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Is a banjo an investment?

Posted by banjoclara on Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My banjo teacher encouraged me to buy a new banjo.  He said the one I am playing is like him taking me on my first hike, but telling me that I have to tie cement blocks to my feet.  He suggests that a decent banjo could be had for $1500, but that $3000 would be better.  A banjo is an investment, he says, and its value will only increase.  So now, we are on a new banjo quest.  Any thoughts on this or suggestions for a good banjo?


14 comments on “Is a banjo an investment?”

Texasbanjo Says:
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @5:35:41 AM

I think a banjo is like a car -- it depreciates in value, not appreciates. Now, there are some banjos that might appreciate with age but they are few and far between.

Other than that, go for a better banjo if you can afford it. It will probably be easier to fret, easier to keep in tune, sound better and make you want to practice more. That's what happened to me when I got my Stelling -- I didn't want to put it down -- and after 12 years, still don't!!!

There are so many excellent banjos out there that it would be difficult to choose which one you might like. It's according to your budget which one you could afford and might want to get.

Andyincov Says:
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @6:52:22 AM

it's an investment in pleasure - don't worry about the investment value - just pick the h*** out of it and enjoy yourself.

rgoad Says:
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @7:32:06 AM

That is VERY expensive. You can find a good quality banjo that will give you years, decades!, of pleasure for much less. Based on your Favourite Musician List I guess you like Blue Grass and want a resonator banjo? Check out Deering and Gold Tone as a market research. Make friends with someone who plays the way you want to play and get a recommendation. You should be able to get a really nice one under a grand.

MBCrawford Says:
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @8:59:34 AM

Well if you are going to play over $3000 for a new banjo then I would consider it an investment. There are several banjo out there like the RK stuff that are great banjos and they won't cost you an arm and a leg to buy, but if you are wanting a more expensive banjo, then I would take my time and find the one that fits you and you like playing for a ling time and get it, inthe end it's you that you are trying to make happy.

Banjov1 Says:
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @9:53:23 AM

I think very few people have made money off musical instrument investments in the past 5 years. I don't see that turning around any time soon.

But I don't think it's a bad idea to invest decent money in a nice instrument because if you're truly committed to playing better and enjoying it more, that's where the investment in a nice instrument will pay off. Just make sure you're in it for the long haul and spend as much up front time researching and picking out the banjo that will most suit your needs.

crankshaft Says:
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @10:12:45 AM

A large majority of bluegrass is played outside whether its just for fun or at festivals. If I had a banjo that cost $3000 I might be relunctant to to expose it to the elements as much as I do. Most music stores usually have used instruments for sale and even new banjos are high quality for a lot less money than that. Personally I would invest in something else and buy a banjo that I could drag out of the case at a campfire gathering without concern .

Andyincov Says:
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @10:17:54 AM

I agree with pretty much everything said here (in particular what I said hahaha - just kidding). Banjomaster1980 mentions the RKs. I play one of these and agree that they are great banjos. In the states you can get them for pretty cheap. I'd check out the RK75s - I've never played one, but everyone seems to think they're great. If you prefer maple (brighter sounding) the RK85 is fantastic.

banjoclara Says:
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @10:45:45 AM

Thanks for all this advice, friends. I am more inclined now to stick to the $500 to $1000 range. My teacher was making it out like if I didn't spend $1500 to $3,000, I was wasting my money. And he definitely said the banjo would appreciate in value. I love learning the banjo. I just started taking lessons, 3rd lesson. Instructor is a whole lot about music theory and it is way over my head. Before that I was using Murphy Henry's Beginning Banjo dvd. Murphy teaches playing by ear or memory. I have a long way to go- but I am 50 now and my goal is that when I retire I will be enjoying the heck out of being able to call myself a banjo player.

MBCrawford Says:
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @11:40:02 AM

Good luck with your search and your lessons and learning the banjo, keep us up to date on your progress...............

banjoclara Says:
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @2:18:49 PM

Thanks again everyone. I am going to shop for a reasonably priced banjo in the $500-$750 range for this beginner! I will let you know what I find!

Banjov1 Says:
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @2:36:54 PM

You can get a really nice used Goldstar GF85 in that price range. Once in a while you might see a used Goldstar GF 100 or an RK 80 on the top end of that scale

banjoclara Says:
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @2:41:51 PM

I am looking at all of the banjos for sale at, just to get a feel for what is out there. This weekend, I am going to visit some shops in Greenwood and Indianapolis.

garman Says:
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @3:25:37 PM

Dont know about banjos appreciating in valve from their purchase price, except for the pre wars, banjos as a whole appear to always lose money, I mean if you pay 5000 for a new banjo and a year or two later you can only get 4000 or 4500, I dont see that as a financial investment, like mentioned about, investment in your learning pleasure is where the appreciation is.

birdmanUK Says:
Thursday, October 11, 2012 @1:07:29 AM

Whilst many banjos won't actually appreciate in value, buying a brand new banjo, you will certainly lose value as soon as you take it out of the shop - much like texasbanjo said above, in comparing banjos to cars. But a good second hand buy will hold its value quite well. You then have the task of what is a good second hand buy. This is quite a challenge - ideally take someone more knowledgeable with you, and secondly go for the established names in your price range, e.g. Recording King, as has been mentioned already, but there are others too.

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