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Which Banjo do I buy?

Posted by Carita on Friday, November 13, 2009

I am so excited to have joined this group. I hope that this will set me in the right direction about which Banjo to buy. Since I am a complete beginner... I don't even have a Banjo yet, I need a little guidance with which one would be best for me.

I have been looking at a lot of them online and trying to figure out the nuances that they each have. It looks like the Gibsons are a little out of my price range, unless I can find someone in desperate need of some cash and willing to part with one for around $500. So, since that is unlikely I was headed toward a Gold Tone CC-100, BG-Mini or a Traveler, since I am short.

Also, there are a few "new" banjos on eBay that have some sort of factory defects that normally run for about a grand and they are half that on there. I'm not sure where a defect would affect the sound or life span of the Banjo. 

Any advice would be most appreciated.

Thank you! :) Carita

9 comments on “Which Banjo do I buy?”

Gcapo2A Says:
Friday, November 13, 2009 @2:30:46 PM

Hello Carita,

make your choice on what feels and sounds right for you. Good banjos do not have to cost a fortune. If you want a banjo to play bluegrass music you might want to buy a banjo with a resonator. If you want to play clawhammer style you might want to buy an open back banjo. I have seen and heard of great open back banjos being sold for just a few hundred dollars.


Carita Says:
Friday, November 13, 2009 @2:45:45 PM

Thank you Smoke,
I have been looking at the bluegrass banjos with resonators. I need to get my bumm into the music store and try them out. :)

Kevin G Says:
Friday, November 13, 2009 @5:04:34 PM

Hi Carita,

I bought a Goldtone CCR100 plus for my brother's birthday last year. I had to try it out before I gave it to him, of course, and I really liked it. I bought it from; Ross Nickerson will give you a good deal. Of course, your music store idea is a good one; if you're a complete beginner, you might want to go with someone who can play at least a little so you can hear what the banjo really sounds like.

Good luck. Buying banjos is fun.

My best,


Cotton-eyed Joe Says:
Friday, November 13, 2009 @5:10:33 PM

If I was you, I'd try your local music shop first...
And get a feel for the banjo's they have in stock, as in sound quality,and if she looks good t' you...
Also maybe the price...
Have fun and 'appy huntin'
'appy pickin'

Banjov1 Says:
Friday, November 13, 2009 @5:10:37 PM

My preferences were always to look in the used market. I started out with a cheap Asian banjo that lasted almost a year for me. If I were in your shoes I'd be taking a look at the Fender Deluxe in the BHO classifieds here. If you stick with the banjo and are looking to upgrade in a year or so, you can probably sell it for what you paid for it, which won't be the case if you buy a new Gold Tone.

Just my 2 cents

Carita Says:
Sunday, November 15, 2009 @4:27:55 PM

Thank you all for the comments. They have really helped. :) I am only an hour or so from Atlanta. I've decided to go to store sometime this week. They have hundreds of banjos in stock. The store here where I live had 3 banjos. All the same Gold Tone CC50. It was great to try that one and I liked it a lot. I'm sure I'll be a kid in a candy shop in Atlanta. :)
I'll let you know how it turns out when I get back. Hopefully I'll have a banjo in hand.

snakeherd Says:
Thursday, November 19, 2009 @10:41:01 AM

Unless you're a confident and educated buyer, a used banjo purchase could be a disappointment. I'd recommend a Deering Goodtime to anyone spending less than $1k for new. Many accomplished banjo players happily play a Goodtime as their kick-around or camping banjo. They're very light too.

Carita Says:
Sunday, November 22, 2009 @5:48:56 PM

Thanks again for all the help and suggestions.
I finally made a decision about a banjo. In order to make my decision I had a professional banjo player play about 8 different banjos for me and the one I ended up getting sounded very close to the more expensive one, and way better than the "starter". He played all the ones I was interested in; from a Deering Goodtime 2, to Goodtime 2 Classic, other starters, to Flinthill, to Deering Sierra, to an amazing Gibson. Well, I fell head over heels in love with a very expensive banjo, then came to my senses and bought one I could afford and that sounded amazing. ;) I am definitely head over heels in LIKE with this one. It cost the same as the starter banjos, sounded so much better and almost as good as the Sierra, which cost over a grand more. I bought the Flinthill FHB-280. It is so beautiful, so sweet to listen to. My heart went pitter-patter when he played it and I could afford it. :) I can't wait to go get it!
Now I just need a Banjo teacher! :) Carita

Kevin G Says:
Monday, November 23, 2009 @5:30:22 PM

Great news, Carita. I'm sure you'll love it. There's nothing better than getting a new banjo--an experience you'll hope to repeat every few years or so.
Good luck!

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