You Are Here.
Jump to other pages.
Riverboat Music Banjo Buyers' Guides
Banjos
5-string - 6-string - 4-string
Others - Accessories
Acoustic Guitars
Dreadnoughts - Archtops
Classical - Parlor
Starter - Jumbo - Tenor
Winds
Saxophones
Mandolin
Autoharp
Appalachian Dulcimer
Harmonica
Hammered Dulcimer
Ukelele (future)

Written by Paul D. Race for , , and

Banjo Buyers' Guides - Introduction, from Riverboat Music(tm),

So you would like to buy a banjo. The first thing you need to decide is what kind of music you want to play. Believe it or not, that will go a long way to determining the kind of banjo you should be investigating.

  • Bluegrass, "Old-Timey," or Folk-style banjo - Consider a Five-String banjo. Also, in today's culture, Five-String banjo is by far the most popular. When someone says they play or want a "banjo," chances are pretty good they're talking about a Five-String.

  • Dixieland or other kinds of Jazz banjo - Consider a Four-String banjo.

  • Celtic or "Stomp Band" music - Consider a Four-String banjo, although if you already know guitar chords, a Six-String banjo will substitute.

  • Acoustic music with a banjo tonality, but not Bluegrass - Consider a Six-String banjo, expecially if you are already a pretty good fingerpicker or lead guitar player. That said, if you like "roots music," you may find adding Five-String to your arsenal more rewarding in the long run, as you can play styles on a Five-String that you literally can't play on a Six-String.

For more information about your best choices, check out CreekDontRise.com's article What Kind of Banjo Do I Want?

That said, most of the accessories for banjos are similar, so we will only have one page for those.

Other Resources

Though this is in our "buyers' guide" section, we are mostly concerned about you getting the best instrument for your purposes at the best price. For that reason, we recommend that you shop used before you lay out a fortune and realize you bought the wrong instrument anyway.

We have some instruments that we plan to list here eventually just to give you an example of the kinds of things to look for. But in the meantime, I recommend checking out the following CreekDontRise.com articles:

Please check back for updates, and contact us with any questions, corrections, additions, or reader responses.


Note about Suppliers: While we try to help you get the instruments and other products you want by recommending suppliers with a good record of customer service, all transactions between you and the supplier you chose are governed by the published policies on the supplier's web site. So please print off any order confirmation screens and save copies of invoices, etc., so you can contact the appropriate supplier or invoke the product warranty should any problems occur.*

Note about Ordering Musical Instruments Online: Buy only from folks with a reasonable return policy and be sure to have any musical instrument you ordered online checked over by a professional as soon as you receive it. Every musical instrument has the potential for being damaged in shipment, even if the box looks fine when you get it. In addition, musical instruments shipped across the Pacific have a very high percentage of manufacturing defects. If you look at online reviews, a surprising percentage of the one-star reviews say something like "By the time I realized it was damaged (or had a critical manufacturing defect), the period for returns had run out, so now I'm stuck with a useless piece of . . . . " Yes, the manufacturer should have better quality control, and the store should pack things better. But in the end, you are responsible for making certain that an instrument or product will serve your needs while you still have time to return it.

Consider Buying Used: Before you spend $2000 on an instrument that will be worth $800 once you get it home, check out the used market for that sort of instrument in your area. Depending on where you live, or what kind of instrument you're looking for, it may not be an option. But if you can get a used professional instrument for the same price as a new student instrument, it is often worth taking the risk. Especially if you have a knowledgeable friend who can go along and check it out for you. In fact, many of our pages include links to articles on how to shop for used instruments of various types. However, we recognize that many folks have limited access to good used instruments, and everyone needs to see what is available in the various price ranges. So we do list, when possible, live links to real vendors with a good return policy, in case they're your best choice for getting what you want. Again, once you buy something, your satisfaction is between you and the seller.

Note about Availability and Pricing: Although I try to keep an eye on things and to recommend products that are reasonably available, the musical instrument market does fluctuate, and any product on this page may change price or become unavailable without prior notice. If you "click through" to see details on a product, and nothing happens at all, or you are routed to a supplier's home page, please let me know and I will remove the product from the online listing until I can find a replacement or another supplier.

*Here's an irony: every year, I receive about a dozen complaints from folks who have never been to my sites before, angry that a deal between that person and a vendor or manufacturer I recommend went south (in their opinion). They "googled" the product, saw my recommendation or review, then e-mailed me to tell me they were going to sue me or report me to the Better Business Bureau for personally ripping them off by recommending a product they had bought from someone else. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, the problem is really because the customer didn't read the whole ad, or ordered the wrong thing, or threw away his paperwork and doesn't know where he bought it from, etc. I'm always polite, and sometimes I can even help them get things straightened out with the vendor, but it's not, technically, my problem.

Click here to return to the text.

Musician's Friend Stupid Deal of the Day

Click to go to our main roots, Americana, folk, and acoustic music site.



































Click to learn about our newsletter for acoustic, Americana, folk music and more.




































Click to visit the CreekDontRise Discussion Forums
Click to visit the CreekDontRise Discussion Forums











All material, illustrations, and content of this web site is copyrighted ? 2014, 2015 by Paul D. Race. All rights reserved.
Riverboat Music(tm) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

For questions, comments, suggestions, trouble reports, etc. about this play or about this web page, please contact us.


Visit related pages and affiliated sites:
- Music -
Heartland-inspired music, history, and acoustic instrument tips.
Best-loved railroad songs and the stories behind them.
Visit musings about music on our sister site, School of the Rock With a few tools and an hour or two of work, you can make your guitar, banjo, or mandolin much more responsive.  Instruments with movable bridges can have better-than-new intonation as well. New, used, or vintage - tips for whatever your needs and preferences. Check out our article on finding good used guitars.
Carols of many countries, including music, lyrics, and the story behind the songs. X and Y-generation Christians take Contemporary Christian music, including worship, for granted, but the first generation of Contemporary Christian musicians faced strong, and often bitter resistance. Wax recordings from the early 1900s, mostly collected by George Nelson.  Download them all for a 'period' album. Folks with Bb or Eb instruments can contribute to worship services, but the WAY they do depends on the way the worship leader approaches the music. Different kinds of music call for different kinds of banjos.  Just trying to steer you in the right direction. A page devoted to some of Paul's own music endeavors.
- Trains and Hobbies -
Free building projects for your vintage railroad or Christmas village.
Visit Lionel Trains. Click to see Thomas Kinkaded-inspired Holiday Trains and Villages. Big Christmas Train Primer: Choosing and using model trains with holiday themes Building temporary and permanent railroads with big model trains Click to see HO scale trains with your favorite team's colors.
- Christmas Memories and Collectibles -
Visit the FamilyChristmasOnline site. Visit Howard Lamey's glitterhouse gallery, with free project plans, graphics, and instructions. Click to return to the Old Christmas Tree Lights Table of Contents Page Click to sign up for Maria Cudequest's craft and collectibles blog.
Click to visit Fred's Noel-Kat store.
Visit Papa Ted Althof's extensive history and collection of putz houses, the largest and most complete such resource on the Internet..
- Family Activities and Crafts -
Click to see reviews of our favorite family-friendly Christmas movies. Free, Family-Friendly Christmas Stories Decorate your tree the old-fashioned way with these kid-friendly projects. Free plans and instructions for starting a hobby building vintage-style cardboard Christmas houses. Click to find free, family-friendly Christmas poems and - in some cases - their stories. Traditional Home-Made Ornaments