Beginner Banjo Buying Guide

Looking to play banjo? Perhaps you’ve played a few months and still need direction on what to buy? This is a buyer’s guide aimed at the beginner or those who have played a couple of months.

Yes, you are going to need a banjo. Let’s begin there:

What’s a good beginner banjo?

I highly recommend the Recording King brand. This is the RKH-dirty 30’s banjo. It’s a beginner instrument that doesn’t have a tone ring. At the same time, it won’t be as heavy as a normal banjo and is good enough to start with (much better than my first banjo!). Trust me when I say to avoid beginner “starter pack” banjos like Fender, Jameson and Oscar Schmidt’s. You’ll quickly outgrow those banjos and they won’t play or sound well. If this specific model is above your budget, any of the Recording Kings will do. Try to get one with a resonator if you can afford it.

If you’ve played for a bit and want to upgrade, or you are one of those people that like to go all-in from day one, there’s the RK-35. It’s a professional level instrument made of the same quality components as higher priced instruments. You can purchase here:

What else do you need besides a banjo?


I’ve already went over those in the link below:

Banjo Strap:

This is the Neotech Super Banjo Strap; it’s the banjo strap I’ve settled on using through the years. It’s made out of neoprene, this stretches and removes some of the weight off of your shoulders. Super important if you’re playing a banjo with a tone-ring. One of the biggest reasons I like it is due to the strap clips. You can click the strap off before putting the instrument in the case. This allows you to store the strap in the middle pocket as opposed to having it folded around the resonator. Here is the link:

TAB or Manuscript Book

It’s hard to find a good TAB or manuscript book. They almost always have narrow lines that are difficult to write and read. This blank TAB/Manuscript book is the one I like the most. When I write my original banjo songs, this is what I use. The best news is it’s very cheap!

Stay Organized!

Over the years I’ve had students lose papers, lose entire notebooks; don’t let that happen to you. Get a binder, get some plastic sleeves and put your material in one of these. You can even use folders to label and divide it into sections. When you have 30 minutes to practice, you don’t want to spend 10 mins trying to find everything you’re going to practice. Get organized.

I AM an Amazon Affiliate and do earn a commission off of anything purchased via these links. At the same time, I only recommend things I have personal experience with, things I use here in my studio. If you have any questions about these products please contact me and I will help.


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