The banjo is a one-of-a-kind instrument that can have various types of features made for particular styles of playing. It is one of the most indispensable instrumental voices in Country music, Bluegrass, folk music, and Dixieland jazz.
This particular instrument is very famous in these genres of music. There are advantages and disadvantages of every banjo but there are some banjos that will give you an unsatisfactory experience and are simply not worth your while.
Banjos that are made of low-quality materials will make your banjo experience much more difficult. Keep in mind that, a poorly manufactured one will not provide you any extraordinary features and you may have to replace it sooner than you initially wanted to.
In this guide, you will learn about the Banjo brands to avoid, what you should pay attention to when trying out a brand and we will also answer some of the most common questions that are asked by beginners all the time.
Banjo Brands to Avoid
It boils down to your preference. A Banjo that is good for bluegrass, may not be good for Dixieland music and vice versa. Some banjos produce bright and strong tones while some banjos create a calmer tone.
If you are buying a banjo to play Bluegrass, find brands that provide good banjos to play bluegrass music and avoid those that don’t. If you want to play Old-time music, find brands that are well known for that and stay away from those that are not.
There are banjos made for different types of music so when you are buying a banjo, choose a brand that makes banjos that are proficient in the type of music that you want to play.
Different types of banjos offer different features. Some banjos are splendid for beginners but inadequate for professional banjo players.
Contrarily, there are a lot of banjos that produce impeccable sound and are perfect for professional players however, they might be tough for the people that want to learn to play the instrument.
So for a banjo that you may think is unsatisfactory might be useful for someone else. Nonetheless, here are some qualities that could make a specific banjo brand to be considered bad or sub-par:
If a brand has negative reviews or has been known for making banjos that are not good enough, you should avoid that specific brand.
When you are looking for a banjo, you are going to find a lot of brands that you have never heard of. Some of them might come with a golden eagle on the back of it. At first glance, while checking the price, they seem too good to be true and that is because they are.
If you want to purchase a banjo that is up to the mark, make sure to check the brand’s reputation in the banjo market. If a banjo brand is praised by professional banjo players and has positive feedbacks, it will most likely be good for you as well.
It is well advised to consider the brands available to you When out there searching for the best banjo.
Throughout the years, the fascination for this stringed instrument has escalated.
Keep in mind, you need to pick a brand that will fulfill your requirements. Do not be influenced by some of the lucrative deals that some of the brands offer if the brand does not appear trustworthy.
You should research which banjos are popular and reliable, consult with banjo specialists, and look for suggestions on the best brands you can buy.
Talk with experienced banjo players because they can provide you the details of the best brands in the market.
Pro Tip: Try to find a retailer that you can count on. Find out if the store that you are going to buy from, has a fine reputation, top-notch customer support, and has a department for maintenance. After that, you can cheerfully take your banjo for repairs if you ever need to.
Buy from a brand that is well known and has a good reputation in the market because buying from a brand that nobody has heard of, is a risk that you do not want to take especially if you are a beginner.
A common mistake that beginners make when choosing a banjo brand is to look for the cheapest one because they are on a budget yet they still end spending more money and time.
How? Let us break it down. Cheap banjos usually have a lot of flaws and are poorly manufactured. Some brands will mislead you by showing you the low prices of their banjos and will conceal their disadvantages.
Once you buy a banjo that is poorly constructed, you will face a lot of issues and may end up going to repair shops a lot. After a while, it may become too problematic to use and you may have to sell it sooner than you wanted.
On the flip side, if you buy a banjo that is at an affordable price range and provides a lot of good features, purchasing it will ensure you that you can play that instrument for a lot of years.
If the price of a banjo seems too good to be true, it probably is. There are a lot of brands renowned for making affordable banjos that are great for new banjo players such as Gold Tone or Deering. So, when purchasing a banjo, make sure you avoid poor-quality ones.
Most banjo players that buy their first banjo tend to buy the cheapest one available however, you might end up losing your interest in learning how to play it because of a low-quality brand.
If you are saving money to buy a banjo, at least make sure that you are getting a banjo that is worth the price regardless of how much you pay for it. When you purchase a banjo that is enjoyable for you to play, you may end up keeping it for a very long time.
There are plenty of scammers out there who create fake banjo brands and operate on malicious websites intending to exploit your lack of knowledge.
If you want to make sure whether a brand is reliable or not, simply go on to their official pages and check their details.
Scammers will always show that their banjos are very affordable and you can pre-order them by sending them cash. Be careful of those fraudulent brands and do not fall for their misleading advertisements.
These are some of the ways you could figure out if a banjo brand is untrustworthy. The brands that provide good service are well known by professional banjo players so you will get plenty of help by talking to a few of them.
By now, you know that banjos can be different. Some are bulky and some are very lightweight. The top-tier banjos have a higher price range than those cheap ones because of the difference in quality. Some banjos provide lots of features while some lack the basic ones and they can sound very different than each other.
So figure out what type of sound that you want your banjo to produce so you will automatically know which Banjo brands to avoid as they do not fit your needs.
Now, if you are a beginner, we would recommend you avoid brands like Rogue because there are a lot of other banjo brands that are better suited for beginners.
The most common issue of Rogue banjos is that there is some buzz on the strings that can become problematic for entry-level banjo players. You should avoid the low-priced models as they are not that great and there are other alternatives such as the Epiphone.
Of course, most of the brands have a wide selection of banjo models so if you like a banjo and it fits your needs and budget, then buy it. Keep in mind, you will need to check the important parts of the banjos that can create a negative impact on it if they have any issues.
4 Things to Look Out for When Choosing a Brand
Suppose, you have found a banjo brand that is unheard of. They are providing incredible deals on banjos with good features but you are not totally sure about them. How do you find out if they are reliable or if their banjos are as good as they claim?
Here are some of the things you need to look out for when purchasing a banjo:
If the banjo brand is bad, the tuning pegs in the headstock will move too openly so the instrument can’t be kept in tune. On the flip side, If the brand is decent, the headstock is fitted properly and it will never become loose when playing the banjo.
If the banjo has a fingerboard with rough spots that make it uncomfortable to play, then the banjo is not good. The fingerboard of the banjo should be fresh and not overly worn. The fingerboard must be fixed suitably to guarantee that there is no movement between the neck and body of the banjo.
The parts of the banjo that can cause issues are mostly identified with the strings because the tension has to be maintained so that you can keep playing the banjo. If it’s not able to hold the strings properly because of it wearing out or due to it is of poor quality, then the banjo won’t be of any use.
Nowadays, the neck of the banjo has a steel reinforcement rod, however, the remainder of the neck, along with the fingerboard, is built of wood. As it’s a long, thin piece of wood, its shape can warp after a while, which creates issues with the intonation of the banjo. It gets more difficult to press down on the strings, and even harder to play notes which are in tune with each other.
When you are looking at a handful of banjos, it’s wise for you to check these crucial parts of the banjo so that you can avoid buying an inadequate one.
What Banjo brand should you choose when buying a banjo?
There are plenty of brands to choose from that will provide you good-quality banjos. You can’t go wrong with brands like Deering, Epiphone, or Fender. These are the type of brands that are well-known and reliable so you will be getting a banjo that’s worth the money.
How many strings do you need for your banjo?
The most used banjo setup is five strings. If you’re hoping to play bluegrass or old-time music, you will need a 5-string banjo but there are different alternatives as well.
How high should the strings above the frets?
Deering banjos are set with the initial four strings around 1/8 or 3/16 of an inch over the 22nd fret. While a couple of experts pick the strings to be pretty much as high as ¼ inch, they are uncommon but they choose that string height instead of a banjo that can’t play any better compared to that.
Do the banjos come with a warranty?
Yes, most banjo brands will provide you 5-6 years of warranty for repairs and maintenance.
There are a handful of banjo brands out there so picking a specific brand is always going to be difficult. The brands that provide good banjo brands are usually the popular ones. Once you get into the banjo community, you will find lots of banjo enthusiasts who are willing to help you improve your playing experience.
To summarize this article, instead of looking for Banjo brands to avoid, look for brands that don’t have a bad reputation and stay away from poor-quality banjos. Some shady banjo brands will try to lure you by showing lucrative deals on their fraudulent sites but you should be able to identify them by looking further into their details.
When looking at the banjo itself, always check if the important parts of the banjos are in good condition so that you don’t end purchasing a redundant one.