Banjo Brands To Avoid

When out there looking for the best banjos to buy, there are brands to avoid. 

Abiding by a resourceful guide on how to buy your first banjo can help you not repeat the many mistakes beginner banjo players make. 

With this in mind, sidestep banjos with these characteristics:

Poorly Manufactured 

The brand you go for should have a good reputation in the market. It should be a brand that you didn’t have any difficulties using. 

The material used to manufacture your banjo should be top-quality. A poorly manufactured banjo version means you will have to visit another dealer and pick a different brand.

A low-quality banjo will also not stand out when it comes to fundamental features. You don’t want to pick a brand that will make it hard to learn how to play the different types of banjos popular in the music industry.

Cheap Banjos 

The brand you pick should not promise just an inexpensive type of banjo. 

Even if it’s your first time to buy a banjo or have a tight budget, don’t just pick a design that you feel will save you extra money. 

You want to use your banjo for a long time and to your satisfaction.

So, don’t pick a very cheap banjo. Low prices usually mislead many people, and it’s wise to shun banjo brands that seem too cheap. Learn how much a banjo costs.

The banjo design you go for should stand out when it comes to their worth and quality. Many times, cheap instruments will give you limited resources.

On your hunt for the best banjos, avoid anything that is not Deering, Gold Star, Recording King, Gold Tone, Jameson, or Oscar Schmidt. 

These brands make high quality and budget-friendly banjos. These banjo brands offer models that give pleasant tones, are comfortable to play and will satisfy your needs. 

Make sure the shop you visit will provide you with an opportunity to play the available banjos and compare the brands.

Of course if you’re looking for a beginner banjo to learn on that’s kinds cheap then by all means get yourself whatever works.

Why Pick Your Banjo by Brand

When out there looking for the best banjo, it’s wise to consider the brands at your disposal. 

The demand for this stringed instrument has surged over the years, and you should pick a brand that will satisfy your needs. With the advent of the internet, you will come across many manufacturers and dealers, and you should visit the best.

It’s wise to research widely, consult, and seek recommendations on the best brands to buy.

Your friends, family members, or colleagues who have purchased a banjo before can recommend you on the best brand to choose. 

Don’t have any reservations interacting with experienced banjo players as they can link you with the best dealers in the market.

What Makes A Bad Banjo and What To Look For

No matter how big or small your budget is, if you’re saving to buy a new banjo, you’re going to want to make sure that your money is well spent. 

It’s important that you end up with an instrument that is playable, and most importantly, that you are going to enjoy playing, likely for a very long time. 

This could be your one and only banjo for decades to come, and could even become a family heirloom if the quality is high from the start, and you take the time to properly look after your instrument.

So, what makes a band banjo? There are some key parts to a banjo that can render it less playable or even not playable at all, namely the tuning pegs, the neck, the tailpiece, and the bridge.  

You’ll also want to carefully inspect the body for a couple of key elements which can negatively affect the banjo. Here is a closer look at what makes a bad banjo, from one end of the instrument to the other.

Headstock

The parts which most commonly have problems on the headstock are the tuning pegs. These are the small mechanisms to which the ends of the strings are attached, and then by turning them the banjo is tuned

On a bad banjo, the tuning keys move too freely, and the instrument can’t be kept in tune. 

The other part of the headstock which can cause some problems is the nut. 

This is a small piece of plastic or wood which runs across the end of the fingerboard, propping up the strings taught so that they make the desired sound. 

It’s usually glued to the headstock, and if the glue fails and the nut becomes loose, it can lead to problems keeping the banjo in tune as well.

The Neck

The neck of the banjo is one of the most important parts to take great care inspecting, as it can bring you the biggest grief as a banjoist if it’s not right. 

Most banjo necks these days have a steel reinforcement rod, but the rest of the neck, including the fingerboard, is made of wood. 

Since it’s a long, skinny piece of wood, the shape of it can warp over time, which causes problems with the intonation of the banjo. 

If the intonation is poor, it becomes harder to press down on the strings, and increasingly difficult to play notes which are in tune with one another. 

Fingerboard

The fingerboard of the banjo should not be overly worn. 

Most wear occurs on the sides or back of the neck, and some wear of the finish is to be expected if it’s an older instrument, but if the fingerboard has bare or rough spots it can make it very uncomfortable to play. 

The heel of the neck is the part where the piece of wood thickens up again to attach to the body of the banjo. 

This should be properly affixed to ensure that there is no movement whatsoever between the body and the neck of the instrument.

The Body

The body of the banjo is where you’ll find the resonator, the tone ring, and the tension loop. 

But the parts which can cause problems are generally related to the strings, since tension has to be maintained in order to keep the banjo playable. 

This means that the stability of the bridge is of the utmost importance. If the bridge becomes loose, your hand can cause all of the strings to shift as you play, putting the entire banjo out of tune and making it sound horrible.

The tailpiece is the part at the bottom of the body where the strings attached. 

If it is unable to hold the strings firmly in place due to wear, abuse, or simply because it is of poor quality, then the banjo will be rendered useless as an instrument.

The Sound

Whether your banjo is a four string or a five string, or whether it’s an ultra light-weight traveling banjo or one with a resonator, the overall sound of the banjo is one of the qualities that is among the most important. 

The price can be a factor, but as long as you’re on the lookout for quality parts from one end of the banjo to the other, and try it out to ensure you’re happy with the sound, you can find a banjo that suits your budget and will last you a great many years to come.

Conclusion

You don’t have to be a talented stringed instrument player to pick the best design in the market. 

Although there is a wide range of stringed instruments in the market, choosing the best banjo is never an easy undertaking. 

You may find it daunting and taxing to decide on a four, five, or a six-string banjo.

A banjo model you opt for will help you decide on the kind of music you plan to play. If you are undertaking banjo beginner lessons, go for a version that will help you master the art of making bluegrass, jazz, or folk music

Mastering the art of playing this stringed instrument is not only fun but can also promise great satisfaction.

Image from flickr creative commons andreas

Leave a Comment