Epiphone MB 100 Banjo Review

Epiphone MB 100 Banjo Review

When choosing your first banjo or updating a cheap one that you purchased, the primary question is open-back or resonator. 

If your ears like listening to the sound of the banjo but your fingers are tingling to play one, then you will have to explore before you pick one. 

Learning how to play and acing the banjo will offer you a lifetime pleasure and fulfilment. It makes finding a decent banjo is truly significant.  So which is the best banjo for you? The market is overflowed with banjos of various shapes and size and this makes finding the best one for you a bit difficult. 

Don’t worry. Today we introduce one of the top banjos in 2020 featuring a vintage taste, the Epiphone MB 100 banjo review!

epiphone mb 100 banjo review

Epiphone MB 100 Banjo – Ultimate Anatomy

If you are a beginner and ready to spend around $300 on a banjo, then the first banjo on our list for you is the Epiphone MB-100 banjo, which is near to the least expensive model the brand offers.

This Epiphone banjo is another masterpiece for beginners that you can consider. Epiphone is a trusted brand that is famous for its guitars yet the brand’s banjos are top-class.

People are surprised when Epiphone makes this list since they are improved known for their worth based Fender guitar models. Similar to the guitar models, the Epiphone MB 100 banjo will worth your investment. 

The Epiphone features a mahogany body and neck joined with a classic Remo head. The Rosewood bridge included is a bonus at this price level. 

The Epiphone MB-100 banjo includes many good features and excellent craftsmanship. The geared tuner on this banjo is decent. This Epiphone banjo generates an incredible tone and also has a lot of resonance despite having an open back design.

It sounds incredible and is a great balanced banjo option. The banjo is exceptionally lightweight, so it can be your travel partner as well.  

As we mentioned above, the Epiphone MB-100 banjo produces a pleasant tone and sounds precise like a 5-string banjo should. You will have full control over the sound of the banjo as it is very customizable. 

epiphone mb 100 banjo review

The banjo body is mahogany with a rosewood fretboard as we mentioned earlier and it offers a decent, warm and solid sound. The banjo might require a touch of fine-tuning directly out the box. 

If you are a learner, you need to have a master friend or instructor help you to adjust everything. Epiphone MB-100 is a mid-level banjo that you can begin with and as you gain experience, you will certainly want to move up to something from a greater scale.

The MB-100 open back 5-string banjo is the ideal travelling banjo and a perfect first instrument for players inspired by bluegrass and country music. The open back banjos are recognized for being lightweight and for their attractive smooth tone.  

The founder of Ephiphone’s first patent was for a banjo and Epiphone has consistently been at the lead of banjo design, setting trends, and driving the industry on top in making affordable quality instruments. 

If this is your first banjo, we suggest you get it professionally set up. You may have to install the bridge, set the strings and probably fix the band. 

We recommend you to get a master’s assistance except if you realize what you are doing.


  • It’s an ultra-lightweight banjo, so you can travel with it
  • It features beautiful natural wood finish on the body and neck
  • It has surprising tone quality and authenticity regarding the price
  • If you are a clawhammer enthusiast, you will love it


  • You may have to spend some time adjusting the instrument up
  • No tone ring – depending on the way of music you want to play

Epiphone MB 100 Banjo Review (FAQ)

Is it an open back banjo or closed-back? 

  • It’s an open-back banjo.  

Is it good for bluegrass player? 

  • Yes, we recommend Epiphone MB-100 if you want to be a bluegrass player.  

Is it heavy to carry? 

  • No! It’s completely lightweight.  

What does banjo strap work with this banjo? 

  • We recommend “Neotech 5701002 Super Banjo Strap, Black” which is very comfortable, but also plain to look at. However, it worked well. 

Is this banjo an open-backed? 

  • Yes. Most resonator banjos will have a way of separating the resonator plate from the back as well.  

Does this banjo come with a case?

  • No, this banjo does not come with a case. 

What are the dimensions?

  • MB-100 is about 37″ long, the body is about 11′ wide. There is more info available at the Epiphone web site.

Final Verdict 

If you are looking for an open-back banjo, the Epiphone MB-100 at least deserves your attention.

With its astronomical price and Epiphone’s reliable reputation, you will be hard-pressed to get a better open-back banjo without spending quite a bit more.

Ibanez’s Masterwork: Ibanez B200 Banjo Review

Ibanez’s Masterwork: Ibanez B200 Banjo Review

The banjo has an interesting history with African origins. The banjo is adaptable and gives you a lot of opportunities. You can use the banjo to enhance your sound in any music genre. 

Unveiling the best banjo brands before you realize how to play the banjo can be a difficult and hectic task. 

To become a master at the banjo, you have to become familiar with some ideas and experience a lot of hands-on training. It may be overwhelming to choose where to begin. 

However, the best learner banjos are sensibly priced, yet it takes some experimentation and organizing to ensure you are getting what you need from your new instrument. 

There are a few simple factors that will make it a lot simpler to assess the different banjos that you will come across in your search. While searching for banjos from reputed brands, you will come across the Ibanez brand. And here we introduce the best product of Ibanez, which is Ibanez B200 review

Ibanez B200 Banjo Review

Ibanez B200 Banjo – Anatomy 

If you know the music instruments makers, then you will understand the quality level that Ibanez maintains. Ibanez B200, the closed-back banjo may be exactly what you want to begin learning and advance into live performances. 

The Ibanez B200 banjo is one of the lovely, unique and attractive banjo manufactured by the Ibanez. Ibanez is one of the banjo makers who worked together with signature models with the late legend Earl Scruggs, who is a highly respected banjo producer.

From the start, Ibanez B200 Banjo resembles using similar material like the vintage banjos available. The difference that Ibanez B200 Banjo makes is the tree of life on the fretboard inlay and pearl headstock design with the original tuner. Additionally, everything is made like a banjo in the 70s, which is the golden period of legendary artists like Earl Scruggs.


The Ibanez B200 Banjo highlights brass tone rings, basswood rims, and mahogany resonators. The neck shape that fits in the hand gives a soft grip with the fingerboard pattern shows the significance of Ibanez in making stringed instruments.

Ibanez B200 has good scrolling work and masterful work on the palm lay and on inlays on the neck as well as on the headstock. 

In Ibanez B200 Banjo, the neck stays strong forever with the support of the double organizer rod. On the head, you will come across an 11 inch Remo Weathering covered head, steel circle tension w/24 pc section, and chrome banjo tuner. The steel circle adds weight to this Ibanez B200 to 12 pounds.

If you are a beginner, you should play this banjo on the lap while sitting. To play Ibanez B200 banjo for a long time can be tiring.  B200 is controlled by polished finishing, inlay design on the fingerboard and headstock as well as the steel circle surrounding the Remo weathering head makes it look elegant and rich. 

The sound that Ibanez B200 Banjo generates is great with the combination of basswood rim, Mahogany resonator, brass tone ring, and the coated Remo Weathering head.

The Mahogany neck Ibanez B200 Banjo has 22 frets that make it simpler for learners to ace it. However, this banjo uses friction tuners nut material, which might be the reason for your fifth string getting off the tone. 

Furthermore, the friction tuners nut material is not useful for playing fast, perhaps you should treat and give friction peg oil sometimes. The resonator of this banjo cannot be released so the sound generated is very noisy.

However, the sound generated by the Ibanez B200 Banjo is very pleasant and loud. You may find that it’s hard to do the tuning yourself except if you offer it to an expert player to do it for you


  • Excellent aesthetics
  • It features a short neck
  • Durable construction
  • The resonator is loud.
  • Thorny inlays in the form of a vine are gorgeous, reminiscent, and eye-catching
  • Produces powerful & solid sound
  • Its glossy finish makes the sale if you are seeing for a low-priced banjo 


  • Beginners may find the vine inlay harder while learning where the different frets are on the fretboard 
  • It is heavier than many banjos with resonators
  • Friction tuner  

Ibanez B200 Banjo Review: Frequently

asked questions:

What is the rating of the quality of sound?  

  • 2/5 

Is it easy to setup? 

  • If you’re a beginner, then NO. You will need a professional for you to set this up. 

What’s the appearance rating? 

  • 5/5 

Thoughts on playability? 

  • Overall, we like it. Cosmetically, it is absolutely beautiful. Playability is superb after setting it up. 


Final Verdict 

This masterpiece of Ibanez offers a price tag of around $400. In fact, Ibanez B200 is a banjo with a resonator that can carry a firm stroke of sound. 

While the Ibanez B200 banjo does not give high-quality elements and construction than other expensive brands might offer, it presents a high value for those asking a balance of superb sound and attractive look.

Ibanez B50 Banjo Review: The best Beginner Choice

Ibanez B50 Banjo Review: The best Beginner Choice

If you are searching for a superior instrument or looking to find the best banjo to start your music career, this is the ideal review you need right now!

Many people believe that banjo and guitar are the same in their playability and construction. But if you start playing the banjo, you will come to know there is a big difference. Playing the banjo is an interesting task for every musician.

If you are an amateur at the banjo, you would worry what the best brand is. Above all, purchasing from a regarded brand can help you to get rid of it. But you need to ensure you are getting the best quality, and there can be limitless options when it comes to which banjo is the correct choice.

Purchasing the right banjo for you is tough except if you have the right information. In this article, we have come with the best banjo for a beginner like you. We have chosen to make this in-depth review of the best banjos of all time, Ibanez B50 review. 

Ibanez B50 banjo review

Ibanez B50 Banjo Review:


It’s been thirty years since Ibanez was in the banjo business, yet were back with a blast. Old-timers may review Ibanez was very fascinated with banjo-building, having teamed up on an artist signature model with the late Earl Scruggs. However, starting at 2012 was once again in the Ibanez convention, the Ibanez B-50 conveys a sweet 5-string closed-back banjo at a price that won’t break your bank account.

If you are searching for an incredible banjo, Ibanez B50 5-String banjo is an ideal choice in terms of budget. This Ibanez B50 banjo has a 24-lug design. The body style has a Mahogany neck, sides, and back. 

The Remo banjo head is 11 inches, which covered with Weather King banjo head. During construction of this banjo, solid and high-quality materials are used in it. It makes the banjo sturdy and solid to withstand the day by day use. The shade of the Ibanez Banjo is normal and the gloss finish makes it all the more attracting. 

Ibanez B50 has open-gear tuners with Rosewood bridge and fretboard. The strings give a unique and acoustic tune. The tuners will help you in producing a genuine and rich tune. The 5-string Banjo by Ibanez is light, weighing 5.3 pounds. The measurements are 47 inches’ x 21 inches’ x 6.2 inches. 

Additionally, you can get a high shine finish case independently. This will make it simple for you to move it around without stressing over crushing it. You can securely store your banjo for the situation without presenting it to any element. 

Ibanez is a famous brand that gives quality instruments—like the Ibanez B50 and Ibanez B200. Ibanez B50 has a warm and smooth sound due to the materials used in its construction. Ibanez B50 has open-gear tuners with a rosewood connect. 

But there have been a few issues about the durability of this banjo. While no brand can fulfil each player’s wish, that there have been a few issues worth mentioning. 

However, Ibanez B50is one of the best beginner-level banjos for any individual who cannot invest in a better instrument yet needs to ensure their banjo’s sound will be decent in their first band.


  • Although it’s not like the Ibanez B200, it still got a delicate coating and a professional look
  • The quality of the sound is better than ultra-budget instruments, but it doesn’t cost much
  • It generates a melodic sound
  • A strong product and sturdy construction
  • It’s fairly less expensive
  • It’s fairly lightweight, which makes it easy to carry
  • The dot position markers help to keep track of where the frets are while you start to play
  • It is possibly the best banjo under $300 


  • Like the Ibanez B200, the mahogany used in building the body and the neck indicate that the sound quality is not as great as it could be
  • It is apparently better constructed than an ultra-budget banjo, but you may still face quality control issues

Ibanez B50 Banjo: Frequently asked questions


Is it resonated or open-back?

  • It is a closed-back banjo. 


What kind of sounds it generates? 

  • If you love melodic sound, you are going to love this banjo.



Will it be a user-friendly instrument to a guitar player? 

  • Yes! Ibanez B50 stays in tune, looks well-made and it is bright and loud. You can replace the strings and the bridge for yourself but it’s really fine as it is. We recommend Ibanez B50 over the other banjos near this price.


What banjo do you recommend under $300? 

  • Ibanez B50 would be worth your $300.

Would you recommend it to your friend? 

  • Yes, I would recommend it any day. 



Final Verdict 

As a beginner banjo, you will be surprised at Ibanez B50. It is easy to play, up and down the neck, the action is perfect. Except for some minor differences, it is the top banjo for beginners. It will be hard to find a banjo like Ibanez B50 under $300.


Best Clawhammer Banjo – Here’s what you need to know

Best Clawhammer Banjo – Here’s what you need to know

The clawhammer banjo, also known as “frailing”, is a standard method for folk string music players. The difference between the clawhammer style and other methods is the direction of the picking. The classic methods for bluegrass use an upwards picking movement while the clawhammer method is a down-picking style, which gives the picking hand the firm fingered claw shape that provides the method with its name.

It is a technique of playing where the strings are struck using the back of your middle fingernail, then plucked with your thumb. The term ‘clawhammer’ indicates both to the shape of your hand as you play, and the way that you strike the strings.

You can play clawhammer style on any banjo, but few features of the instrument will be more suitable to the technique than others. You need to search for the best clawhammer banjo with open back design.

Regarding the fretboard and string set-up, most players find it comfortable to get the best banjo for clawhammer with slightly low action and a scooped neck.

The clawhammer banjo is firmly connected with classic tunes and traditional American music. However, the best clawhammer banjo style can be applied similarly to contemporary genres and songs.

It is normally played on open-back banjos, which stress its smooth tone and are with regards to the instruments used by its music makers.

best clawhammer banjo

Best Clawhammer Banjo Reviews 2020

If you are a clawhammer player who is looking to purchase a new banjo, look at our choices beneath. It will furnish you with the sound you are searching for. These are the best clawhammer banjos available.


Gold Tone OT-800 Banjo 


The OT-800 is the best contribution to the Gold Tone company’s catalogue for frailing. It features a laid back design. However, the structure of the neck is a significant part of this technique. It’s a scooped neck, which is made of maple with a bound fingerboard. The OT-800 includes few modern touches and most importantly the coordinator rods that are used instead of a dowel stick where the neck joins the body. This improves the fit as well as makes it simpler to fix the activity. 

The Gold Tone OT-800 is a solid banjo in terms of your playing style. It’s one of the best clawhammer banjos among country players due to its improved volume and sustainability compared to different models. This is because of the design of the rim and head, using a design based on the classic Vega Tuba phone. If you are searching for a banjo that is user-friendly with a vintage sound, this is an ideal choice. 

Deering Goodtime 5-string Banjo

Deering is one of the renown names in the banjo world. Their Goodtime series offers a range of materials, constructions, and price focuses for banjo players in every genres and style. This open-backed model is lightweight, which makes it better for travelling and gives the sound a more open quality. Deering Goodtime 5-string Banjo is the ideal choice considering its expert-level construction and materials.

The neck is made of rock maple, slim and built with a low profile on each of the 22 frets, bringing about an instrument that is simple to play. Everything on this banjo is intended to be flexible to suit any player. The 11-inch head is the tailpiece, bridge, and sealed geared tuners. The vibrant and singing tone you escape this instrument gives banjos that cost twice. 

Pyle PBJ60 

The open-back is not a vital part of clawhammer playing style but it is traditional for the players. The bluegrass players can find they miss the additional volume support their sound gets from the resonator on a closed-back banjo. The Pyle is an excellent choice with white jade tuners and a maple bridge that provide you with low action and incredible for the clawhammer style. 

The traditional cover and Remo M1 head provide you with a classic twanging tone that is punchy on the attack. The most amazing thing about this Pyle banjo is it comes at a reasonable price. It makes Pyle PBJ60 the ideal choice for a beginner and also a substitute instrument for the people who usually play on an open-back banjo but often need the extra force given by the resonator. If you are on a budget, this is the best clawhammer banjo you can discover. 

The Recording King Madison Banjo is created considering the traditional banjo players. Since the clawhammer style is frequently used by those searching for that old-school sound, which makes it the ideal fit for that playing technique. It’s an open-back design that uses a steam-twisted maple rim and a 24 bracket stress band that is made of nickel-plated brass. It uses a Remo FiberSkyn head that delivers your tone a particular vintage sound with a punch on the stresses and clarity on the support. 

The vintage touch comes through in different parts similar to the no-tie presto tailpiece and scooped rosewood fingerboard. The material is nickel with a bone nut and a two-way customizable truss rod, which make this banjo comfortable to play. Although it’s made for old-school players, the nature of the tone makes it excellent for any genre and playing style. The cover head and pearl dot trims on the rosewood fingerboard provide a great stylish design. This is one of the best clawhammer banjos in the market. 

Bluegrass and Clawhammer: What is the difference?

The bluegrass banjo was introduced by Earl Scruggs who first displayed it on the Grand Ole Opry in December 1945. His way of playing was impacted by his sibling Junie Scruggs, along with few old banjo players including Snuffy Jenkins, Smith Hammett and Mack Woolright.

Scruggs used ideas that he gained from these players and made had its impact on a series of notes called “rolls.” Most of the rolls either have four or eight notes.

The great and exciting about Scruggs style is the sheer number of notes that come flying out of the banjo! The drawback is that the song frequently gets lost in a swarm of different notes.

Clawhammer is the old style that has its foundations in West Africa. During the 1830s white artists like Joel W. Sweeney began learning the banjo from African-American slaves. Sweeney was soon joining different performers on the minstrel stage playing called the “stroke style.”

The basic concept behind how to play clawhammer banjo is that the song is played by hitting down on the strings and following that with a little rhythm.

The Scruggs style banjo is mostly played in bluegrass music where the clawhammer banjo is played in classical music. Now you have a little idea about the differences between bluegrass and clawhammer banjo playing, let’s find out how to play clawhammer banjo.

Tuning the Clawhammer Banjo 

If you are a clawhammer player, then tuning your banjo will be complicated. People who aren’t familiar with this style clawhammer is a kind of banjo playing that uses percussive hitting of a string with the middle finger.

Best banjo for clawhammer

Tuning the banjo is treated differently in the old-time music world. Both clawhammer and old-time or two fingerstyle performers can use a few unique tunings throughout a show. The reason is Scruggs style is just around 70-80 years of age and most of the songs in the tuning use open G. However, clawhammer and other old styles go back to ancient Africa.

The instrument followed slaves when they were brought to America, then they became the folk instrument of choice for a very long time. Furthermore, there wasn’t much consistency in how to play clawhammer banjo until it was adopted by minstrel performers in the 1830s. The first tuning to see the broad use was an open D variation with the strings tuned to dGDF#A.

Also, don’t forget to see our post on how many strings does a banjo have.

How to play clawhammer banjo?



Here are the basic steps on how to play clawhammer banjo:

  • With your right hand across the strings of the banjo, roll your fingers up like gripping a baseball bat.
  • Hit down on the 1st string with the nail of your middle finger, which will be your melody note. With your hand yet in action, place your right thumb to hold on the 5th string.
  • Then lift up your right hand and soon stroke down on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd strings with the nails of your middle and ring fingers. After that, place your thumb to rest on the 5th string like before.
  • Ultimately, your thumb will hit the fifth string.

You are attempting to get a rhythm that sounds like the best clawhammer banjo style. If you are hitting your foot, it is like “down, down-up, down, down-up.”

Note: Keep your right hand moderately stiff. The initial note of the clawhammer is your melody note. It can be on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th strings. We recommend you to use you middle finger of your right hand for the 1st string, and your right index finger for the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th strings.


Why you should learn Clawhammer Banjo? 


The clawhammer banjo is a laid-back instrument compared to the fast picking of 3-finger style. It gathers ideas of nighttime sitting out on the balcony, instead of the dancing moves of bluegrass. It doesn’t mean that the clawhammer banjo players can’t play fast. It means that each style sparkles in particular playing conditions.

The clawhammer banjo is more melodic than the 3-finger style. The rhythmic pattern puts restrictions on the number of notes you can play. This means the best clawhammer banjo players tend to stick closer to the basic melody notes of the tune being played.

The bluegrass players tend to make a ‘wall of sound’ where the gaps between melody notes are filled in with additional from the chord tone.

The capacity to play single notes and play makes clawhammer banjo a unique style. It can carry the tune by choosing single notes and play chords to emphasize the rhythm of a song, allowing it to lead different performers as needed. Singing into clawhammer is also effective as you can realize among instrumental and vocal parts of a song.

The clawhammer banjo explains well on different instruments as well. Both guitar and ukulele can be played in clawhammer style, creating a unique sound that is proper to old-time, folk and country songs.

Also, don’t forget to see our post on best beginner banjo.

Which type is right for you? 


If you want to play a five-string banjo, the choice between a clawhammer banjo or a resonator banjo is quite simple. You can find videos of both clawhammer and bluegrass banjo playing on YouTube, and choose which one you like best.

The list above will work fine with the clawhammer style in terms of playing method. You need to look at the specific sound quality you are going for and your budget.

As we have mentioned above, open-back models are expensive than closed back for similar sound quality. If you are concern about the budget, you can find Pyle that is listed above.

Also, don’t forget to see our post on how hard is it to learn banjo.

If you are not concerned about your budget, consider what sort of a sound you look for from your instrument. An open-backed model will give you a gentler, mellower sound, while a closed-back banjo will be more brilliant and stronger.

The folk players will prefer open-back banjo played in the clawhammer style, while most country players prefer the twangier, which provides the stronger sound of a closed-back or resonator banjo. If you want more flexibility for a variety of genres, the closed-back banjo would be the best one for you.

Besides this difference, the materials used in the construction of the head and rim will influence how the banjo will sound. You can listen to the models above in practical and choose which one comes nearest to your ideal sound, then you will locate the best clawhammer banjo for your own preference.

Mandolin vs Banjo: What You Need to Know

Mandolin vs Banjo: What You Need to Know

The mandolin and the banjo look different from each other, however, you might be amazed exactly how similar they are. The overall structure of the banjo and the mandolin are unalike when it comes to specific shapes but they are usually quite alike, with a lot of the basic parts shared between the two, for example, the body and the neck, the tuning heads and the bridge, and the strings. It can be confusing for people who have not played an instrument yet when it comes to the topic of Mandolin Vs Banjo and which one’s easier to learn.

banjo vs mandolin

The banjo first came to America with the slaves and musicologists have since looked in West Africa for the predecessors of it. Most of the speculation has been focused on the ngoni and the xalam, two hide-covered stringed instruments from West Africa that look similar to the banjo.

What you may know about the banjo is that it delivers a bright and intensely sparkling sound that might be able to contend with a whole Dixieland band.

This is up to the drum head and the set of steel strings that replaces the wooden top panel found on an instrument such as a guitar. Resonator banjos have a closed back and create the loudest sound and largest projection whereas open back banjos produce milder sounds.

On the other hand, Mandolin is a small stringed instrument in the lute family. It evolved in the eighteenth century in Italy and Germany from the sixteenth-century mandora. The instrument’s modern structure and proportions were firmly influenced by the maker Pasquale Vinaccia of Naples.

The mandolin was found in Italy and it was initially intended for classical music, but it eventually turned into a folk instrument. Mandolins are used in Scottish folk music, traditional Irish, English folk music and also in Bluegrass. Bluegrass mandolin players regularly use an F-5-style and A-5-style mandolin.

These two stringed instruments are both incredible, while the mandolin provides a broad and rich sound and the banjo delivers a bright and sparkling sound.  In this article, we explain the differences between the two instruments and you can figure out which one you should buy.

Now without further ado, let’s jump into their differences and which one should you get.


The Banjo or Mandolin: Which One’s Easier to Learn?


Both the mandolin and the banjo are great at Bluegrass music and folk music. They make non-identical sounds, while the banjo makes a louder and brighter sound and the mandolin produces a broader sound.Now, which one of these instruments is easier to learn, banjo or mandolin?

It boils down to the style of music. A lot of people would tell you that both mandolin and banjo are genuinely easier to learn. So, is the learning mandolin easier than guitar? The short answer is, yes. It is since it has fewer strings and that makes the written music easier to read. 

The mandolin can be very basic and easy to learn in case you have a good teacher.  Like the mandolin, the banjo can be quite easy to master except for specific style like bluegrass music. Bluegrass music can be hard to learn since it is mostly played quickly. Now, is the banjo easier than guitar? In short, yes. One of the similarities between the banjo and the mandolin is that they both have fewer strings than a guitar.  

The methods to adapting these two instruments are to get a decent instrument, find a great teacher, and ensure that you have chosen an instrument you will be excited to learn because learning anything is easy when you are enjoying the process. If you are still wondering about banjo vs mandolin and which one’s easier, both of these instruments are easy if you learn it properly.

Mandolin vs Banjo

Mandolin Vs Banjo: The Differences


As we are talking about Mandolin Vs Banjo and which one you should choose, some key traits make these instruments different from each other. Despite how similar they are, here are the major differences between the mandolin and the banjo:


One of the key differences between the mandolin and the banjo is the material that makes up the body of the instrument. A mandolin has a hollow wooden body which frequently has two ‘f’ shaped holes cut into it to allow sound to get out through the front of the instrument. Modern mandolins will, most of the time, have a plastic triangular pickguard beneath the strings to protect the wood from wearing out and getting scratches. The banjo’s body is vastly different. It is built with a ring of wood, along with a tone ring inside, a piece of plastic like a drum head on the front, and a bowl-shaped resonator on the back. The shapes of the bodies are typically different. The banjo’s body is circular and the mandolin’s body is more like a teardrop shape, making the two instruments non-identical from each other.



An obvious difference between the mandolin and the banjo is the number of strings that they have. A lot of the banjos nowadays have either four or five strings. Generally, the mandolin has eight strings. This provides every one of the instruments a different sound from each other. It provides the banjo with the well-known twang sound but the mandolin sounds practically like a higher-pitched 12-string guitar. This is due to the reason that the strings of the mandolin are played in pairs and tuned in unison to each other.



The size is also one of the differences between the banjo and the mandolin. The standard banjo has a long neck and it is comparable in length to a guitar. However, the mandolin is a smaller instrument and has a shorter neck and a size which is similar to a tenor violin rather than a guitar.  both the banjo and the mandolin have various adaptations which come in but when it comes to standard sizing, there are very different.

Also, don’t forget to see our post on best mandolin for the money.


Should You Get a Mandolin or a Banjo?


Picking an instrument to learn to play is difficult, however, choosing to play the banjo or mandolin is exceptionally troublesome as they are so firmly related. Both of them are great instruments that will provide you with fabulous sound.

Keep in mind, the two instruments are versatile and can play different types of music such as folk, bluegrass, country, jazz and so forth. The mandolin is most likely better at versatility for various kinds of music but the banjo isn’t a long way from it. So, if you are wondering about the versatility of the instruments, then don’t worry. Both the mandolin and the banjo will serve you perfectly.

Before you purchase a banjo or mandolin you should decide on what kind of music you want to play. There are different types of music such as Bluegrass, folk, country music, etc. so knowing which type of music you want to play can influence your decision of which one to pick.

It also depends on which type of sound do you prefer. If you prefer a broader and richer sound, then you should go with a mandolin but if you prefer a louder and brighter sound then a banjo should suit you fine.

Eventually, it boils down to the budget you have. You can find banjos in the range of $200 to several thousand dollars. A good beginner banjo will cost around $500-$700. Mandolin prices are similar, possibly less expensive depending on the manufacturer.

There is not a perfect answer to Mandolin Vs Banjo topic and whether one’s better than the other or not, but it depends on these three factors when choosing which one’s best for you. These factors are versatility, the type of style you want to play and your budget. So keep this in mind when you’re purchasing any of the instrument.

Banjo or mandolin

The History of the Banjo & Mandolin

The origins of each instrument are most likely the best spot to begin. The banjo was born in Africa, made by African slaves as some time in the past as the 1600s. They were initially made using gourds and animal skins and bamboo. The banjo is still used in African music today, and it’s used for some other melodic styles, for example, twang, country, and even rock and roll music.


Thomas Jefferson watched the presence of what he called the “Banjar” in the late 1700s. He learned that it came to America with the African slaves. The banjo turned into a well-known instrument among the slaves since it reminded them of their home, and even the European settlers started appreciating its music. One of the most popular minstrel performers was Joel Walker Sweeney. His utilization of a five-string banjo made the variant famous.

Modern-day banjos have either four or five strings for plucking whereas a six-string banjo is strummed in a similar way like the guitar. Due to its rich legacy among the African slaves and southern Americans, this instrument is significant in Bluegrass, country, folk along with traditional African music.

The mandolin is part of a unique history though a lot of people believe that the mandolin is just a version of the banjo. While the banjo is born in the Middle East and Africa, the mandolin is an image of Western civilization. It advanced from the lute in Italy during the 1300s. It was first perceived as a unique and distinctive instrument during the 1600s. It was well known in Italian towns, especially Naples, and it spread all through Europe.

Italian lutes were mainstream during the middle ages, and these lutes were formed into what we would now call a mandolin more than a few hundred years. It was frequently used in baroque music, yet throughout the hundreds of years, it has been adopted by numerous other musical styles like the banjo, including Celtic and classical music.

People tend to get bewildered about the debate of Mandolin Vs Banjo as both of the instruments are quite similar. But the differences among them can let you which one’s for you.

The banjo and the mandolin are both used together in certain types of music too, including bluegrass, country, and folk music.


Final Thoughts

The discussion of Mandolin Vs Banjo is often talked between people who are interested in both of these stringed instruments. Many people keep asking whether learning to play the banjo is difficult or is the mandolin hard to learn but it depends on you learn and if you have a good teacher.

Realizing the differences between the banjo and mandolin are critical when you are deciding which one to purchase and learn from. You can generally do both, pick one instrument first and once you have aced that one, move on to the following one. 

Both of these instruments provide amazing sounds and will give you a lot of fun memories as you keep progressing. If you are looking for a contender in the Mandolin Vs Banjo battle, well, there is not a definite winner because both of the instruments are quite similar.

If you want an instrument that makes a broad and rich sound, then purchase the mandolin or if you want an instrument that provides louder sound then buy the banjo. If you want to buy a smaller instrument, then you can go with the mandolin. However, there are some versions of the banjo that are small too.

You can decide according to what type of style you want to play and which one suits you best or you can buy both and learn one after another. Hope this article helped you to make your decision.

How Hard is it to Learn Banjo: Uncover the Myth?

How Hard is it to Learn Banjo: Uncover the Myth?

The banjo is a fabulous instrument that is used in Country folk music or Bluegrass. Like the guitar, the banjo is a part of the string family. A couple of things like the uniqueness of its sound and its playing style separates it from a guitar. Once you hear the sound of it, you will acknowledge why many people love the banjo. You may become passionate about the banjo after you hear its sound and you would want to know how to play banjo. Nonetheless, if you are wondering How Hard is it to Learn Banjo, then this article is just for you.

There is an explanation of why it would be hard for you to learn to play the banjo because it is different from a guitar which is played by strumming the strings or plucking with a pick. The banjo can be played using two distinctive methods such as 3-finger or claw hammer.

How hard is it to learn banjo: Myth & Reality


Keep in mind that figuring out how to play the banjo is considerably more of a physical challenge than a mental one. It would take you a lot of repetitions and physical exercise to develop the abilities that are required for you to play the banjo. 

The three-finger Scruggs’ style technique is the simplest technique for playing the banjo. It provides simple and solid rhythmic music directly. This technique makes it easy to play the banjo while delivering pleasant music.

Each instrument has different types of playing styles and learning curves so you would learn banjo as you would learn any other instrument. For some people, it might be easy and for some people, it might be difficult but that depends on how you learn to play it.

However, banjos are easier to play than a guitar because they use lighter gauge strings than a guitar. So, if you know how to play the guitar, it might not be too difficult for you to learn to play banjo. The light gauge strings it simpler to push the strings down on the fingerboard of the banjo and get a satisfactory tone.

Remember that learning an instrument requires focus, dedication and motivation. Like any instrument, the banjo requires your dedication and it needs you to practice playing it from time to time to get better at it.

The answer to the question of how difficult is the banjo depends on how you learn to play it. If you get improper training, then it would become hard for you in learning banjo.

How Hard is it to Learn Banjo

Is the Banjo Easier Than Other Instruments?

If you want to know is the banjo easier to learn than a guitar then, the short answer is no. It is not harder than a guitar. Other stringed instruments such as violins might take more time learning than the banjo.


A few things about the banjo could be viewed as easier like the strings are lighter gauge than a guitar and it is easier to push down. It does not take long to learn a couple of basic things on the two instruments.


If you play in a bluegrass band with a banjo, it may take more practice than if you play with a rhythm guitar in a bluegrass band if you are strumming chords. If the guitar player goes solo, then it would take more practice than the banjo. 


If you play the banjo, you have quite a few advantages using three fingers rather than using one flat pick that a guitar player uses when playing bluegrass music.


You will learn to play the banjo quite faster than learning to play the guitar. The question people get confused on is it hard to learn to play the banjo than it is to learn a guitar? As we have previously mentioned, a guitar and banjo’s difference is that a banjo has lighter gauge strings that make it easier to learn and play than a guitar.

You require a proper playing method along with a decent banjo and a lot of patience in case you are still How Hard is it to Learn Banjo. If you are patient and have an easy playing method, such as the 3-finger technique then the learning process will become easier than a guitar.


3 Challenges You’ll Face While Learning the Banjo

Mastering any instrument can become difficult at a point and you might find some challenges during that period. We have found three challenges that every beginner faces no matter how they learn the banjo. Here are three challenges:

Choosing the playing style

There are two common playing methods when it comes to playing the banjo. These methods are the 3-finger method and the claw hammer method. The most well-known style of playing the banjo is the three-finger technique since it is the easiest method. The three-finger method requires using the thumb. The claw hammer style is a more laid back method which makes it slower if you are just starting. We would recommend the three-finger technique for beginners as it is easier to use. 


Finding the best banjo for you

There are various kinds of banjos that you can buy. If you are on a small budget, you can discover places online that offer refurbished instruments at a fair price. You will find decent beginner banjos that may serve you for a long time.


Not having sufficient time

Learning how to play the banjo needs both time and patience. If you want to master this instrument, you will need to have a lot of time on your hands as you would need to do a lot of practice. If you are unable to take classes or do not have time, then you can learn it online.


If you can overcome these challenges, then you would surely find it easy to learn the banjo. Most beginners would ask How Hard is it to Learn Banjo and the answer is very simple, if you pick the right playing style and find a decent banjo that fits your style and have time on your hands, the learning process will become much easier.


The Ideal Banjo for Beginners

There are different types of banjos out there such as 4-string banjos, 5-string banjos, 6-string banjos and more. The most common banjo is the 5-string banjo. It is famous for its simple playability which makes it the ideal banjo for you if you have just started playing the banjo.

The reason the 5 string banjo is easy to begin playing is due to its standard tuning which is an open G tuning. This implies when you play the strings without pushing anything down, you will play a G harmony. This banjo can make your playing experience easier.

You would have a fun experience with the 5-string banjo regardless of How Hard is it to Learn Banjo. You will able to master this instrument by having a lot of practice and you won’t need to worry about is the banjo hard to learn or not.

Also, don’t forget to see our post on best beginner banjo.


Is it difficult to learn the banjo

Tips & Tricks to Learn the Banjo Easily

In case, the banjo is the first stringed instrument you are trying to play, it might seem that you have a million things to keep in mind at this first stage. Everything feels so unfamiliar and new. Try not to get disheartened! Banjo players try to be perfectionists, so do not let your desire to play accurately decrease your love for playing the banjo and know that everybody learns from the mistakes they make. Having fun is a higher priority than playing everything precisely. 

Instead of feeling stuck on the topic of how hard is it to learn the banjo and thinking whether you should buy a banjo or not, apply the tricks that we’re about to mention so that you could make your learning process much easier. With these tips, you will learn to play the instrument both quickly and easily.


Learning & Repeating basic techniques

The first task is to learn some basic methods and repeat them until they are strictly in your muscle memory and become natural. In case, you find yourself getting used to practicing and can’t put the banjo down, then you can nearly guarantee success. A lot of the students as they take up the banjo build up a physical sensation picking the strings and can hardly wait till they get the banjo again to play and practice.


 Tune & Hold Your Banjo

Keeping your instrument in tune is something that you practice each time you play and it is a significant ability when playing music with others. Tuning your banjo can be confusing when starting, yet with cautious listening to each pitch along with some experimentation, you can have this skill aced in a matter of seconds. After you are in tune, you need to embrace a comfortable playing position for both sitting or standing. You have many options regarding this. Remember not to raise the neck excessively high and use a strap.


 Fret your chords with your left hand

A chord is three notes or more sounded together. Chords support a melody and they pave the way for different musicians. The ideal approach to start playing is to get comfortable with well-used chords, for example, G, C, and D7. A left-hand position makes forming these chords way more fun. Let your thumb touch the top (of the back) of the neck of a banjo, loosen up your shoulder and elbow, and make sure you are using the tips of your fingers to press the strings behind the frets.

Apply these tips and notice a boost in your playing experience.


Wrapping Up

Figuring out how to play the banjo does not need to be an issue, regardless, there are a few people that do find difficulties that can make it hard to learn how to play. Luckily, the Internet has made it possible to limit or thoroughly get rid of the difficulties that might have scared a lot of people away from playing the banjo. We hope that we have provided you with valuable information regarding the banjo in this article that helps you out.

The discussion of is it difficult to learn the banjo is generally asked by beginners who are passionate about playing the banjo and want to have to best playing experience possible. In this article, we answered most of the concerns that banjo players have when they first start playing and if you follow the suggestions that we gave, you ought to have a fine experience with the banjo.