If you're on the hunt for a great banjo, then Sweetwater is the place to go. We carry an excellent variety of banjos at a great price, ranging from traditional open-back models to resonator models that deliver tons of projection. Here's some information that will make shopping for your new banjo easy.
The banjo is a quintessentially American instrument known for a variety of styles like bluegrass, country and folk. It is relatively easy to play and delivers bright tones and punchy rhythms. The first question to consider when buying a banjo is how many strings you want. The 5-string banjo is the most popular type by far today. This type of banjo is used in traditional styles like bluegrass and folk. If you're looking for the bright and prominent tone found in Dixieland jazz, then you'll probably want to go with a 4-string. While rare, 6-string banjos are also available, offering a crossover option to guitarists who want a banjo sound.
Traditional banjos are open backed and their tone is a bit mellower than resonator models. They're ideal for folk and americana, and many players who prefer clawhammer picking favor this style of banjo. By contrast, the heavy backplate and front porting allow resonator banjos gives you a louder, brighter, and more harmonically complex tone than the traditional style. That makes them better suited for bluegrass and western music.
Most banjos today are made from mahogany, though alternative tonewoods such as maple can give your instrument a bit more punch and high end. When it comes to playing, nut width and scale length make more of a difference. As a general rule, narrower nuts and shorter scale lengths make a banjo easier to play, whereas those who play with hard fingerpicking technique greatly prefer the broader spacing and higher tension of instruments with wider nuts and longer scale lengths.
Even with these considerations in mind, you may struggle to select the perfect banjo. Give us a call, and we'll help you narrow it down. With our special financing, we may even be able to make affording your ideal instrument even easier.
Sweetwater's Sales Engineers are regarded as the most experienced and knowledgeable professionals in the music industry, with extensive music backgrounds and intense training on the latest products and technologies. They are available to offer you personalized product advice any time you need it.