5 String Banjos Buying Guide
So, you’ve narrowed down your choice, and you want to start playing 5-string banjo.
We have on our listings 5-string banjos to suit all styles and budgets, but first you have to consider what style of 5-string banjo that you want to play. Here are some explanations to help you choose.
To simplify the 5-string banjo we can now break it down into two types of banjo. Open back banjos or closed back (banjos that are fitted with a resonator)
Both these types of 5-string banjo have the same type of neck and all styles can be played on either. The neck can be a short scale as on Parlor banjos (ideal for small hands and people with little fingers) or the neck can be a standard 22 fret (the most popular) or even a long scale neck which has 25 frets in the Pete Seeger style, this type of banjo is called The Long Neck Banjo.
Resonator 5-string Banjos
The most popular style of music played on the 5-string banjo is American bluegrass music, and the banjo to choose is a 22 fret banjo fitted with a resonator. Bluegrass players like to have the extra projection of sound that is attained by the resonator.
The Deering Goodtime and Tanglewood range of banjos are excellent for entry level to improver levels. for professional quality banjos look at the Deering range of quality genuine American built banjos.
Open Back 5-string Banjos
These are more gentle in their sound and are the choice for Old time, frailing and clawhammer style banjo players. Open back banjos are lighter in weight because they do not have a heavy metal flange to hold the resonator on (We must point out here that these styles of banjo can also be played on banjos that are fitted with a resonator) The Deering Goodtime Leader range of banjos are excellent for getting started at playing old time banjo, Vega, OME and Nechville are excellent choices for improver to professional level.
Short Neck 5-string Banjos Parlor banjos
These 5-string banjo that have a shorter length neck. They are popular to use as travel banjos or for getting children started on banjo. The Deering Goodtime Parlor banjos had 19 frets and is excellent for this purpose.
Long Neck 5-string Banjos
Invented by Pete Seeger the long neck 5-string banjo has three extra frets at the beginning of the fingerboard and is tuned to an open E chord. excellent for singing styles. the lower tuning gives the singer more scope for singing keys. The Vega long neck series are excellent banjos from improver to professional level. Also take a look at the Gold Tone Long neck banjos here.