How Much Does a Banjo Cost?

These sweet sounds of the banjo have captured your ear, your heart, and your imagination, and you have fallen in love with the banjo.  

One of the first questions you’re probably asking is how much does a banjo cost?

Banjo TypePrice Range
Beginner Banjo$150 – $400
Intermediate Banjo$400 – $1,000
Professional Banjo$800 – $5,000

Like most things in life, and certainly like other musical instruments, the quality of the banjo is very often signaled by the price of the instrument. 

With the exceptions of sale or used prices, once you start shopping around for a banjo you will probably find the prices to be reflective of just how good, or bad, the instrument is. 

This doesn’t mean you have to spend your entire life savings to get a good quality banjo, but it does mean that you should take some time to consider what price range of banjo will suit your needs the best.

Before You Even Start Shopping

Before you step foot into a music store, you will need to decide what type of banjo you will need. 

One of the most important factors which will help you to decide include the style of music you wish to learn.  

Music Type:

Banjo Music Type/StylePrice Range
Bluegrass Banjo$400 – $1,000+
Folk Music Banjo$400 – $1,000+
Country Music Banjo$200 – $1,000+
Clawhammer Banjo$300 – $1,000+

For learning to play bluegrass music, you will want to search for a five string banjo with a resonator to help direct and amplify the sound. 

Resonator vs. Open Back:

Resonator vs. Open BackPrice Range
Resonator Banjo$300 – $1,000+
Open Back Banjo$150 – $1,000+

For learning to play dixieland music, you’ll want to search for a four string banjo with an open back. Take some time to consider this before you take the plunge and purchase your first banjo.

What is the Price Range of Banjos?

If you have taken a few seconds to do a quick search of the internet, you will have found that banjos range in price from around a hundred dollars, all the way up to many thousands of dollars. 

A further search of used classified sites such as Kijiji or Craigslist will likely help you to find banjos for even less than a hundred dollars. 

So the really important question becomes how do you decide how much to spend. The good news is that it is not too difficult to decide once you know a little bit about the instrument itself.

Price: How to Decide What to Spend on a Banjo

Deciding how much to spend might seem like a daunting task at first, but once you have determined what type of banjo you need in order to learn the kind of music you like best, it is actually quite a simple task. 

The Beginner Banjoist

If you are a beginner, and you have never played or taken lessons for any other instruments at all, a good first place to start is with a beginners kit which you can get here. 

Beginner’s kits often include the essential items you will need to get started with playing the banjo, including a strap, picks, an instructional booklet with some beginner music, a tuner, a bag or case, and of course a banjo. 

While these kits can still be relatively expensive, they are often a good value because of all the extras you’re receiving. You can get an inexpensive, relatively good quality kit starting at around $300 or so, and they often go on sale.

The Intermediate Banjoist

If you have been playing the banjo for a few years already, and you are looking to purchase your second or third banjo, you probably don’t need the tuner, the picks, or the booklet included in the beginners banjo kits, and you may be ready to make a purchase of a banjo of higher quality. 

What to look for is often indicated by finding a trustworthy brand.  

Banjo brands such as Huber, Goodtime, and Fender use parts that will last a long time and provide you with a very playable instrument that will stay that way with a little bit of care and maintenance. 

Some of the parts to inspect carefully when you are shopping for a new banjo include the tuning pegs, the neck, and the bridge. 

Tuning pegs which are of poor quality will leave you struggling to keep your banjo in tune.

 A neck which is not as straight as an arrow will make it very hard for you to press down on the strings and create the desired tones while hitting the right notes. And a misaligned banjo bridge can cause the strings to be out of alignment on the instrument.

A mid-level banjo can be purchased within a budget range of around $400 to $1,000, depending on the brand name, the quality of the instrument, and the country in which it was manufactured.

The Seasoned Professional Banjoist

If you’re a seasoned banjoist with many years of experience playing the banjo, you might be in the market for a premium banjo of the highest quality. 

You may even wish to have a custom banjo built for you to suit your specific needs. 

Or, you may decide to change course entirely and round out your banjo collection by purchasing an electric banjo. 

Whatever your fancy is, a premium banjo can cost you several thousand dollars, making them somewhat inaccessible and impractical for a beginner, but still within reach to the enthusiast, collector, or professional banjoist.

How much does a banjo cost? Well, the answer depends on you, the aspiring, mid-level, or professional banjoist, but the best advice you can follow when purchasing a new banjo is to buy the best one your budget allows you to afford. 

It’s very important not to simply buy the cheapest banjo you can find, because if you want it to last a long time, bringing years of banjo playing enjoyment to your life, then you need a quality instrument. 

Payment plans are often available to allow more flexibility, and to get you plucking away sooner.

Conclusion

You have been listening to bluegrass and it’s worked its way into your soul, and now there is no going back. 

Whether or not you’ve found a banjo teacher, or an app that teaches banjo, or even one or two good YouTube instruction videos on how to play, the first thing you’ll need is a banjo of course! 

Buying a banjo relative to your banjo playing skills is essential to getting better and of course save as much money as possible.

If you’re a beginner you probably don’t want to spend an arm and a leg and if you’re an intermediate or professional you want a much more high quality banjo which will reflect the price.

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