A banjo is a musical instrument that was originally designed for playing Appalachian music in the 1800s. It has evolved into different styles and types of banjos that offer various kinds of sound.

Which type you choose will depend on what style you want to play. It also depends on how much money you have to spend on the instrument.

It’s one of the most popular instruments in America. Banjos have been played as part of folk music as well as country music for centuries.

There are plenty of banjo models out there for you to try out, but not all of them are worth your money.

That’s why we created this list to help you find the best banjo for the money:

  1. Best Banjo for the Money: Deering Goodtime 2
  2. Banjo for Beginners & Intermediate: Ibanez B200
  3. Best Goldtone Banjo: Gold-Tone CC-100R Cripple Creek Banjo
  4. Best Resonator Banjo: Jameson 5-String Banjo 24 Bracket
  5. Affordable Banjo: Vangoa 5-String Banjo
  6. Best Overall Banjo: Deering Goodtime
  7. Perfect for Beginners: Epiphone MB-200
Best Banjo For the Money
Table Of Contents

Buying Guide

The banjos provided in the list were specifically picked for you to buy the best banjo withing budget. But we’ll also provide a guideline for you to narrowdown your focus and buy more conveniently.

There are several factors you sould consider before buying a good banjo with lower expense.

Price

Since we’re talking about best banjo for the money, pricing is one of the most important factors you should consider before buying. 

Your budget is limited and you have to find the best within this budget.

If you want to have a good play with your banjo you sould ignore the fancy stuff and go for good specs in the banjo. This’ll cost less.

Tuning

A banjo sould have a good tuning system. Especially if you are beginner and trying to buy the best banjo within your budget, then you should go for the geared tuners. You’ll have an easy time tuning your banjo.

Wood

A banjo needs to be sturdy and durable. Otherwise your banjo won’t be able to withstand rough usage. Depending on the wood it’s made off, the sound quality of your banjo will also differ.

If you want to play folk music with your banjo, then you should buy one manufactured with mahogany wood. Mahogony banjo projects a soft, warm and mellow tone suitable for classical music.

For bluegrass music, you’ll need banjo made with maple which will create a sharp and loude tone.

If you want something in between, you can look for a walnut banjo.

Number of Strings

5 string banjos are the most famous ones. However, you can also use 4 string, 6 string banjo and even 8 strings banjo. Though banjo strings have less impact on the quality on a banjo, you should still check them out.

Back Type

There are two main types of banjo. These are – Open back and resonator banjo.

Open back banjos don’t have anything at the back of the banjo. These are usually good for clasical or folk music as they produce soft and warm music.

On the other hand, resonator banjos are mainly used for bluegrass music since they project sharper and louder tone.

Learn more about this from Open Back vs Resonator Banjo.

Brand

There are many non-brand banjos that can give you very good service. 

But it’s safe to stick with the brands. Because these brands have already proven what they are capable of. On the other hand, you don’t know about the non brand banjos at all.

Warrenty

Check if the banjo has a warranty or not. If you can return the faulty banjo for a replacement or repair then it’s fine. Also, read the warranty instruction carefully and understand if it’s well explained or not.

Comparison Table for Best Banjo for the money

NameBack TypeWeightStringsPrice
Deering Goodtime 2Maple6 Pounds5 Check Latest Price
Ibanez B200Mahogany & Basswood12 Pounds5Check Latest Price
Gold-Tone CC-100R BanjoMaple6.5 Pounds5Check Latest Price
Jameson 5-String BanjoMahogany9.55Check Latest Price
Vangoa 5-String BanjoMahogany6.22 pounds5Check Latest Price
Deering GoodtimeOpen Back4 Pounds5Check Latest Price
Epiphone MB-200Mahogany5 Pounds6Check Latest Price

1.Best Banjo for the Money: Deering Goodtime 2

Features

  • Budget-friendly
  • Maple Resonator
  • High-Quality Materials
  • Strong & Durable
  • Convenient Usages
  • Simplicity
  • Quality within Lower Price
  • Lightweight

Deering Goodtime 2 Specifications

BrandDeering
Top MaterialTop frosted mylar
Back MaterialMaple
String MaterialAlloy Steel
Number of Strings5
Body MaterialMaple
Fretboard MaterialMaple
Weight6 Pounds

See More Details Here…

Product Description

Budget-friendly

Deering Goodtime 2 Banjo is one of the best banjos you can find within budget. It includes a slim rock maple neck with sealed gear tuners and a three-ply maple edge.

Maple Resonator

The Deering Goodtime 2 banjo has a closed-back style with a single bound maple resonator. It’s useful for offering an incredible projection of sound.

High-Quality Materials

During the manufacturing of this Banjo, high-quality materials are used.

Strong & Durable

Due to the high-quality material used in the manufacturing process, Deering banjos are robust which makes them suitable for regular usage. It’s a very durable banjo that’ll last for a long time. The head of the banjo is around 11 inches.

Convenient Usages

This model of Deering Goodtime banjo has a blonde slim maple neck with 22 nickel silver frets. The geared tuners will provide you with clarity in note separation. While playing the banjo, you can rest your arm comfortably on the nickel-plated armrest.

Simplicity

The Deering Goodtime 2 Banjo has 5-strings and offers simple tuning. It guarantees you to get high and low notes with no trouble at all.

Quality within Lower Price

The natural blond maple of Goodtime Banjo has a satin finish to protect it. Goodtime banjos are the lowest priced banjos manufactured in the US.

Lightweight

This 5 string maple back resonator banjo only weighs 6 pounds. The Goodtime Deering 2 Banjo is also ideal for traveling due to its lightweight.

Pros

  • Lowest price among American made banjos
  • Maple resonator projects sound incredible
  • Manufactured with high-quality materials
  • Strong and durable
  • The clarity in note separation
  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight and suitable for traveling

Cons

  • Does not have a tone ring
  • Not recommended for clawhammer style

2.Banjo for Beginners & Intermediate: Ibanez B200

Features

  • Reasonable Price
  • High-Quality Material
  • Strong & Durable
  • Comfortable
  • Modern Look
  • Perfect Tune

Ibanez B200 Specifications

BrandIbanez
Top MaterialRosewood, Mahogany, Basswood
Back MaterialMahogany, Basswood
Bridge MaterialPurpleheart + Maple bridge
Tuning MachineChrome banjo tuners
Fretboard MaterialPurpleheart
Weight12 Pounds
Number of Strings5

See More Details Here…

Product Description

Reasonable Price

Ibanez B200 Banjo comes at a reasonable price. It’s a 5-string banjo with an organizer bar that has a closed-back style. The banjo creates a fantastic sound that’s clear and deep.

High-Quality Material

The neck and the fretboard of Ibanez B200 are made with Mahogany wood. High-quality materials are utilized while constructing this banjo.

Additionally, this banjo features a rosewood resonator covered with acrylic pearl block. The tuner of this Ibanez banjo gives the best filing with 22 frets. The armrest is chrome with carving. The material of the bridge is rosewood and maple.

Strong & Durable

The tailpiece of this banjo is made of chrome clamshell, which makes the body solid. Ibanez B200 can endure rough use and you can use it for a long time.

Comfortable

The armrest gives you the most significant comfort while playing the Ibanez B200.

Modern Look

The gloss finish carries a unique and modern touch to this musical instrument.

Perfect Tune

Ibanez B200 banjo includes double rim manufactured by using basswood block edge with 24-lug setup. A mahogany resonator and rolled brass tone ring create the perfect tone while putting things in tune.

Read the full review for Ibanez B200 Banjo

Pros

  • You can buy Ibanez B200 at a reasonable price
  • The banjo is strong and durable due to high-quality material
  • It was created with the user’s comfort in mind
  • Has a polished and shiny finish with a modern look
  • The sound projection is very powerful

Cons

  • Have to fix the by tightening the nut now and then
  • The fit of the tone ring to the pot is poor
  • Some of the components are cheap

3.Best Goldtone Banjo: Gold-Tone CC-100R

Features

  • Great Material
  • Excellent Design
  • Brilliant Sound Quality
  • Convenient to use
  • Portability

Gold-Tone CC-100R Specifications

BrandGold Tone
Top MaterialMaple
Back MaterialMaple
String MaterialNickel
Number of Strings5
Neck MaterialMaple
Fretboard MaterialRosewood
Weight6.5 Pounds

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Product Description

The Gold Tone CC-100R Banjo is the best among the Goldtone brand according to our research team.

Great Material

This specific model of Goldtone banjo has a neck and resonator made with maple wood. The tone ring is produced using brass. All 5 strings are made of nickel. The featherboard material is rosewood.

CC-100R Banjo also comes with a chrome-plated brass tailpiece. The rim is made up of hard rock maple wood.

Excellent Design

This gold-tone banjo model has 5 strings, a separate rosewood fretboard, a maple rim, and twin coordinator rods. It has a two-way adjustable truss rod for changing the playability. It can also be converted into an open back banjo by removing the resonator from the back.

Brilliant Sound Quality

The resonator is incredible for delivering high and brilliant sounds. 

After converting it into an open-back banjo, it’ll generate a rich and warm sound quality. When it turns into an open-back banjo, it becomes one of the best banjo for folk music.

Convenient to Use

The banjo is lightweight as it weighs only 6.5 pounds. The armrest permits you to have upheld while playing the banjo. This spares your shoulder from getting stressed and permits you to hold it for a long time.

Portability

Since the weight of Gold Tone CC-100R Banjo is only 6.5 pounds, it’s relatively easier to carry than your average banjo in modern time.

You can also have a separate case for preserving your banjo. It allows you to move it easily and keep it away from dust and water.

Pros

  • Constructed with quality materials like maple, rosewood, and chrome
  • A two-way adjustable truss rod can change the playability
  • Brass tone rings have great ringing quality
  • Resonator to open back convertible
  • Low action strings

Cons

  • It’s a bit expensive

4.Best Resonator Banjo: Jameson 5-String Banjo 24 Bracket

Features

  • Top Quality Material
  • Outstanding Design
  • Convenient
  • 5th Geared Tuner
  • Banjo Case

Jameson 5-String Banjo Specifications

BrandJameson Guitars
Top MaterialMahogany
Back MaterialMahogany
Body MaterialMahogany
Neck MaterialMahogany
String MaterialAlloy Steel
Fretboard MaterialHardwood
Weight9.6 Pounds

See More Details Here…

Product Description

Top Quality Material

Jameson 5-String Banjo was crafted using top-quality woods. The top, neck, back, and body are made with mahogany. The fretboard is made with hardwood. And the string material is alloy steel. 

Outstanding Design

It has a thin and compact neck that permits you to quickly go all over the banjo. The banjo has 24 sections with a mahogany resonator style. 

The maple bridge and flexible hinged tailpiece offers excellent sound and look incredible.

The 5-ply maple neck with mahogany shell gives remarkable look. 

The glossy polishing makes the Jameson banjo quite elegant. This five-string banjo gives all the features at a reasonable price point.

Convenient

The chrome-covered armrest is great as it allows you to play the banjo with no difficulty. Jameson 5-String Banjo 24 Bracket is lightweight as it weighs almost 9.9 pounds. It permits you to play it for a longer time without any strain on your shoulders.

5th Geared Tuner

Jameson 5-String Banjo 24 Bracket includes a 5-string with a geared 5th tuner side peg. The Geared 5th tuner is superior to the contact tuner and makes it one of the best banjo for the money.

Banjo Case

You’ll get a banjo case which you can use to keep it safe and carry it without much problem. The case has a front pocket, backpack shoulder straps, and a carrying handle. By using this banjo case, you can travel with your banjo without almost no trouble at all.

Pros

  • Constructed with the finest quality wood like mahogany and hardwood
  • Lighter than most banjos found in the market
  • The banjo stays in tune, Has solid hardware, and a loud rich sound
  • Comes with a convenient banjo case for carrying the banjo
  • Affordable for beginners

Cons

  • The fret ends are sharp and stick out

5.Affordable Banjo: Vangoa 5-String Banjo

Features

  • Best Beginner banjo
  • Beginner Kit
  • Quality Components
  • Durable Design
  • Convertible

Vangoa 5-String Banjo Specifications

BrandVangoa
Top MaterialWalnut, Mahogany
Back MaterialMahogany
Neck MaterialMahogany
Finish TypePainted
Number of Strings5
Dimension38 x 14 x 5.5 inches
Weight6.22 pounds

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Product Description

Best Beginner banjo

Vangoa 5-String banjo is a banjo that can be considered one of the best beginner banjos. Vangoa five-string banjo is an ideal starter banjo for beginners. It’s an excellent instrument that projects mazing bright tones.

Beginner Kit

This banjo features all the accessories a beginner would require. 

The beginner kit that comes with the banjo includes a self-adhesive pickup, a bunch of additional strings, a bag, a tuner, and three picks.

Quality Components

For the banjo board, the Vangoa 5-string banjo used a top-quality Remo drum head that can deliver a rich tone. This excellent instrument has a truss rod that can change the string height and also keep the neck straight by opposing the pull from the banjo strings and the wood.

The banjo is made of solid material that is smooth to touch and features its unit to help beginners.

Durable Design

The banjo the made with durable materials like mahogany and walnut wood.

The top material is constructed with both mahogany and walnut.

The back and neck material is manufactured with only mahogany. 

The wood will not easily be wrapped, corrode or deform.

Convertible

This banjo can be transformed into an open back banjo by removing the back part known as the resonator. The resonator and open back both transformation produce different types of music.

While the resonator state of this banjo can project louder and powerful sound, removing the resonator and turning it into an open back can create softer and mellower music. With both types of music, you can play in different circumstances.

Pros

  • Comes with all necessary accessories for beginners 
  • Adjustable neck height
  • High-quality material for durability
  • Can be converted from the resonator to open back

Cons

  • No manual on how to adjust strings and body

6.Best Overall Banjo: Deering Goodtime

Features

  • Open Back
  • Lightweight
  • Silent Tailpiece
  • Noiseless Coordinator Rod
  • Violin Grade Maple Rim
  • Sealed Geared Tuners
  • Durable Neck
  • Best Overall Banjo

Deering Goodtime Banjo Specifications

BrandDeering
Top MaterialTop frosted mylar
Back MaterialOpen Back
String MaterialAlloy Steel
Number of Strings5
Body MaterialMaple
Fretboard MaterialMaple
Weight4 Pounds

See More Details Here…

Product Description

Open Back

The primary factor to note about the Deering Goodtime banjo is that it’s an open-back banjo. The open-back banjos are generally used for playing folk music, where there are three or four variations.

If you want to play bluegrass, it’ll be better for you to use a resonator banjo that’ll give you loud and powerful sound. The open-back banjos bright tone better but they do not have the volume of a resonator banjo.

Learn more about Open Back vs Resonator Banjo.

Lightweight

This Deering Goodtime 5 string banjo is very lightweight. It’ll be an advantage if you are searching for a travel banjo since banjos that can be found in the market are much heavier on average.

Silent Tailpiece

Everybody hates it when the tailpiece of their banjo makes a sound other than the sound they want to make. Some tailpieces have been known to make a humming sound when they’re not supposed to. 

But in the case of Deering Goodtime banjo, the metallic materials that are used for making its tailpiece are carefully selected. It was manufactured in a way so that the tailpiece won’t make any additional sound to interfere while you are playing the sweet sound of your banjo.

Noiseless Coordinator Rod

The coordinator rod of the Deering Goodtime banjo is manufactured with a special alloy that doesn’t interfere with the sweet sound of your banjo. 

The specific material allows it to operate in an almost silent manner.

Violin Grade Maple Rim

You may be wondering whats violin doing here when all we’re talking about is the best banjo we can get within our budget.

The Deering Goodtime has a rim made with 3-ply maple. The maple used in this banjo rim is the same quality that’s used in the finest violins in the world. Violins are sophisticated instruments that require solid hardwood.

So you can only imagine what it means to use this kind of quality material in your banjo.

Sealed Geared Tuners

To make the tuning of the Deering Goodtime 5 string banjo easier, a total of 5 sealed geared tuning machines are installed at the back of the headstock.

The tuning of this banjo is very accurate thanks to these tuners. This is an absolute blessing for beginner banjo players who struggle with tuning.

Durable Neck

Deering Goodtime 5 string banjo has a neck made with incredibly hard and dense rock maple wood. Because of that, the neck is very stable. 

The neck has a total of 22 frets and hardwood as inlays.

Best Overall Banjo

All things considered especially the quality, the other brands will have a hard time beating the Deering Goodtime banjo.

Pros

  • Easily playable
  • Well-fretted instrument
  • Sturdy construction and easy grip
  • High-quality wood finish
  • Easy tuning
  • Solid and nice polished rim
  • No unnecessary noise
  • Extremely light

Cons

  • Sounds bit thin
  • Does not come with a gig bag

7.Perfect for Beginners: Epiphone MB-200

Features

  • Quality Material
  • Fine Design
  • Simple Tuning
  • Lightweight

Epiphone MB-200 Banjo Specifications

BrandEpiphone
Top MaterialUS Remo Head
Back MaterialMahogany
Neck MaterialMahogany
Body MaterialMahogany
Fretboard MaterialRosewood
Number of Strings6
Weight5 Pounds

See More Details Here…

Product Description

Quality Material

The last name on our list of best banjo for the money is the Epiphone MB-200 Banjo. It has a mahogany body, US Remo head, and mahogany neck. 

The spots on the fingerboard are produced using rosewood.  

The brown colored and red banjo is extremely eye-catching.

This beginner banjo includes a rosewood fretboard and a drifting bridge. 

Fine Design

The size of the Epiphone MB-200 Banjo has a scale length of 26.25 inches and the nut width is 1.25 inches. This banjo has an armrest that permits you to play the instruments for a very long time.

The materials used in the construction of the banjo are of top quality. It makes this beginner banjo powerful and durable to bear rough usage.

Simple Tuning

This fine instrument keeps going for a long time without trading off the player experience. The tuners of the banjo are strong that offer simple tuning. It helps in delivering a brilliant and rich sound.

Lightweight

This beginner banjo is extremely lightweight. The weight of this banjo is only 5 pounds which will not put any strain on your shoulders. You can also get a banjo case that will keep your Epiphone banjo safe from dust and water. 

You can easily use the MB-200 banjo as a Lightweight Travel Banjo.

Pros

  • Manufactured with quality material that’ll last long
  • The lightweight build makes it easier to carry
  • Can play the instrument for a long time
  • Doesn’t have a complex tuning

Cons

  • It’s difficult to set up and tune it for the beginners

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. How Expensive Is A Good Banjo?

A good banjo can cost you anything from $200 to $5000. It all depends on what you want the banjo for and how much money you are willing to spend. If it is just a hobby, then buying a cheap one will do. But if you want to play it in your band or orchestra, then make sure that the banjo has high quality parts like strings, tuning pegs, bridges etc so that they won’t break anytime soon.

Some popular brands that make professional-grade instruments include:

Gibson, Martin, Fender, Gold Tone, and others.

  1. Are Cheap Banjos Any Good?

This is a very good question because there are so many low cost banjos available in the market. Some of these banjos are less than $100 and others that cost more than $1,000. So it depends on your budget and what you want to play with. 

You should make sure that the instrument you choose has been tested and it can be played properly before purchasing one.

If you are looking for a beginner’s instrument, then it is better to buy an entry-level instrument like a tenor or soprano banjo.

If you want an affordable banjo, you can use Vangoa 5-String Banjo.

  1. Whats A Good Banjo for a Beginner?

There are several factors that you need to consider when choosing a banjo for a beginner. First, the type of music you play will determine which type of banjo is best for you. 

If it’s bluegrass or country, then an archtop style might be the way to go. If you’re interested in blues and jazz, a flat top might be better suited for your playing needs.

I would suggest is having a small budget because buying something expensive right away can be a bit dangerous for you as a first timer.

The last thing I would suggest is asking people who have used similar products before because if they like them.

From our list of best banjo for the money, Ibanez B200 is the best banjo for beginners & intermediate.

  1. What Is a Good Quality Banjo?

A banjo is a musical instrument of the lute family, originating in Africa. It typically has four strings tuned in fifths and a small resonator at the headstock end connected to the neck via a “tongue”.

A good quality banjo would be one that is crafted with care and materials that are strong enough to withstand repeated use without wearing out or breaking down.

A common material used for crafting banjos is maple, but other woods like mahogany and spruce are also used depending on what sound you want your instrument to produce.

  1. Is Deering a Good Banjo?

Deering is a company that produces banjos and has been in the market for over 50 years.  They produce quality instruments that are reasonably priced. 

Their instruments have also been featured on TV shows like “American Pickers” and “Pawn Stars”.Among all the banjos from Deering brand, Deering Goodtime 2 is can be considered the best banjo for the money and Deering Goodtime is one of the best overall banjos found in the market.

Recommendation

From the shortlist of the 7 best banjos for the money that we made, we picked out one specific banjo for you.

We recommend:

Deering Goodtime 2 Banjo

deering goodtime 2

According to the user reviews and our research, we think Deering Goodtime 2 should be the best banjo for the money.

Final Verdict

Banjos have a unique sound and tone that is only found in this instrument. 

The best banjos are those that are built to play traditional music but are also versatile enough to play modern genres like bluegrass and country.

It’s important to choose a banjo that fits your style of playing, so find out which one is right for you by answering these questions:

  • What type of music do you want to play?
  • Do you want a steel or nylon-stringed banjo?
  • What kind of music do you want to learn?

If you can find the answer to these questions, you’ll be able to figure out the best banjo you should get within budget.

Hope this helps

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