What Banjo Should I Buy? - Banjo Mountain

there's so much to consider so many

variables and you're probably feeling a

little overwhelmed so what I want to do

in this video is just kind of break it

all down and go through the different

variables that you want to think about

when you're about to buy your first

banjo okay

you've got tenor banjos you've got

5-string banjo you've got plectrum

banjos I'm gonna show you a tenor banjo

first so this is a tenor banjo okay this

is not the kind of banjo that I will be

teaching on a tenor banjo is not used

for bluegrass but I want to show you

this because a lot of times people will

come to me and go hey you know is this

banjo cool it's like a five string right

five string is used for bluegrass no

it's not it's tuned differently a five

string banjo is tuned in an open chord

this is not to nerd an open chord this

is all out of tune so I'm not going to

strum it for you but this kind of banjo

tenor banjo has a much shorter neck than

a five string banjo the range is much

higher the notes are a lot higher

because the neck is shorter and it's

strummed with a pick like a guitar it's

not played with finger picks like a five

string like a bluegrass banjo this is

the kind of banjo that you're gonna see

in jazz bands Dixieland jazz bands

specifically like the Preservation Hall

Jazz Band and New Orleans

another type of banjo is a plectrum

banjo now a plectrum banjo is a

four-string banjo like a tenor banjo

okay but the neck is longer it's about

the size of a five string the length of

the neck is the length of a five string

banjo is neck a plectrum banjo is also

gonna be used primarily in jazz and it's

a banjo that is strummed like a tenor

banjo so now we come to five string

banjo x' okay so five string banjo

switch is what I'm holding here are the

kinds of bands that'll be used in

bluegrass playing three finger style

playing okay

now you have different types of five

string banjo x' okay I happen to be

playing a five string banjo that is

called an open-back banjo in other words

there's no pot on this side it's an open

back in other words you see what I'm

talking about I'm touching the other

side of the head it's open back here

okay open back banjos unlike banjos with

resonators which would have a wooden pot


open back banjos are gonna be a little

softer less volume okay also another

thing about open back banjos is they're

much lighter than banjos with resonators

and sometimes but not all the time

sometimes the action might be a little

higher in other words the

students from the surface of the

fretboard to the strings might be a

little higher so this is a banjo with a

resonator all right here's the resonator

right here it's gonna be a lot louder

than an open-back banjo and a lot

heavier too so here's the deal with

resinated banjos when you're talking

about bluegrass you're never gonna see a

professional banjo player professional

bluegrass banjo player playing with a

banjo that's an open back it's always

going to be a resonated banjo okay if

they know what they're doing that

doesn't mean to say that you can't learn

on an open back banjo and I'll even go

one step further if you're buying a

banjo to learn on for your money the

open backs are a great Buy

so if you're buying from a store the

great thing is you can try out the

instrument right you've got sales people

there who can answer questions that you

may have also if there's a sales staff

there that can help out with repairs oh

my gosh that's fantastic they can also

help out a lot of times with the setup

of your banjo that means the positioning

of the bridge a lot of times the bridge

isn't isn't in the right place putting

on strings tuning the banjo that sort of

thing they can also help out if for any

reason you have to return the instrument

or trade it in for something and that's

great to have people there who can

actually deal with that stuff

if you decide you want to go buy a banjo

online the best thing to do is go

directly to a manufacturer now the the

really good manufacturers of banjos that

I consider good band just to learn on

during good time

awesome banjo that banjo without the

without the resonator that I was showing

in the demonstration that's a Dearing

good time great banjos also recording

King another great banjo also gold-tone

these are also these are all great

banjos so if you have to buy online go

with a reputable manufacturer that's my


if you want to play bluegrass you want a

five string banjo the gear the Dearing

good time that I had here the open back

that's a five string banjo my banjo

is a five string banjo as well those are

banjos that bluegrass is played on those

are also banjos that old-time of your

claw hammer is played on and claw hammer

is just an older style of banjo it's a

lot of times people call it Mountain

banjo old-time music old-time banjo it

predates bluegrass by a good two

centuries it's the kind of music that

you'd hear someone playing in the

Appalachian Mountains on a porch that

kind of thing

no picks but those can also be that kind

of music is also played on five string

banjo as well so if your goal is to jam

with other people let's say you want to

join some bluegrass jams I highly

recommend getting a banjo with a

resonator at some point okay you can

definitely learn on our banjo without a

resonator but if your goal is to pick

with other people other bluegrass

Pickers you're gonna need a resonator

banjo at some point that's not to say if

you're just playing with other people

around a campfire you know do an

open-back banjo that's fine

open backs are great they're great I

would just say the resinated banjo is

going to be a must if you're going to

play in real bluegrass type situations

right so you can learn on a banjo that's

an open back obviously but for someone

who's really interested in the bluegrass

experience jamming with other bluegrass

Pickers that sort of thing a resinated

banjo is going to be the way to go at

some point