I’m often asked by student’s or people online the following question:
“What all do I need to play the banjo and what are good beginner accessories?” Well this is the blog post for you! I touch on some points to consider when choosing picks in my latest youtube video found below:
Let’s start with picks. For the banjo you need one thumbpick and two metal finger picks. Don’t buy plastic finger picks, you will regret it. Plastic fingerpicks can’t be shaped and don’t produce the right tone for most music.
For finger picks, I choose the easiest and cheapest answer. I use Dunlops. I like the sound and you can find them most anywhere. Even places like Guitar Center carry Dunlop picks.
Fingerpicks come in various weights, here is a lighter weight .018. I personally don’t like these myself as I feel the tone is lighter and not as full. However, some banjo players prefer them. One of my biggest influences used them.
I personally use the .0225 variety found here. Sometimes I even use the .025 weights if you can find those. The tone is a little rounder/fuller to my ears with the heavier weight metal.
Another option you have that I’m currently trying on one of my fingers are brass fingerpicks. The tone can be a bit warmer due to the differences of metal makeup. They also come in a variety of sizes like the other Dunlops.
Last but not least you have fingerpicks for the little guys. Aka kid size or mini’s. Kids will be able to shape these to their fingers easier. I’ve even had women students with smaller hands use them.
The great thing about banjo accessories is you don’t need a lot and you don’t have to spend much money to buy the accessories you do need. Part of my goal with this series of banjo accessory posts is to save you money. I’ll cut right to the chase so you aren’t spending hours trying to hunt down the right picks or books to buy.
The most I’ve ever spent on fingerpicks is around $5.00 a pair. I used to use the Showcase 41 fingerpicks and they are a little more expensive. However, I now use the Dunlops I displayed above. There is no need for $30 picks unless you just have to have them for some reason. Especially in the beginning.
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