Banjo Buyer’s Guide

Are you ready to start your banjo lessons at Boise Music Lessons? Or perhaps you’re looking to add a new instrument to your music corner, or give a banjo as a gift? No matter the reason, we think adding more music into your life is always a good thing, and we’re happy to help you find the perfect instrument! Read on for our curated list of banjo recommendations.*

Banjo Playability and Longevity

Ease of playability is of upmost importance when buying a banjo.  To find a banjo that is easy to play, look for an adjustable neck with a “truss rod.”  All our recommendations below should have an adjustable neck (with the exception of the Deering “Goodtime,” which uses violin-grade maple for a straight and strong neck).

Your local music shop will have a variety of awesome instruments for you to choose from.  If you decide to purchase an instrument online or used, please have it looked over by a luthier to make sure it is in tip-top playing condition.  If you’re looking for a banjo in the Boise area, check out Eagle Guitar for instrument shopping and The Better Fret for set-ups and tune-ups.

Playing Style

Next, what style of music would you like to play?  If you’re a diehard bluegrass fan, then a resonator banjo will give you the bright sound you’re looking for.  If you prefer a more mellow sound then an open-back is the banjo for you!  Check out the banjos below to get an idea of reputable brands and models.  Please note, all of our suggestions will be for 5-string banjos.  Four string (plectrum or tenor) banjos and six string banjos (basically a guitar with extra twang) also exist but are not as common as the classic 5-string.

Open-Back Banjos

Rogue Banjo

Deering Goodtime (our fave)

Resonator Banjos

Jameson Banjo

Ibanez B50


Now that you’ve found your perfect axe, outfit it with all the necessities.

  • Case — go for either a hard shell or at least a padded soft case to protect your beloved instrument.

Jameson Banjo Gig Bag

  • Tuner — Your phone app will work in a pinch, but a dedicated tuner will be more accurate. The clip-on kind will only pick up the vibrations from you instrument, which makes playing in a group even easier!

    Snark ST-8 All Instrument Tuner
  • Picks — playing finger pickin’ bluegrass?  Be sure to grab some finger picks!

Dunlop Finger & Thumbpicks

  • Strap — pick up a strap in a fun color so you can play securely sitting, as well as standing up onstage.

Ernie Ball Strap

Build Your Music Corner

Create a safe and comfortable space to leave your instrument out and get in your practice groove!

  • Instrument Stand — a visible instrument is a played instrument!  Display your banjo on the wall or on a sturdy floor stand for a standing invitation to practice, and for a beautiful conversation piece.

Top Stage Banjo Hanger

Banjo Floor Stand

  • Music Stand — find something nice and robust to hold up heavy books and a metronome/cell phone.  Bonus points if you have a place to store pencils and highlighters, a stand light, fingernail clippers, and some clothes pins to keep your books open!

Manhasset Music Stand

  • Adjustable Foot Rest — you will play more if you are comfortable.  Prioritize ergonomics and practice with a foot rest to bring your instrument the perfect hight.

Neewer Foot Rest

Still have questions about buying a banjo?  Email us!  Ready to play some music?  Learn more!

*Boise Music Lessons 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 offers a small commission on any products purchased through affiliate links at no additional cost to you.  Your purchases help support our work in bringing you quality music resources beyond in-person instruction.