Increasingly, players are switching from six strings to four or five strings on the banjos, which has received a lot of well-deserved attention. Banjos Buy aren’t on every corner, but there are plenty of places to buy them, both in person and online. Beginners can find affordable banjos from brands like Deering, Gold Tone, and Recording King. Once you’re ready to upgrade, there are dozens of high-end makers who have turned banjo making into an art form.
It’s easier than ever to get a banjos in your hands, no matter what your needs are. You can then play along with Grandpa Jones and proudly declare, “I am the instrument for the banjos!”
grandpa jones the banjo an the instrument for me
The Best Places To Buy A New Banjo
Nowadays, banjos are pretty popular, but you still won’t find as many for sale in your local shop as you’d probably like. You’ll probably choose entry-level models like Deering’s Goodtime series or Gold Tone’s Cripple Creek series. Testing before buying is highly recommended. The first time you hold a banjo, you never quite know how it will sound or play.
There are plenty of great places where you can find banjos for sale online, even if your local options are limited. There are some big-name online retailers you probably already shop at. There are also smaller specialty shops. There can be a huge difference in your experience between big and small banjo stores, even if they often sell the same Banjos. Many of those factors depend on how knowledgeable the staff is about the banjo. A smaller shop usually has more specialized expertise, which can be a big plus. Bigger shops can, on the other hand, sell at a lower price.
However, price isn’t everything when buying a banjo. When you take your instrument out of the box, you want it to sound good as possible. To do that, you’ll need to get it set up properly.
Banjo Setup Demonstration | Elderly Instruments Repair Shop
The set-up of a banjo can make or break it. A cheap banjo set up well can produce good sounds and play well. Even the most expensive banjo in the world will be hard to play and hear if it is not properly set up. The way the banjo is set up determines the action, intonation, volume, and tone.
You should be able to get your banjo set up if you buy it directly from the manufacturer. In the same vein, specialty stores like Elderly Instruments and Music Emporium are also worth visiting. There are people who know banjos inside and out, so they will know how they should play and sound. A banjo will have been inspected and played by at least one expert before it leaves their doors.
If you’re buying from an online retailer like Amazon, things get more complicated. The majority of mass-produced banjos don’t get much of a set up when they leave the factory. A warehouse holds them for a while before shipping them to your door. There’s a very real possibility that no one has even looked at your banjos before you open it up.
Fortunately, you can have it set up by bringing it to a local shop or luthier after the fact. The cost of a set-up usually ranges from $50 to 120. It’s important to consider that figure when comparing banjo prices between shops. You may find that it’s cheaper overall to buy from a shop that sets it up than from a slightly cheaper one that doesn’t.
Amazon, Guitar Center, Sweetwater, and Musicians Friend
Music instruments of all kinds can be found at these four popular online retailers. The four stores carry more guitars and related accessories than they do banjos, but they do carry most of the major factory brands. You’ll probably find the lowest price on one of these sites if you’re looking for an entry-level banjo like the Deering Goodtime.
As a result, the lowest price is not always the best. Good setup is vital, as we discussed above. Since none of these retailers set up your banjo before sending it out, you may end up spending more money on one. Their return policies are typically quite good, but you won’t get much advice from them beyond “send it back.” A smaller, more specialized seller will be able to give much more detailed advice about your banjo, and may be able to help you fix small issues without having to send back the whole thing.
Founded in 1972, Elderly has a wide selection of banjos. There are models designed for both serious and casual players. Vintage banjos are frequently on sale at Elderly, along with used instruments. The oldest banjos in their inventory dates back to 1892 at the time I’m writing this. They inspect and set up instruments before shipping them out, and the staff are very knowledgeable. If you live near Lansing, Michigan, you can check out their showroom to try out some banjos.
The Music Emporium
Music Emporium mainly sells Banjos, mandolins, and guitars, which are high-end acoustic instruments. Their selection of entry-level instruments is limited, but they have the expertise to help you choose a great first banjos. They specialize, however, in higher-end instruments. The store has a great selection of new banjos from manufacturers like Bart Reiter, Pisgah, Rickard, and others. Additionally, some very cool vintage instruments show up from time to time in their shop. It is located in Lexington, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. As with Elderly’s banjos, your new one will be inspected and set up before heading to you.
A website dedicated to the banjo, Banjo.com is based out of Alabama. In addition to Deering, Recording King, Vega, and Niceville, they carry most of the big name brands. Also available is pretty much any type of banjo accessory you can think of, including a “banjo mute” that probably saved a lot of marriages. There will almost certainly be something for sale that will catch your eye, whether you’re a first-time banjo buyer or looking to upgrade your current instrument.
Vintage Instruments, based in Philadelphia, carries a wide variety of old banjos for sale. And not just your average banjo. Especially if you’re looking for something off the beaten path, like a 19th century fretless Banjos or a Seeger-style longneck, they’re a great place to look. In addition to their vintage collection, they also offer many new banjos, from entry level Deering’s and Gold Tone banjos to higher end OMEs. If you live near Philadelphia, they have a physical store where you can visit and ask any banjo-related questions you might have.
Where To Buy Used Banjos
With a used banjo, you can save a lot of money. It is also possible to spend a great deal of money on something that you cannot play. When buying used, be careful, because there are banjos available in just about any condition you can imagine.
Buying from another player is the best option. The banjo will be instantly recognized as playable, set up correctly, or if it has any major issues. The Banjo Hangout is a great place to meet fellow banjo players, and you’ll find quite a few “for sale” listings on the site. You can also find vintage banjos that have been restored by an expert in other shops, such as the Bedford Banjo Shop and Jake Wildwood’s site. It is important to be able to trust the person with whom you are dealing.
eBay is probably your first choice if you are looking for something used. It certainly has a lot of used banjos for sale, and you can get a good deal if you know what to look for. In addition, it’s important to remember that many sellers themselves are unfamiliar with the instruments they are selling. Make sure the banjo is in the best possible condition by asking questions and asking for pictures, videos, and/or recordings. If the seller is knowledgeable about banjos or a banjo player, they are usually happy to oblige. If not, you should think carefully about whether you want to spend your money on an instrument that may not be useful.
There is no better place to play banjo than the Banjo Hangout. It features an active discussion forum, which is divided into several different categories. A search for banjos or banjo playing will probably provide an answer to any questions you have. You can ask away if you have any questions and someone knowledgeable will no doubt respond. When making a purchase, it’s a good idea to read reviews for whatever you intend to buy. After you’ve made your choice, you can buy and sell used banjos on a marketplace for fellow players. A “want to buy” post will often turn up a banjo you’re looking for if it’s not on the market.
Jake Wildwood specializes in vintage instruments almost exclusively. Usually, he has a number of pre-World War II banjos for sale, many of which he has repaired and restored himself. His banjo blog is frequently updated with banjos-related topics, and he responds to questions quickly. He usually includes a video or sound sample with these posts, as well as pictures, to give you an idea of what he has done. Furthermore, he provides estimates for any oddball ideas you may have, and is known for some of his unique modifications. You may be inspired by this Frankenstein electric banjolele and this electrified Kay 5-string!
Bedford Banjo Shop
New entry-level banjos are available from Deering, Savannah, and Gold Tone at the Bedford Banjos shop. However, their used selection is much better, and ranges from high-end vintage to affordable and relatively new titles. Because they’re located in south-central Pennsylvania, getting to the store is a little difficult. It doesn’t matter where you are, because they will ship anywhere in the continental US (ask about other locations, too).