Whether your inspiration comes from Abigali Washburn, Earl Scruggs, J. D. Crowe or someone else, if you are just starting to play banjo, then it makes little sense to buy an instrument that costs $5000 or more. Most beginners and intermediates can learn everything there is to learn with a good banjo costing as low as $500. In fact, there are plenty of very good banjos under 1000 dollars. And if your budget for a new banjo is a grand, then the following three are your best bets:
1. Deering Goodtime 2 Classic 5-String Banjo
This is the gold-standard in banjos under $1000. The banjo not only sounds very authentic and crisp right out of the box, but also looks fabulous. You will also find that this banjo is very well-made. You get maintenance manual inside the package, and in addition, the Deering website has extensive pieces on maintenance to help you. Further, the customer support will surprise you, in a very good way. That is because Deering is one of the very few brands in the banjo industry that takes customer satisfaction very seriously. Take our word for it, you are not going to get any better product than this one at this price range. Just read the Amazon reviews, and you will believe that too.
2. Gold Tone GT-500 6-String Banjitar Banjo
The manufacturer calls it a banjitar – that is because it comes with 6 strings. If you want glorious sound from a banjo that catches looks of admiration from everyone around you all the time, then this one needs your attention. Excellently made with high-quality maple, this shiny banjo is heavy, and that makes it very durable. You will need to do a bit of professional setup at first, but after doing that, this banjo will give you incredible sound. In fact, we will not hesitate to say that many of the banjos costing over $1500 will find it hard to compete with this one.
3. Recording King RK-R35-BR Madison Tone Ring Banjo
The great thing about this banjo is that it not only suits beginners, but also charms intermediates and masters. You can get amazing bluegrass sound from it, and the neck feels really profound. The fact that this banjo is made in Asia puts off some customers, but the surprising thing is that it can do its job better than many American banjos. It looks elegantly neat, too. After you play it a few times, you will begin to notice that there are plenty of banjos that cost double its price but offer pretty much the same things.