Best Banjo Strings In 2020: The Complete Guide

Best Banjo Strings

Your banjo music will be as good as their strings.

This’s simply to say that, the kind of strings on your banjo will greatly impact the sound it produces and also its portability.

So, if you have taken time to explore the various types of strings in today’s market, then you must have noticed that they’re quite plenty.

Therefore, to help you make the perfect choice to suit your needs, we came up with this best banjo strings reviews and guide.

Read on to learn more.

Best Banjo Strings Reviewed In 2020

1. Elixir Strings Banjo Strings .010-.023

These Elixir strings are some of the best that there is in the market.

They are perfectly constructed with nickel-plated steel wire to guarantee you durability and reliability as you use it over the years of your career.

And because of this, they produce a very bright tone, complete with a smooth feel, the reason as to why they’re preferred by famous bluegrass musicians.

The banjo strings come with a Polyweb coating.

This ensures the playing process remains smooth by providing a constant quick feel as you play.

The unique coating also helps to maintain the durability of the strings by providing them with much-needed protection from corrosion.

When you receive this strings package expect to see a medium-sized gauge, which includes .010-.023.

Pros
  • Long-lasting
  • Easy to play
  • Produces great sound
  • Pretty affordable with their awesome features.
  • Great response to light touch
Cons
  • The coating interferes with the classic banjo sound, just a little bit.

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2. D'Addario EJ55 5-String Banjo Strings 10-23

D’Addario is best known for producing high-quality strings using a wide range of materials to suit today’s market needs.

The D’Addario EJ55 5-string banjo sets, in particular, are a sure bet for banjo players who prefer warmer tones.

They are made up of plain steel, with a touch of Phosphor bronze wound on the 4th string.

The loop end construction of these banjo strings makes them a flexible fit.

And that’s why banjo legends such as Ron Block and Alison Brown trust them in their performances, for their unique authentic tone touch, not forgetting un-ending reliability.

They are available in various gauges to give you a choice of selection according to need.

Pros
  • Great clarity
  • Ease of use
  • Durable
Cons
  • Might come out a little bit too bright for solo pieces.

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3. D'Addario J63i Irish Tenor Banjo Strings

Here are another amazing D’Addario banjo strings pieces.

These pieces make an excellent pick for players in search of an excellent tone, complete with great balance. Their projection comes out pretty impressively.

Like most pieces from this reputable brand, the D’Addario J63i proudly display a potent and reliable loop-construction, which can serve you well in almost all of your upcoming banjo projects.

They also have a great nickel plate design, which is coated for a sleek feel and brighter tone.

Pros
  • Offers great light tension
  • Better lifespan
  • Amazing tone projection
  • Value for quality
Cons
  • Might not suit other banjos apart from the Irish Tenor Banjo.

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4. GHS Strings BSX-10 BANJO QUINTO Strings

Banjo strings cannot be the same.

Some brands are much better than others and that’s exactly what the GHS banjo strings guarantee you.

They come in a lock twist design, which ensures you receive the ideal tuning and tension.

Also, the core of these strings is heavy and reliable, thus provides users with a good balance of strength and volume.

The 10-string banjo Quinto set, stand-out with their stainless steel make and with an awesome combination of durability and great sound, you can take it easy, knowing you’ve hit the jackpot!

Pros
  • Long-lasting
  • Impressive volume and strength
  • Excellent lock twist design
  • Great pricing
Cons
  • A few complaints about a defective 5th But once fixed, it’s all good.

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5. GHS Strings PF150 5-String Banjo Strings

You will rarely find great artists endorsing low-quality products.

So, when you see a banjo famous player like Sony Osborne endorsing this GHS Strings PF150, then you should know you’re in for a great deal.

They definitely meet the needs of renowned banjo players with their round-wound design, complete with a stainless steel finishing.

These banjo strings come with a plain loop-end, coupled with a 42-inch winding.

This makes them long enough to perfectly fit long-neck banjos.

Their GHS lock twixt design ensures you get a perfect long-lasting tone, which will leave your audience in awe.

And if you have various tailpieces, then you will be glad to know that this product comes with flexible loops to fit various tailpiece.

Pros
  • Extra-end loop ends
  • Long-lasting play
  • Solid purchase
  • Nice mellow tone
Cons
  • The 4th string is a bit muddled

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6. D'Addario J61 5-String Banjo

The D’Addario J61 5-String Banjo isn’t famous for nothing. The package offers its users great versatility, which suits all banjo playing styles.

These strings come with great loop-end construction, which ensures you get a universal fit when you employ them.

And with their nickel plating, you can be sure that they will serve you for long.

These D’Addario strings also promise their users a bright tone, complete with a smooth feel as they jam away for long hours.

Because of their durability, longevity, and variety of gauges, these strings are popular among bluegrass professionals.

Pros
  • Durable and reliable
  • Good sound
  • Easy to put on
  • Clear and responsive notes
Cons
  • The sound might not come out perfectly for those who prefer light strings.

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7. Ernie Ball Earthwood 5-string Banjo

The Ernie brand is coming out very strongly to give famous brands such as D’Addario stiff competition in the market place.

Their Ernie Ball Earthwood 5-string Banjo comes with lop-end strings, which offers users a great playing experience.

They produce crispy ringing sounds, with smooth overtones to keep the audience begging for more. All this, thanks to the 80/20 alloy.

Furthermore, if you love practicing clawhammer.

This set of strings will help you work perfectly and give your banjo its long-lost life back. A feature that makes them great for old school songs.

And although their brass string is a bit dull, for some types of banjo playing, you will definitely love the brighter poppier 4-string.

Pros
  • Doesn’t take long to stretch
  • Great for frailing style
  • Easy to install
Cons
  • Lack of exact dimensions

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8. Martin V730 Vega Banjo Strings

The Vega brand has been around since 1889 and they haven’t disappointed with their high-quality range of banjo instruments.

These Martin V730 Vega Banjo Strings are a true definition of quality and reliability.

They exhibit a fuller design as compared to other light strings within their price range, so you can comfortably say that you get value for money.

And if you want strings that can help you achieve a perfect medium tension tuning, then you get a perfect match in the Martin V730 Vega Banjo Strings.

The strings not only exhibit impressive longevity, brilliance and clearer tones but also offer a sleek feel on the fingers.

These durable strings display a great nickel and steel alloy design.

Pros
  • Crispy clear tones
  • Long-lasting
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Smooth beneath fingers
  • Great value for money
Cons
  • Can break easily if not handled well

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Are All Banjo Strings the Same?

The wires used on musical instruments are referred to as music wires. And it’s these wires that make up the banjo strings.

They are responsible for denoting the alloy, setting the temper and hardness of the music, as well as depicting resilience.

The strings used on banjos are in many ways similar to the ones on guitars, pianos and other string instruments.

But even with this, they still differ in various ways to produce various tones, volume and smooth feel on the hands.

But in which ways are the banjo strings different from each other?

Let’s explore this interesting topic;

Plain Steel Vs. Wound Banjo Strings

The most famous types of banjo strings are the 5-string banjo sets.  And they usually come with 4-plain steel strings and 1-wound string.

Normally, the plain strings are what we refer to as the music wires and they contain a loop at one end, which helps to secure the string into place.

Also, these plain strings contain single strands of wire and are usually in various diameters. But, they all offer a sleek finger-touch.

On the other hand, the wound string is constructed with core plain steel before being wrapped up with wire.

This is to allow the thin inner core to offer the string flexibility, with low tension, and a direct increased low-frequency response, making them favorable for bass tones.

Hence, the reason as to why they’re most popular among lower-pitched strings.

Also, there are various wrappings for the wound banjo strings. From bronze, nickel, stainless steel to brass, you can never run out of options to choose from.

And to ensure they offer either a cool or warmer tone, their alloys vary in the amount of copper used, with others preferring phosphorous elements.

This could be the reason as to why you will notice that various plectrum and tenor string sets use a combination of 2-plain strings and 2-wound strings.

The major difference between the plain and wound strings lies in the fact that the wound strings produce a more squeaky sound as you drag your fingers over them.

So, to answer the question; Are all banjo strings the same?

It’s clear from the above argument, that although their core is made up of solid steel, their winding might be made of various elements. And that’s where the difference lies.

Should I Buy A 4- Or 5-String Banjo?

First, before you for either a 4-string or the 5-string banjo, you should identify the type of music you’re going to play.

For instance, the 5-string one is best for finger and frailing picking bluegrass and other types of old-school music.

On the other hand, the 4-string banjo (Tenor and Plectrum) is best for Irish music, classic jazz, and Daxie land.

So, for the best outcome of sounds, always ensure you play the correct string banjo most suitable for the music you love to play.

And don’t be scared about learning either of them as none is too simple or too complicated. When you start playing the 4-string banjo or 5-string, you will be a beginner like everyone else. And you will grow to expertise level as you strive. That should be your focus.

You might also want to note that the 4-string banjos aren’t as popular as the 5-string ones, so you will have to identify specific stores to purchase yours.

But the fact that you can still find the 4-strong banjo in today’s market is evidence enough that it’s still on demand.

How To Pick The Right Banjo Strings?

To pick the correct banjo strings for your instruments, there are various factors you should consider and they include;

Type of Banjo

Not all banjo strings can be used on any banjo instrument. Therefore, it’s important to carefully examine the banjo strings set to ensure they’re perfect for your type of instrument.

This should also include the kind of tuning, scale length, and attachment of the tailpiece.

Various manufacturers have come up with different types of strings that can fit, 5-strings, plectrum, tenor, and 6-string and among others.

The String Gauges

Yes, the strings you might have found might be a perfect fit for your type of banjo, but the examination shouldn’t stop there.

Instead, ask yourself if the available gauge is what you need.

This’s particularly vital when shopping for your 5-string banjo as you will notice the availability of medium, light and extra light gauges.

Most banjo performers prefer custom-made gauges, so if you want to achieve a specific tuning, then you might want to explore that more.

But generally, most manufacturers construct light gauges for ease of play. You can, however, get the heavier ones if a fuller/ warmer is what you want to achieve.

Banjo Tuning

Most of the time, when playing banjo, you really don’t have to get a fresh set of strings to achieve a specific tone.

However, there are a few times when specific tunings such as open E (E, G#, B) on a 5-string banjo will require you to get a different set of strings.

This is because you will have to tune the banjo very low, such that a standard banjo string cannot withstand (can become too loose)

The same case applies when trying to Irish tune on a tenor banjo, which requires standard tenor tuning strings of G, D, A, E.

String Materials

Like any other item, strings can be made from various materials. Some are durable, while others aren’t.

The most common materials for banjo strings include stainless steel, nylon, phosphor, bronze, which are mainly used for winding.

The kind of string material determines the tone and volume of the sounds your banjo makes.

For example;

Plain Stainless Steel offers great corrosion-resistant properties, thus long-lasting.

The Phosphor Bronze is majorly for wounded strings and produces warmer tomes

The Coated Strings help reduce corrosion on wounded strings to offer them a long life. And because of this, they interfere with the tone depth.

Nickel-Plated Steel produces crispy clear and bright tones, which make it perfect for blue brass.

And lastly, The Nylon Strings are mainly used on banjo ukuleles and by old-school songs performers to help them achieve a darker tone. And because of their very warm tones, they wouldn’t do any justice to blue brass players.

FAQs About The Best Banjo Strings

How Long Banjo Do Strings Last?

The longevity of banjo strings mainly depends on their construction.

While most of them last for at least a year before they start exhibiting a twang, most banjo players prefer changing them every 1-3months or whenever they start appearing rusty.

It all depends on how often you play.

How Much Does It Cost to Restring A Banjo?

If you have a broken string installed at a local music store for as around $15-$20.

But you really don’t need anyone to help you out, especially if you can tie your shoes. Yes, it’s that simple, if you want to learn!

How Do You Fix A Broken Banjo String?

The best way to fix a broken banjo string would be to replace the whole set.

You can also decide to change a string at a time. In this case, use a pencil to mark the head to help you place it back correctly.

A small mark on the bridge will also help you differentiate the front from the back. This should be easy if you’re used to staring at them.

But if not, here’s a video to help you fix it faster;

Conclusion

Banjo isn’t as mysterious as most individuals tend to label it. Those who understand it, know how great its music tones are.

But, what some don’t know is that those tones/sounds highly depend on the type of banjo strings used on this amazing instrument.

To select the correct strings, you should be aware of the type of music you will be playing. As some produce warmer and crisp clear sounds than others.

The above best banjo strings review and buyer guide should make this easy for you. So, go ahead and shop. And if can, share your experience with us,

We’d love to hear from you!

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