Your banjo music will be as good as the strings.
This is 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 the best banjo strings reviews guide.
Best Banjo Strings Reviewed In 2021
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.
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.
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.
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 banjo 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;
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!