Once you hear the sound that the banjo produces, you will know why many people are passionate about this instrument. Now, you might be thinking, “how hard is it to learn banjo?” The appropriate answer to that question relies on you.
Whether the banjo is hard to play or not can also depend on the style of music you want to play and picking the right kind of banjo for the genre of music you intend to play is of significant importance. So, it’s important for you to determine what genre of music you intend to play with your banjo and then look for proper guidance on that particular style music so that the learning process becomes simpler.
Like any instrument, you would need a lot of dedication and practice to get better at playing the banjo. In this article, you will learn about whether the banjo is difficult to learn or not, the challenges that banjo learners face and the type of banjo that would fit your needs.
- Is the Banjo Easier Than Other Instruments?
- 3 Challenges You’ll Face While Learning the Banjo
- The Ideal Banjo for Beginners
- 3 Tips to Learn the Banjo Easily
- Final Thoughts
Is the Banjo Easier Than Other Instruments?
If you played the guitar before, you will notice that the banjo is played differently than the guitar which is played by strumming the strings or plucking with a pick. So, when learning to play the banjo, you will find out that it has its own learning curve and you will require the proper guidance and the right kind of banjo to make the process much easier.
So, is banjo easier to learn than the guitar? Due to the strings and its playing style, yes. In fact, banjo is easier to master than the other stringed instruments such as violins as they might take more time to learn than the banjo.
If you intend to perform in a bluegrass band with the banjo, you may require more practice than a rhythm guitar in a bluegrass band as you would be strumming the chords. However, going solo with the guitar can be difficult 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.
Every instrument requires a lot practice and efforts as they have their separate style of plays and challenges. Learning an instrument like the banjo provides you a lot of aspects such as a musical skill set and an entire group of new friends.
Nonetheless, you will face some difficulties that may hinder your progress so it’s best to identify each of the common challenges that a banjo player faces so that you can have a hassle-free learning experience.
3 Challenges You’ll Face While Learning the Banjo
Learning how to play an instrument may seem 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 clawhammer method. The most well-known style of playing the banjo is the three-finger technique since it is the easiest method.
See more: best banjo for clawhammer here.
The three-finger method requires using the thumb. Earl Scruggs was an American artist known for making the three-finger banjo picking style popular among the banjo enthusiasts, and out of respect, the three-finger style is now called the “Scruggs style”, which is an essential method for playing Bluegrass music.
His three-finger method of playing was an unorthodox method compared to the way the 5-string banjo was traditionally played. Contrarily, the clawhammer 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
Since you are learning how to play the banjo, keep in mind that you need 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.
In case, you are unable to take classes or do not have time, then you can learn it online. If you don’t practice it regularly, then it may become harder for you to learn the banjo than it needs to be.
If you can overcome these challenges, then you would surely find it easy to learn the banjo. Most beginners tend to 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 even 12-string banjos. The 4 string banjos are known as the tenor banjos or plectrum banjos.
Also Read : 5 string vs 4 string banjo
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 uncomplicated 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. The type of banjo you purchase can have a fundamental influence on your experience when learning the banjo. In short, buying the right kind of banjo that fits you will give you a trouble-free playing experience and lots of fun.
So make sure that you pick a banjo that is ideal for you whether it’s a tenor or plectrum banjo, a 5-string banjo or a 6-string banjo.
Related : good starter banjo
3 Tips to Learn the Banjo Easily
When you have no experience in playing any instruments, learning to play one can seem inconvenient and time-consuming. Everything may feel so unfamiliar and new. Try not to get disheartened! The learning process becomes simple when you are aware of the fundamental knowledge about the instrument.
It’s always an advantage to acquire some tips and tricks as they will allow you to make use of your existing knowledge. To make things simple, by gaining more knowledge about the instrument, you will learn how to play it quickly.
When you apply the tricks that we’re about to mention, earning the banjo will seem much easier. With these tips, here are the 3 tips that you will require to learn playing the banjo easily:
Learning & Repeating basic techniques
The first task when learning how to play the banjo, is to understand 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.
Once you apply these tips, you will feel a massive boost in your playing experience. While the tips may seem incremental at first glance, once you implement them in your style of play, you will find that learning the banjo is not so difficult.
Learning the banjo is not too difficult but some banjo players don’t get the proper help so they end up quitting. 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. You can get a proper specialist who is well-known to help you learn or you could learn it from the internet. Keep in mind, having proper guidance is key to having a pleasant learning experience.
Remember that learning how to play the banjo is considerably more of a physical challenge than a mental one. You would need to perform a lot of repetitions to develop the abilities that are required for you to play the banjo. Bear in mind, learning an instrument requires focus, dedication and motivation.
The discussion of is it difficult to learn the banjo is generally asked by beginners who are passionate about playing this incredible musical instrument and want to have to best playing experience possible.