Banjo for Beginners: What You Need to Know

By admin / December 20, 2018

The banjo is a stringed instrument that looks much like a guitar but possesses its own unique look and sound characteristics. Banjo players play this instrument either by itself or with other devices to produce fantastic music. Here are some of the useful things you need to know if you are planning on taking up banjo lessons. Sites such as offer banjo tutorials that are of great help in your quest to become a fully-fledged banjo player.

Mahogany for banjos

A lot of string instruments such as guitars use different types of wood for their hardware. But for some reason, mahogany is almost always the wood of choice for banjos. But manufacturers did not just choose mahogany without any valid reason. The warm, sweet and soft tone that mahogany produces is the main reason why they use mahogany for the instrument over other types of wood. When it comes to the instrument’s physical look, mahogany provides a deep reddish brown color. The sustain of the mahogany-made banjo is shorter, which helps distinguish the notes that the player makes without these notes overlapping, so there is that clear and concise sound for each note plucked.


To ensure that your banjo stays in top condition, you must know how to take care of it. Using a dry cloth to wipe down the banjo after each use is one step in maintaining the hardware of the instrument. You can also do the same for the strings; wiping them with a dry cloth lengthens their use. If your banjo has a resonator at the back, you can place a cloth over your belt buckle to protect it.

Tips on playing the instrument

Being a beginner doesn’t mean you can’t play the banjo perfectly. You need to follow some tips to help you become a great banjo player. The first step is for you to find the song’s key. You should also be able to identify various chords and structures. Another tip for playing the banjo is to take notes. If you want to learn how to play by ear, write each discovery that you make. This way you can go back to your notes and improve your playing.

Open back versus closed back

Banjos come in either open-back or closed-back versions. Design-wise, the open back has no backing, hence the name. The strings are also placed farther from the fret board because of the way musicians play it: claw hammer-style. The closed back, on the other hand, has an extra piece of wood that covers the back of the instrument, making it heavier than the open-back version. Musicians prefer the sound that the closed-back banjo produces, because of its twangy and louder sound. When it comes to cost, open backs are less expensive because of their more straightforward design.

There is so much more to know about banjos, but the above mentioned should tide you over until you’re ready to take on new things about your favorite instrument.


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