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Best Way to Learn Banjo For Beginners

Do you want to learn how to play the banjo? Perhaps, it’s a childhood dream you want to see come true? Or do you simply want to fit in with your peers whenever you meet up for a gig?

Whichever your reasons might be, we want to assure you that you’re reading the right article.

And if no one has told you yet, learning banjo is easier these days than it was a few years back.

There are various tips you can use. And that’s what we are about to share with you;

4 Best Ways To Learn Banjo Fast

1. Get Banjo!

First things first, there’s no way you’re going to learn banjo playing if you don’t have the instrument, right?

There’re two basic ways to go about this;

Rent one; various local music stores offer banjo renting services. Check out those within your hood, compare prices and get started.

For the best deal, you might want to carefully examine the contract details. For instance, is the fee monthly or weekly or yearly? And does the renting cost include maintenance fees?

You don’t want to pay much more than your initial plan.

Buy one (here is our recommended list for banjos for beginners), you can choose to either buy a second-hand banjo instrument or a new one.

Basically, second-hand music instruments are cheaper than new ones. But they don’t often guarantee durability, as some might be already experiencing some underlying issues.

So, if you settle for the buying option, always think of brand new. That way, you clearly know what you’re getting yourself into and can work within your budget to get a banjo of your choice.

2. Get Yourself a Tutor

Now that you’ve already got your first pair of banjo, it’s time to take the next step; getting yourself a teacher.

And no, this doesn’t necessarily mean attending a physical class.  With the invention of the internet, there are various online classes you can enroll in for some cool banjo lessons.

Some classes will be made up of numerous students, while others will only be between you and the teacher.

So, choose what best suits your personality. If you’re comfortable around others and find yourself grasping ideas faster with the hype of competition, then full-class lessons are what you need.

But if you’re a bit reserved and would find yourself hesitating asking questions or getting “lost” at the back-end of the classroom, then a single one-on-one classroom would be ideal.

Remember, the aim is to find someone with a banjo-playing experience who can willingly guide you through the ropes.

Having a teacher is the best way to find direction, plus you also gain a follow-up partner who isn’t afraid to tell things as they’re.

Since there are also make quack teachers out there, ensure you conduct a little research before settling for one.

For instance, you can ask around for referrals, check out online reviews and have a look at their step-by-step teaching method to see if it entails what you’re searching for.

3. Practice Deliberately

There’s no better way to put it, so we are going to just say as it’s is; you will achieve nothing musically if you don’t practice!

You just have to get your hands on that banjo and start playing with your fingers as you try to figure out the chords.

It’s often said that nothing can stop a ready mind, so if you want it, you can achieve it.

And even with a great teacher, you will have to play your role well, through practice.

Well, not only practicing but deliberate, constant practicing!

And for this, you have to set a mindful goal. It could be a daily goal, weekly, monthly or even yearly.

As you surpass the daily goal, you will automatically find yourself striving for the weekly goal(s), then monthly and eventually yearly.

You will have to learn to solve problems as they come to achieve the expectations you have in mind.

And most importantly, to practice deliberately rightly means to focus all your attention on banjo playing, at all times. No double-dealing!

4. Head to YouTube

Yes, we know what we said earlier; that .you need a teacher to help you pull through.

But sometimes, if you can’t afford one, you will have to act anyhow; desperate times call for desperate measures.

And there’s no better way to do that than watch some beginner-friendly banjo lessons.

Yes, they might lack the explanation of a one-on-one teacher, but they sure are better than nothing.

And if you’re dedicated enough, you will be playing impressively within no time.

The secret with YouTube videos lies in watching as many videos as you can, from different content creators.

Also, don’t forget to be as subjective as possible. Some content creators only pass on what they hear and not what has worked for them.

So, before you consider some tips as the solid truth, go through the comment section and see what others are saying.

Also, when you watch various content creators, you learn to differentiate experts from the half-baked wannabes.

Best Online Banjo Lessons

There are various reliable online resources where you can learn banjo in the comfort of your home or wherever you prefer. And they include;

  1. Artistworks.com

Artistworks.com offers a great avenue for beginners to learn banjo online.

And that’s not all, you get to learn from the best; Tony Trischka who is not only a renowned musical director but also an award-winning banjo artist.

On this site, students benefit from lessons that not only equip them with knowledge and skills but also gain access to hundreds of video lessons to sharpen their banjo playing skills.

The online course usually begins with .the standard banjo basics, which introduce them to the industry and welcome them to what they should be expecting during their training.

Afterward, it proceeds to the music theory, where they learn banjo tuning skills to achieve the correct sounds.

And in this case, you can expect;

  • to learn how to read tablature
  • take notes
  • Learn chords.
  • Right-hand/left-hand positioning.

Students also get to learn the 5-string banjo rolls, bluegrass introduction, amazing master solos tips and ensembles.

And of course, you get to interact with some famous bluegrass experts, where you get to ask questions and gain mentorship.

This online course suits both the older and younger students, perfectly.

  1. Peg Head Nation

On this amazing site, you will find great banjo courses suitable for beginners.

And guess what? The beginner lessons are by Bill Evans, an incredible banjo player, and tutor.

The first lesson will take you through;

  • The art of right fingering for beginners
  • Understanding the strumming techniques
  • An introduction to the simple bluegrass techniques
  • Learning the basic banjo chords
  • And learning the important accompaniment patterns in banjo playing.

And after you understand the above techniques, the lessons advance to clawhammer techniques and showcases how you can maximize them to significantly improve your tunes as you play the banjo.

Normally, these online lessons feature 40 video lessons, which include numerous songs to guide students on what they should be playing during practice lessons.

And when you enroll, you gain access to the introductory video, which takes you through the entire process and fills you in on what you should expect from each stage of learning.

There’s also a unique tablature for every lesson featured.

And to ensure the lesson is beneficial to the students, you get to learn various tips and expert tricks/secrets on the fast ways to master banjo playing.

Oh, before we forget, there’re some lessons on various banjo roll patterns, such as; pinch patter, bluegrass roll, forward roll, etc.

Generally, we find this course most suitable for students with a keen interest in learning banjo from scratch.

  1. Udemy; Banjo Tenor Lessons for Beginners

Udemy never disappoints when it comes to offering various online courses.

Its banjo tenor lessons for beginners online lessons focus on 4-string tenor banjo.

And this course is ideal for absolute beginners and it usually features 25-minutes of articles, short audio files and of course interesting video lessons.

Here, students learn to properly handle a tenor banjo and then proceed to strumming.

And for better understanding, the lessons offers various tips on banjo instrument tuning, to get students motivated.

There’s also the music theory, which is made up of various lessons such as;

  • Learning chords
  • Reading tablature
  • Common banjo terminologies

So, if you enroll for this course, you should be able to at least play banjo on scale D, play simple tunes and can comfortably improvise using your instrument.

The best part is that you get to download the audio files into your smartphone/computer and listen-in whenever you want.

The course includes 34 short lectures, which give total freedom to students to grasp as much as they want and learn under no pressure.

FAQs About Learning Banjo For Beginners

Which banjo is best for beginners?

The best banjo for beginners in terms of quality for money is the Jameson 5-String Closed-Back Banjo.

You can also check out our best 10 banjo reviews and pick what suits your needs according to your budget.

4 or 5-string banjo for beginner

5-string is the most popular type of banjo. And because it uses the G- chord, it’s one of the easiest banjo types to play.

And this makes it ideal for beginners.

The 4-string might not be any harder to learn, they require a little bit more time to practice.

How to play banjo rolls

In banjo, playing the rolls involves using various rolling patterns in both solos and backup playing.

And before you can even mix the roll patterns with different backup techniques one should always learn the basic rolls for primary back-up purposes.

And this includes picking grooves while alternating the thumb, the forward-reverse, forward rolls, etc.

The aim should be to play the rolls smoothly and with great rhythm from chord to chord without stopping.

Watch the following YouTube video to understand what we’re talking about;

How much does a decent banjo cost?

An averagely useful banjo for a beginner should cost you around $150-$300.

But if you have some cash to spare, you can always purchase a decent one for around $300-$425.


As you can see, there’s no absolute best way to learn banjo for everyone. This’s because we are all different and with different needs.

If you can afford to get a teacher, well and good, but if you can’t don’t be too hard on yourself.

You can maximize the use of YouTube videos and you will do just fine.

Either way, what remains constant is a regular practice. So, ensure you set time aside to practice each day. Not forgetting to set goals that will keep you focused.

All the best as you learn. And we look forward to hearing from you narrate your experience, soon!

Remember, successful banjo musicians, look like you.

Lee Cardwell
Owner and Chief Editor of Music Tech Hub. I play banjo, mandolin and I am currently learning how to play the harmonica.

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