Blues music wouldn’t be complete without the banjo. That being said, there are actually a number of different musical styles which wouldn’t sound the same if the banjo weren’t played. The banjo has been around for a long time, and there’s a new appreciation for this humble little instrument which it didn’t have before. The sound of a banjo is very distinct, and more people have learnt to love this unique and easily distinguishable sound. Are you a banjo beginner? Then you may be having some difficulty choosing the right banjo for your needs. Here, then, are some top tips on choosing the proper banjo.
Consider the strings
You should know, first of all, that banjos can be incredibly versatile, and its versatility includes the fact that it comes with different strings. For instance, you can opt for a 4-string banjo, a 5-string banjo (the most popular), or a 6-string banjo.
The 4-string version is also referred to as the tenor, and it is often related to Irish music, jazz, and Dixieland. The 5-string version is the version that is most standard or traditional, and it is often related to folk and bluegrass musical styles. It is said that the 5-string version is most recommended for beginners, as it is easier to play. The 6-string version is also known as banjitar, guitjo, or banjo guitar, and its body is similar to a banjo but it has a guitar’s neck. This 6-string version is played mostly by experienced musicians, particularly guitarists who like producing a banjo’s sound whilst still playing a familiar fret position.
The choice between resonator and open back
There are two main banjo builds: a resonator and an open back. The open back is just as its name implies: it has an open back and it has a shape like a bowl when it is turned upside down. The resonator has a back attached along with a wood ring which serves to amplify the banjo’s sound.
The best way to decide which build you want is to play the instrument first. When you try it out, you can hear which one works best for you, but an open back banjo is usually preferred by beginners as its sound isn’t loud. The resonator has a fuller and louder sound, but it is also costlier and heavier compared to the open back build which is lighter and less expensive. Some experts would say that the heavier the instrument is, the better its quality, but you should always stick to the instrument which you feel most comfortable playing.
Learning how to play banjo starts with selecting the right instrument. Whilst you may have a range of choices, it’s always best to choose the right one according to your preference, the style of music you would like to play, and your budget.
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