Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

581
Banjo Lovers Online


Jun 24, 2021 - 5:32:08 AM
2 posts since 6/24/2021

Hi

Im a guitarist for many a year and am taking the plunge into the world of the banjo. However, 4 strings or 5? Open back or resonator? Arghhhh!
I want to play mainly jazz and blues, bluegrass genres but it seems if i want to accomplish these things I'll need two separate banjos? Especially for dixie and trad. If i can avoid having to pay out as a beginner that would be great. So any advice re buying a banjo to fit the bill woukd be brilliant. Many thanks.

Jun 24, 2021 - 5:48:38 AM
likes this

390 posts since 4/11/2019

You're planning to buy JUST ONE banjo??

If you play guitar already, you know that's NOT how it works....

But since you play guitar already, why not a four string you can tune to DGBE? Then you will be playing right out of the box.

Jun 24, 2021 - 6:20:20 AM

R Buck

USA

2949 posts since 9/5/2006

Are you going to be playing in a group or alone? A resonator banjo will be louder than an open back. Do you want a tenor or a plectrum? The later has a longer scale. Did you consider and guitar-banjo? Six strings like a guitar with the brashness of the banjo?

Jun 24, 2021 - 8:18:46 AM
likes this

11867 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Saxon Crow

I want to play mainly jazz and blues, bluegrass genres . . . dixie and trad.


Bluegrass: 5-string resonator banjo

Dixie/trad: 4-string resonator

Jazz and blues: depends on what you mean

Jun 24, 2021 - 8:26:17 AM
like this

YellowSkyBlueSun

Virgin Islands (U.S.)

207 posts since 5/11/2021

5 string resonator is the only banjo that can do everything you want to do. If you're only going to buy one banjo to play all those styles, a 5 string resonator is the only option.

Jun 24, 2021 - 9:34:37 AM
like this

8721 posts since 8/28/2013

Just because a banjo has five strings doesn't mean you have to always play all five. If the 6th string is de-tuned and the 4the tuned to C instead of D, you get a [lectrum banjo, good for trad jazz.

Jun 24, 2021 - 12:12:28 PM
likes this

2659 posts since 3/30/2008

A 4 string resonator tuned like a guitar will get you right into jazz, blues & dixie. (There are several tutorials on 4 string bluegrass on YouTube). Use what you already know & expand your skills into a banjo.

Edited by - tdennis on 06/24/2021 12:25:03

Jun 24, 2021 - 1:37:12 PM
likes this

2 posts since 6/24/2021

Thanks all. Very helpful. @knows-picker gaha very good point

Jun 25, 2021 - 12:57:22 PM

1361 posts since 1/28/2013

You are going to be able to play anything on the 5 string. But with Clawhammer and Tenor you are pretty much locked into one genre and style. You will need all of your time and effort learning 5 string which is harder than the other 2. You can pick up tenor later on a lot easier if you are already accomplished with the 5 string. 4 string tenors can be picked up relatively cheap.

Jun 25, 2021 - 2:17:19 PM

1521 posts since 2/9/2007

6-string guitar-banjo was used in early jazz bands, maybe even before tenor or plectrum. The G-B does have a bad reputation, largely due to its being sold with the pitch, "If you can play guitar, just pick this up and you'll be a banjo player instantly!" Play a banjo like you would a guitar, and it's going to sound more like a lousy guitar than it does a banjo. A banjo is a very different sort of sound-producing machine from a guitar, and you'll need to do some practicing to alter your attack to make it work well.

Just about any instrument can be adapted to fit into a bluegrass band, but IMO bluegrass banjo style demands a five-stringer (well, a few pickers have used a 6-stringer-- NOT a guitar-banjo, but a five with an extra bass string: 5 long+ the short thumb string).

Jun 25, 2021 - 4:30:10 PM

1361 posts since 1/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Dan Gellert

6-string guitar-banjo was used in early jazz bands, maybe even before tenor or plectrum. The G-B does have a bad reputation, largely due to its being sold with the pitch, "If you can play guitar, just pick this up and you'll be a banjo player instantly!" Play a banjo like you would a guitar, and it's going to sound more like a lousy guitar than it does a banjo. A banjo is a very different sort of sound-producing machine from a guitar, and you'll need to do some practicing to alter your attack to make it work well.

Just about any instrument can be adapted to fit into a bluegrass band, but IMO bluegrass banjo style demands a five-stringer (well, a few pickers have used a 6-stringer-- NOT a guitar-banjo, but a five with an extra bass string: 5 long+ the short thumb string).


I heard that Bill Monroe's first banjo player used a tenor banjo. But I highly doubt that would go over today.

Jun 25, 2021 - 4:56:59 PM

1521 posts since 2/9/2007

quote:
Originally posted by jan dupree
quote:
Originally posted by Dan Gellert

6-string guitar-banjo was used in early jazz bands, maybe even before tenor or plectrum. The G-B does have a bad reputation, largely due to its being sold with the pitch, "If you can play guitar, just pick this up and you'll be a banjo player instantly!" Play a banjo like you would a guitar, and it's going to sound more like a lousy guitar than it does a banjo. A banjo is a very different sort of sound-producing machine from a guitar, and you'll need to do some practicing to alter your attack to make it work well.

Just about any instrument can be adapted to fit into a bluegrass band, but IMO bluegrass banjo style demands a five-stringer (well, a few pickers have used a 6-stringer-- NOT a guitar-banjo, but a five with an extra bass string: 5 long+ the short thumb string).


I heard that Bill Monroe's first banjo player used a tenor banjo. But I highly doubt that would go over today.


 One certainly could fit a tenor banjo into a bluegrass band, but it could not step into the same musical role that the five plays.  It would have to find its own place as a different instrument, like the Dobro, or the accordion (?! -- yes, there's accordion on some Bluegrass Boys sides from the 40's!)

Jun 25, 2021 - 5:31 PM

4 posts since 6/25/2021

Back in or about 1973 I bought my first banjo. Also bought a guitar. My brother asked to borrow my banjo because it wanted to learn to play. Quick history, my brother did drugs. When I asked when he was going to returned my banjo, he had hocked it and never saw it again. I believe he used the money for drugs. I finally got over that incident and last week bought a Deering Goodtime 2. So I guess I’m a beginner again. Steve104c.

Jun 25, 2021 - 6:08:47 PM

458 posts since 5/29/2015
Online Now

Buy all three--goof around with all three for about a year, decide which one really fits you, then keep all three anyway.

Jun 25, 2021 - 6:40:25 PM

458 posts since 5/29/2015
Online Now

Actually, stay away from 5-strings. Regardless of what type of banjo you own, people are going to ask you to play Foggy Mountain Breakdown and/or Dueling Banjos. If you have something other than a 5-string banjo, you may simply reply that this is not the right kind of banjo for playing those songs.

--this is a much better rationale than any of the above justifications.devil???????

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.234375