Banjo 5 String

banjo 5 string

Banjo 5 string instruments are great instruments to learn for anyone interested in American music. Tuning them easily and playing it can be done by anyone with practice.

When playing the banjo, one must understand its layers. The first layer consists of melodies played across four strings while an additional second-layer melody can be added via fifth string.


An extended fifth string can open up an abundance of songs in different keys and create interesting chords on a banjo, making your playing much more flexible and creative. Unfortunately, however, tuning it properly is often challenging – electronic tuners may help, but learning by ear is equally as essential – you should be able to hear when one string is sharp or flat so you can adjust its tuning peg confidently.

Gold Tone five string banjos typically feature open G tuning – commonly associated with Bluegrass music – however you may create your own custom tuning depending on what style of music you prefer to play.

Some players prefer using the Double C tuning, which lowers the second string D by half step to C – this technique is often associated with clawhammer playing and was popular among Earl Scruggs.

Fifth-string capos are another common way to tune a banjo 5-string, providing quick key changes. Though less frequently seen these days, fifth-string caps still serve an invaluable service when needed for rapid key changes during performances or songs requiring multiple keys at the same time. Although useful, fifth-string capos can make playing higher up on the neck more challenging due to cluttering and potentially difficult tuning issues.


The banjo 5 string is an ideal instrument for fingerpicking due to its easy learning process and shorter fifth string that doesn’t need fretting; playing it with just the thumb allows most songs without using your left hand (though that doesn’t limit its use at all!), leaving all fingers free to add subtle embellishments or fancy touches.

Banjo books provide instruction for fingerpicking a variety of tunes. Some books cater specifically to beginners and others more advanced players; some written in tablature while others use standard notation; some may target 3-finger or Scruggs-style banjos; however others work with any type.

Though most players will select from either of the two major fingerpicking styles, there are various other ways to play the 5-string banjo. Players can even combine different fingerpicking styles for unique results; for example, using 3-finger index-hand and then clawhammer for different songs.

When playing this style, the thumb usually handles melody notes while the index finger handles all fifth string drones. Mastering this technique requires making melody notes stand out while maintaining a delicate touch on fifth string drones.

Another effective strategy is strum the first four strings open while leaving the fifth unfretted – this technique is known as open G tuning and results in beautiful chords when played in key. If unsure whether it works with your playing style, give this tuning a try for yourself and see how it feels!


Clawhammer banjo style produces a soothing sound with down-picking movements by index and middle fingers while the thumb “pops” the fifth string, creating a distinct style of banjo playing that was brought from Africa by slaves and used alongside fiddlers to produce early dance tunes that we now refer to as old-time standards. White performers such as Pete Seeger adopted it in the 1800s before its spread further through minstrel shows and around the country.

“Clawhammer” refers to both the shape of one’s hand while playing (claw-like), as well as how its fingers strike the strings with a hammering action. Some players utilize an additional metal fingerpick on their thumb in addition to using their fingertips for playing; however, most prefer playing this style with just their fingertips alone.

There are various techniques for playing clawhammer, but most commonly this style is played on a five string banjo in open G tuning. Some players employ double-thumb frailing techniques wherein their thumb downpicks additional strings to give their banjo an even more unique sound.

Any 5-string banjo can be used for clawhammer, though many players prefer the more subdued tone of an open-back model. Flatback models also allow players to learn clawhammer but some find the added finger movement challenging; Gold Tone CB-100 makes an excellent starter banjo; other good choices include Deering BR-100 and Mulucky B1101. Regardless of which banjo you select, practice often!

Hammering on

Hammer-ons can be an exciting and engaging way to play banjo, and one of the most enjoyable is using them. Hammer-ons occur when you strike one fretted string with your picking hand before immediately striking another one without lifting your finger from that fretted string. At first, this technique may prove challenging but with careful practice and slow counting you can eventually become an expert hammer-on player – the key being keeping your index finger firmly planted on that fret while counting slowly in order to not miss any beats while playing this style of banjo playing.

Hammer-ons can also add texture and sound fantastic when used within chord progressions; try playing G chords with hammer-ons on both the second and third strings to get some truly awesome chord progressions going!

Once you’ve mastered the basic chords, add melodies to your banjo playing by either playing single notes on the first string, or chords using hammer-ons and pull-offs.

Be mindful that a banjo 5 string differs significantly from a guitar in terms of tuning. For one thing, its fifth string ends at a tuning peg instead of at the neck’s end; this allows for higher frequency tuning that gives the banjo its unique sound.

There are many banjos to choose from, but certain models are more suitable for beginners than others. As an example, newcomers should aim for an instrument that’s simple to tune and produces good tone; additionally, look out for one with a cutaway that allows your fingers to reach higher frets more easily on its neck – something typically found on electric guitars but less often found with acoustic ones.

Left-hand freedom

As with any instrument, regular practice can help develop muscles and coordination required to play well. You can do this by playing simple tunes or rhythms while practising fingerpicking techniques – this will also help develop your timing!

A banjo five string is a stringed musical instrument similar to a guitar but with different tunings and chords. The instrument can be played using strumming, basic strumming, clawhammer or frailing styles and can also be plucked or plucked with fingers for fretless playback. Many bluegrass musicians such as Pete Seeger, String Bean from Kingston Trio Dave Guard Roy Clark (deceased), John Hartford used this type of banjo.

Bluegrass music’s classic instrument is the 5-string banjo, typically strung with short strings tuned to the root note of each key being used in each song being performed. Players often play it repeatedly over an entire measure for a drone sound; sometimes adding melody notes.

Some players find it challenging to master the left-hand portion of a banjo, especially when employing clawhammer style picking techniques. However, with practice and patience it is possible to become an excellent 5-string banjo player – all it requires is some dedication!

The five-string banjo has a 25.5-27″ neck with 22 frets that may present problems for those with shorter arms, especially left-handed players. However, it is possible to create a short necked 5-string banjo suitable for left-handed use by tapping a railroad spike behind what would normally be the fifth string in six-string configuration and tucking thin strings under it before fretting them at their respective fret positions – an approach known as tapping.