How Much Does a Banjo Cost?

banjo cost

Contrasting it with some of the waste that many individuals with middle or low incomes throw away their lives on, a decent banjo is actually quite economical and will retain much of its value over time.

Today it can be challenging to find half decent beginner banjos for under $400 new (such as Deering Goodtimes) but second hand ones may often be available at greatly reduced prices.


Strings are at the core of a banjo’s tone and sound, making a dramatic impactful change possible. Therefore, selecting an ideal set for both your instrument and playing style is of the utmost importance. Top banjo string manufacturers such as D’Addario, GHS and Elixir offer numerous sets for purchase on the market from them for your consideration; top players often collaborate with them in creating signature artist strings specifically for use on their instruments – choosing whether it is 5-string or 6-string instrument is also key; choosing appropriate strings will depend on whether its tuning be G, D, C or A).

No matter the style of music you intend to perform with your banjo, quality strings should always be an investment. Better strings make keeping tune easier and will lead to greater enjoyment when using this instrument.

At first glance, the lure of an inexpensive banjo may seem irresistible when browsing your local music store’s selection. But if you are serious about banjo playing and want to advance in your playing ability, stretching your budget slightly would be best to buy an appropriate beginner instrument.

Beginners looking for their first banjo should budget around $500. This will provide a sturdy, reliable, sonorous banjo – one such example being Deering Goodtime openback banjo which should last many years with proper care. For more experienced players you could even upgrade to professional grade banjos made by Deering, Ome or Vega etc.

These instruments are extremely flexible, enabling you to play any style of music with it. Furthermore, their value remains high should you decide to sell them at some point; cheap banjo-shaped objects often languish forgotten in closets or are sold for pennies at yard sales and pawn shops.


A banjo contains various components that can significantly influence its playability and cost. A quality banjo should feature high-grade wood rim and head components to maximize sound production as well as premium tuners for optimal tuning performance.

The best quality banjo rims and heads are constructed from hardwoods like mahogany, maple or birch; less expensive options often use basswood or pine instead, which don’t make nearly as musical a sound or are as durable. In terms of tuning pegs used on banjos originally, friction pegs were originally operated manually whereas once metal strings became popular many better banjos began using geared pegs similar to what guitars utilize as well as 5th string tuners which make intonation faster and intonation easier and faster! Additionally many banjos utilize 5th string tuners allowing quick intonation adjustments without hassles or need for complex tuning peg adjustments or even tuning pegs!

Other hardware for banjos includes the nut, frets and nuts and washers on its neck and resonator that hold strings in place. As these parts will directly influence playability and tone of your banjo, it is wise to invest in one featuring top-of-the-line components at an affordable price.

Keep in mind that the best banjos are made in limited numbers, thus commanding higher prices than less-expensive instruments. Furthermore, as with other musical instruments, quality increases over time; therefore a vintage banjo will often command higher values than a brand new model. Resonator models in particular tend to incur the highest costs, as much of their expense lies in the resonator itself. For beginners, however, used banjos of very acceptable quality are available at similar or reduced costs than comparable new banjos would cost; this allows a person to ensure that they get what they want and need while having the option to sell it later if necessary (though be mindful that selling banjos may not always be straightforward).


Banjo players know the cost of owning and playing their instrument is far more complex than simply asking “how much does a banjo cost?” Intangible costs such as how the banjo will change your life are also an integral component.

There is a variety of banjo options, from the simple to the exotic. Wood selection can make an enormous impactful statement about its sound; some woods produce hollow bassy tones while others boast more crisp and clear tones. A radiused or non-radiused fingerboard may also have significant implications on tone of a banjo.

Customization options often include installing a geared tuner to provide for improved tuning and stability, nut made of brass instead of nickel and dovetail peghead to provide more secure fitment of neck. Another popular customization choice for beginner players is half fretless fingerboard which makes learning to play easier than with full frets.

Upgrades can add up quickly; for instance, adding dovetail peghead, geared tuner and radiused fingerboard will quickly bring an expensive Sierra model from $2999 up into the $9,000 range.

Other features to consider for your tension hoop include hand rivetted tension hoops with custom inlays and an old-time style rim. Some collectors may opt for vintage-style nickel-plated hardware and an aged ebony head. Finally, aesthetic options exist such as dark staining or custom etching.

Before purchasing a high-end banjo, it’s wise to first hear it firsthand before making your selection. This will provide an idea of its sound quality and help determine if its style suits you. Furthermore, ensure the tone ring fits comfortably within your hand, as well as taking into consideration both acoustic and electric models before making a final choice.


Before purchasing a banjo, it’s essential that you understand its cost. While inexpensive models might look appealing at first glance, they usually end up costing more than their value over time. Spending more upfront usually pays dividends both in performance and resale value.

Anyone serious about learning banjo should invest in high-quality hardware as soon as they can afford. A more costly banjo may also make selling it easier when upgrading.

Acoustics and ergonomics will also affect the total cost of a banjo, which are both subjective terms. If it feels comfortable playing it, learning and mastering it will become much simpler.

Acoustics for banjos involve both the quality of your resonator and type of tone wood used in its creation. For optimal sound production, choose a resonator designed to resonate well and produce rich tone; when selecting tonewood tonewood you should look for one which naturally resonates well and provides rich tones.

Coordinator rods are another integral element in setting up a banjo, running under its drum head from bridge to heel and helping keep its tightness tight by keeping movement at a minimum while you play. Most cheaper banjos will have one, while higher quality materials usually feature two.

Once your coordinator rod(s) are installed, it’s advisable to adjust your head so that the distance from nut to 12th fret remains roughly even. You can do this either visually or using an electronic tuner.

Consider how much money will be spent on accessories like strings, straps, cases and tuning pegs when making your decision. As these costs can add up quickly if purchasing separately from your banjo purchase or opting for a kit instead.