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Best Banjo For The Money 2023… 11 That DON’T Suck!!

What is the best sounding banjo? Which is the best for beginners? We investigate...

SPOILER: The best banjo for the money isn’t actually that expensive.

Nope – that’s no joke.

See while various other online sources may claim to get your hands on the best banjo you should spend silly money (upwards of £800), we seriously beg to differ. And that’s because everything – including banjos – has a ceiling value.

Heck, for that sort of £$€, you could grab yourself a Limited Edition Fender Stratocaster (one of the most iconic electric guitars of all time)… & have pocket change!! See what we mean? Exactly why we’d say the most you should be paying for a banjo is really no more than £350. Especially considering that for 99.99999% of you reading this blog, a banjo is merely going to be a casual instrument. Perhaps serve as secret talent or double as a new hobby.

So take our word for it when we say, unless you’re a professional banjo player who’s making a living out of your banjo, you’ll be more than happy with a cheaper model. But with that being said, you can’t just buy any old budget banjo – just like with every instrument, there are some to avoid. All of which beggars the question, what brand of banjo should I buy? How do I choose a banjo? Read on to find out.

After something specific about what banjo is best for beginners? Or just curious what we feel is the best banjo for the money? Dive into the menu below to find all the answers you need FAST…

old man strumming his banjo casually

NOTE: Interested in more than just banjos? Be sure to also check out our rundown of the Best Electric Banjos + the Best Protective Banjo Cases.

Choosing a banjo is no laughing matter.

In fact, it’s actually quite a complex task, as there’s a fair few things to bear in mind. Not only do good banjos need to be made of a solid material (usually wood), but they also have to be long lasting, have decent strings & sound the part too. A combo that (we’ll be honest) isn’t the easiest to pin down, especially when no 2 banjos are the same.

So without further ado, here’s the instruments we think you should consider when trying to pin down the best banjo for the money…

1: Mulucky B803 5 string travel banjo

buy a good value banjo

2: Gold Tone Plucky 5 string vintage banjo

3: Kmise concert banjolele

4: Aklot 5 string open back banjo

close up of a banjo neck

5: Mulucky MB1101 5 string open back banjo

6: Kmise 5 string professional resonator banjo

7: Deering Goodtime 17-fret tenor banjo

Deering banjo being played by a teenager

8: Jameson Guitars 5-string solid back banjo

While we can’t confirm exactly when these 2 instruments had their audacious fling, banjoleles have been around for a long while.

And really, the more you look at them, the more you understand why. One thing to note when buying a banjo is the size; banjos aren’t the smallest of instruments, nor the lightest. So in the case you’re thinking of travelling with your banjo or just looking for a slightly more compact instrument in terms of storage, then a banjolele can be a great go-between.

Of course, being smaller, banjoleles tend to be slightly brighter in tone, but (in our experience) still manage to retain that signature ‘banjoey-ness’. These are NOT misshapen ukuleles. Sound appealing? Here’s what we consider to be the best banjolele you can buy…

9: Eringogo 4 string banjolele

cheap banjo being used by old man to entertain kids

Being a beginner banjo player can be quite confusing. Especially when you’re looking for quite a few things from a banjo.

Not only do you need one that perform (both in terms of sound & playability), but you also don’t want it to be too expensive either; chances are as a beginner, your pockets aren’t actually that deep. So really, you’re after the perfect go-between. A banjo that’s just as functional as it is affordable. Perhaps even slightly scaled down from a typical banjo too.

And you know what – as it happens, you’re in luck, because we think we’ve found just that. Read on to discover what we deem to be the best banjo for beginners…

10: Mulucky BU8017 4 string concert banjo for beginners

Choosing a banjo (or in fact any handheld instrument) as a left hander, you can feel a bit… excluded.

Fact remains that with the majority of banjo players being right handed, finding a left handed banjo is actually quite a task. All of which really can limit your options VERY quickly. Not that you should let it put you off though! Some of the best string instrument players to ever live (Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney etc.) were all lefties. Plus, we’ve actually found a banjo that we think might suit.

Here’s what we consider to be the best banjo for lefties…

11: Ortega Guitars left-handed acoustic electric banjolele

Enjoy this review of the best banjos for the money & eager for more? Jump into our most recent Instrument Advice, & sample our latest String Instrument Knowledge. Recently, we also did a full review of the Electric Guitars For Beginners + another on the Best Beginner Mandolins, which may also be a good read!

reviewers searching for the best banjo you can buy

Or if you’ve still trying to decide what’s the best banjo for the money in your eyes, keep reading & we’ll answer more of your burning questions…

Choosing the ideal banjo may be very difficult, regardless of whether you are a beginner or an experienced player. We are aware of the scope of the problem. That’s why we have compiled a list of the best 5 banjo brands so you can avoid information overload while making your choice. Each of these brands produces high-quality instruments at competitive costs, so sticking with them will help you avoid buying anything poorly. 

  • Ortega Guitars
  • Ibanez
  • Deering
  • Gold Tone

A beginner’s banjo can be difficult to find if you don’t know what to look for. Many banjos emphasize bright finishes, elaborate inlays, and dazzling hardware. Why? Because they divert attention away from the most crucial elements for beginners. 

Before purchasing a banjo, it’s important to consider the wood. The wood of the edge and the neck greatly influence a banjo’s tone. Rosewood will give you a softer, warmer tone, while walnut will be halfway in between. 

Maple timber has a natural brilliance. Other important factors are price and durability. The price of your banjo should not cost you an arm and a leg. It should be pocket-friendly, which should come with a guaranteed durability of your instrument. 

The price of the banjo is certainly one of your first inquiries. The cost of the banjo is frequently an indicator of the device’s quality, just like it is with other things of life and the majority of musical instruments. A banjo will typically cost between $50 and $3,000 on average. 

A good introductory kit with a lower-end version should be between $150 and $300 for individuals just starting. If you are unsure whether you’ll persist with it, this is absolutely a fantastic purchase. You will get a pretty good banjo with a price range of $300 to $425. Pros can also get customised banjos for $2,000 to $3,000. However, only professionals should opt for this option. 

Yes, banjos do suit beginners. Certain banjos are great for beginners. We think the Vangoa is the best beginner banjo. It’s a lovely instrument with a fantastic tone, and it comes with all the supplies a novice would want, such as a pack of additional chords, a carrying bag, a tuner, a self-adhesive pickup, and three pickups. Even if the selections are undoubtedly on the small side, we like how effectively the tuner functions and also like the quality of the carry bag. You may adjust the vangoa banjo as well. 

The musician can alter the placement of the strings and maintain a straight banjo collar by lowering or compressing the outside and inner nut on the truss board. Additionally, it may function as an open or sealed back banjo since the resonator is detachable.

If you are unfamiliar with the two instruments, the discussion between the guitar and banjo never ends. Of course, there are certain parallels between the guitar and the banjo, which might confuse beginners. If you want to start learning but aren’t sure which to pick up first, consider these two options. We advise you to learn the banjo first. 

The ease of performing is inversely correlated with the number of chords on all musical instruments, meaning an instrument is easier to play if it has fewer strings. You can begin playing the banjo more quickly than the guitar since the banjo has fewer strings than the guitar.

The banjo is a special instrument with several qualities that may be tailored to particular playing styles. Many musicians love to play it because of the beautiful tone it delivers. Those with five strings are the most popular and ideal banjos for playing bluegrass and folk music. 

Most string instruments have a neck that is adjusted from low to high. A feature of the five-string banjo is a drone string that begins in the centre of the neck and is set higher than the other chords.

Ibanez is a top-notch guitar manufacturer with a reputable name in the business. They provide high-end instruments for professionals as well as beginner-friendly guitars and basses. 

Ibanez is a well-known company that has been in business since 1957 and is best known for making acoustic guitars. The bulk of the instruments that Ibanez makes is affordable to middle-range in price. 

The B50 banjo of this brand is one of the top beginner-level banjos available and offers folks with extremely limited budgets a high-quality alternative. You will get a high-quality sound with the B50 if you cannot pay for any high-end string instrument. 

The Ibanez closed-back Banjo costs less than the B200 since it has fewer extras but the same sound quality as their more costly B200.

The Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass of Steve Martin was established in 2010 to honor and support bluegrass artists. 

The actor has been practicing the instrument since the tender age of 17. In many of their concerts, many people see Steve Martin, Mark Johnson, and Kevin Nealon practicing Clawgrass banjo tones. 

A claw grass banjo is a top-notch instrument for seasoned players and easy to learn for beginners. These banjos are solid, of high quality, and excellent for learners. They are also fun to play.

There is not much distinction between professional and beginner banjos. Professional banjos can be used by beginners too, and vice versa. However, professional banjos take a little longer to master for beginners, whereas professionals can easily practice on any banjo regardless of the type. Beginner banjos feature a rolled brass tone hoop instead of a tone ring. 

They work well for learning but won’t be loud enough in a jam or band setting. When moving from beginner to professional, the weight is most likely the biggest change you’ll notice. The beginner banjos on your list weigh 6 to 8 pounds, while a tone ring-equipped professional banjo weighs around 12 pounds.