mahogany 5 4.7
  4. Epiphone MB-200 Banjo Mahogany 5 4.6
  5. 6 String Banjo Guitar Mahogany 6 4.5
  6. PYLE-PRO PBJ60 5 String Banjo Remo 5 4.4
  7. SX Country 4 30G NA Banjo Remo 4 4.3
  8. Washburn Banjo Remo 5 4.2
  9. Rogue Travel / Starter Banjo Vintage 5 4.2
  10. Oscar Schmidt OB5 Gloss Mahogany 5-String Banjo Mahogany 5 4.0
  11. Pyle PBJ20 8-String 23-Inch Total Length Mandolin-Banjo Hybrid Remo 8 3.4
  12. Washburn Banjo Starter Kit Mahogany 5 2.5

Features to Expect from the Best Beginner Banjo

  • Number of Strings – Though many a typical banjo will comprise five strings, this does not mean that one cannot be found with a different number of strings. When you become more experienced, you may want to stretch yourself by trying a banjo with a greater number of strings.
  • Material – The material from which the banjo is made will dictate its strength and quality.
  • Instructional Material – When you are learning to play the banjo, instructions can be of great assistance even if you do have a teacher so that you can continue to learn in between lessons.
  • Accessories – There can be a number of accessories that can be included as part of the package when buying a banjo, such as a carry case to be able to safely transport the banjo from one place to another; or a pick make it easier for you to pluck the strings without causing damage to your fingers and still get a clear sound. Consider what accessories are included as part of the package with the banjo to determine what you can avoid buying separately.

Component Parts of a Banjo

Though it is easy to assume that a banjo comprises a neck and a body, a banjo is actually much more sophisticated and has a number of other parts.

In addition, the configuration will change for different banjos, such as whether it has a closed or open back.

In order to decide what features you want from a banjo, you first need to understand what these are.

  • Neck – The neck is the long stem of the banjo, which is actually made of several component parts, such as the peghead where the instrument is tuned.
  • Rim – The rim is the point at which you will rest your hand whilst playing the banjo and encompasses the drumhead.
  • Fingerboard – The fingerboard is part of the main body of the banjo, where you will learn to position your fingers correctly in order to tease a tune from the strings.
  • Drumhead – The drumhead is the main body of the banjo and uses brackets to attach the component parts.

Top 4 Beginner Banjos Reviews

1. Jameson Guitars BJ05RHBANJO

The quality of the Jameson Guitars brand 5 string banjo is immediately evident when the package is first opened, as it is already completely set up and the component parts look like they are quality.

The drumhead is made of mahogany and it is a closed back style, which is achieved with 24 brackets.

The neck is also mahogany and the fretboard is made of rosewood, all of which works well to create a stylish looking banjo.

It is solid, though it is not that heavy at about 9lbs, and feels like it is capable of lasting a long time.

The strings are already in place when it arrives and it is easy to tune with the pegheads, which are a good size and easily adjusted by larger fingers.

The Jameson Guitars 5 string banjo also has a geared fifth tuner.

The Jameson Guitars brand 5 string banjo is ideal for a beginner as it can last until they are professional.

2. Deering GOODTIME BANJO/ GT

The Deering Goodtime 5-String banjo comes ready strung and can be played straight out of the box, which was undertaken after a little adjustment to get the right tone.

It is mostly made from blond maple, and this is what is visible at first glance, but the bridge also comprises some ebony. With the satin finish of the wood and the nickel plated metal components, the overall appearance is a pretty and cohesive look.

The neck of this banjo tapers up to the geared tuners and it seems slimmer than on other banjos. It is comfortable to hold and easy to play.

It is only 4lbs, so it is really light but it still feels sturdy.

The Deering Goodtime 5-String banjo is great for a beginner banjo player who requires an instrument that is easy to play.

3. Mastercraft Player Deluxe Banjo Package

The Mastercraft Player Deluxe Banjo is seemed designed for use as a beginner banjo, as it contains a number of accessories that make it possible to immediately start playing.

Besides the banjo itself, the package also contains a book, a DVD, picks and a clip on tuner. Even the tuning was right straight out of the package and it did not require any adjustment. However, it does have a geared fifth tuner in addition to the standard ones, when they are required.

The Mastercraft Player Deluxe banjo is a good-looking instrument.

The strings are positioned well and close enough to the fingerboard to make it easy to play different notes and to quickly be able to learn a tune.

This is the best beginner banjo as it provides a number of accessories to facilitate the process of learning to play.

4. Epiphone EFB1MRCH1

The Epiphone MB-200 is made up of various woods, but they all work well together and it does not look disjointed.

Playing it straight away, it was found to need just a touch of tuning after it first arrived. This was easy to achieve though and only required turning of the tuning gears in order to achieve the required note of the string.

The tone of the notes produced following correct tuning was impressive and carried well when they were plucked just right.

Playing a song sounds great on the Epiphone MB-200 and the size makes it easy to play.

It is a closed back style that has been designed with care as it is very pretty and it is a shame that the rear is not often seen due to the manner in which it is played.

The Epiphone MB-200 banjo who like to be able to play a beautiful tune on a beautiful instrument.