Top 10 Best Banjos under $600 in 2020
A banjo is not only a traditional instrument used in many musical genres: many musicians choose this stringed instrument because it is also quite easy and fun to play.
If you are decided to play the banjo, there are some things to consider. First of all, the number of strings: you can choose between a 4-string, 5-string or a 6-string model. However, the most traditional and probably easiest to learn is the 5-string banjo.
You should also decide if you prefer an openback banjo or a closed one with a resonator. The sound produced by the banjo will change: a banjo will sound louder whith a resonator, as it will be projected to the audience. An openback banjo however will have a more mellow sound and will also feel lighter when playing it.
If you are not sure about this decision, luckily most closedback banjos have a removable resonator, so you can have both options.
As you can see, banjos are versatile instruments, so to choose a concrete type can be a difficult task, so we have searched the internet to find some interesting options to make it easier for you.
The result: our list of the best banjos that you will find in 2020 under $600.
Washburn B10 5-String Banjo
Let’s start our selection with an American brand born in Chicago: Washburn Guitars. This company has been producing stringed instruments of exceptional value since 1883, and the B10 is an example of their quality and excellent craftmanship.
This 5-string banjo is made mainly of mahogany with a Remo top. Its resonator has a beautiful and characteristic sunburst gloss finish that increases the volume of its wonderful warm tone and resonance. Along the 22 frets on its neck we will find beautiful pearl inlays with a floral pattern and diecast tuners made of chrome, as well as the armrest.
The whole composition results on a banjo that is not only beautifully made, but also very playable, no matter if you are a beginner or a more advanced player.
- Deluxe pearl inlays and chrome diecast tuners
- Ebony tipped maple bridge and chrome armrest
- Features D’Addario strings
Luna Celtic 6-String Banjo
For those looking for a 6-string banjo with some personality, Luna Celtic has produced this one, with a beautiful tobacco burst finish and a gorgeous Celtic touch. This is reflected on the laser etched Trinity symbol design of its resonator, that can be easily seen thanks to the transparent head.
But this is not only a good-looking banjo: it sounds as nice as it looks, producing a loud and crisp tone. Plus, you will find it easy to carry and play, since it is so lightweight you can take it anywhere and practice whenever you need it.
- Clear Remo head with mahogany body and neck
- Black walnut fretboard and bridge
- With a limited lifetime warranty
Dean Backwoods Acoustic-Electric Banjo
Are you looking for an instrument that combines folklore tradition with a modern touch? How about choosing an acoustic-electric banjo?
Dean Guitars is a company based in Florida, USA, and also the brand that has designed this 5-string banjo that you can play either plugged or unplugged. It will sound great both ways!
Its Remo head allows you to see through to the wood, giving you the feeling of having a lightweight and playable banjo on your hands. The mahogany resonator will give a higher volume and better resonance to the sound of this instrument that you will love to play and show to your audience.
To sum up, here we have a modern banjo with a nice look, in which playability and sound have not been neglected.
- Black walnut fingerboard with pearl dot inlays
- Vintage open-face tuners
- Body and neck made of mahogany
Oscar Schmidt OB5
The OB5 is an affordable banjo for beginners who want to play casually.
We like the fact that it is made with a varied combination of different woods. The aged-grenadilla used on top and neck, the Indian-rosewood for the fretboard, and its Remo head with a mahogany resonator will help you achieve a nice and loud sound on this banjo.
Plus, it includes a chromed armrest that will let you play and practice comfortably for long hours.
- Mahogany resonator and rosewood fretboard
- Chrome armrest to play more comfortably
- With a beautiful gloss finish
Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo
There is a reason why Deering is The Great American Company of Banjos: they are exclusively dedicated to create high quality banjos for everyone.
An example of this is the Goodtime 5-string banjo, handbuilt in California. With a slender maple neck and a satin finish that makes it easier to play, the Goodtime banjo series ensure a correct intonation on its fingerboard. Plus, it is a very lightweight banjo, which makes it very comfortable to carry as well.
If you are a beginner or intermediate player looking for a high quality banjo without spending a fortune, this should definitely be the option to consider.
- Open-back (no resonator)
- 3-ply maple rim and maple neck
- Includes a 6-year warranty
Ibanez is a well-known brand for its guitars, but they also produce nice banjos like this one in our list.
The B200 is a 5-string banjo with a removable mahogany resonator, so you can choose between the bright sound of the resonator or the lightweight feeling of an openback banjo.
Paying attention to details, the B200 banjo features mother-of-pearl inlays with a gorgeous pattern that contrasts with the dark fretboard and headstock (where we will find this type of inlays too). This same pattern has been added also to the chrome armrest.
- Mahogany neck with a rosewood fingerboard
- Basswood rim with rolled brass tone ring
- Removable mahogany resonator
Recording King RK-OT25-BR
Recording King is a brand that has been producing banjos and acoustic guitars since the 1930’s. That is why you will find a classical vintage look on its instruments, such as in the Madison series to which this model belongs.
We have here an openback banjo with a Remo FiberSkyn head that is perfectly fixed to the rim thanks to the 24-bracket tension hoop around it. The neck is made with maple and features an adjustable truss rod so you can change the neck from flat to a more curved one.
The hand-rubbed brown satin finish gives the final touch to this classic banjo that will take you to the good old days.
- Remo FiberSkyn head
- 2-ply steam-bent maple rim
- Nickel-plated hardware
The RB-25 is the best priced banjo on our list, so if you are looking for an affordable banjo for a student or beginner, this should be a choice to consider.
Its fast and perfectly fretted neck with guitar-styled geared tuners offers a perfect playability, specially for those musicians who need to practice. It also features a Vega-style armrest that will make you feel comfortable while playing this banjo.
The mahogany resonator will make the RB-25 sound loud and strong as you expect for a banjo.
- Nickel-plated hardware
- Deluxe Vega-style armrest
- Mahogany resonator and neck
Ortega Guitars Raven Series Banjo
Another openback banjo for our collection. This time, from the Ortega Guitars company, established in 1994.
A beautiful black Raven banjo with chrome hardware that will make you look more like a rockstar. The elegant black head is surrounded by an armrest beautifully engraved with the brand’s name and 24 brackets that fix it perfectly.
The built-in pickup system will even allow you to control the volume of this openback banjo while you play its D’Addario strings, producing a mellow sound that you will love.
- Features chrome hardware with diecast tuners
- Remo Ebony head and mahogany rim
- Deluxe gig bag included
Vangoa 5-String Banjo Kit
Finally, for those specifically searching for a very affordable beginner kit, we have this option offered by Vangoa.
The adjustable neck makes it suitable for every kind of player, for a high or low action. You can also choose to play an openback banjo with a mellow tone by removing its resonator, or keeping it to achieve a louder and bright sound.
The 24 brackets ensure the tension for the banjo’s Remo head, achieving a stable instrument that will produce a precise sound.
- Mahogany neck, sides and back
- Removable resonator and adjustable neck
- Includes a bag, digital tuner, strap, spare strings, and picks
Deering is The Great American Company of Banjos and they are entirely dedicated to the manufacturing of high quality banjos at the best price possible. The Goodtime series is the best of their options for those beginners and more intermediate players looking for an excellent instrument that last for long.
- The 6-year warranty
- The 3-ply maple rim
- We lack a resonator to change to a closed back banjo