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Michael
Michael, Librarian
Category: General
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Experience:  20+ years as information professional
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This question is regarding guitars/banjos, not appraisals.

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This question is regarding guitars/banjos, not appraisals. Hopefully someone can answer it for me.
My son is 20, and plays guitar (beginner to moderate level). He wants a banjo for Christmas. I was looking on Amazon.com, and there was one called a Gretsch Guitar-Banjo (Plays like a guitar sounds like a Banjo it says).
I don't know if this is what I should get, since he knows how to play guitar. Or do they all 'play like a guitar'?
And how many strings?
Basically, which would be the best banjo for first time banjo players? (It doesn't have to be on amazon, I would just like to know a few options of what would be best. Under $400). Here are some on amazon that had high reviews.- Gretsch G9460 "Dixie 6" Guitar-Banjo
- Epiphone MB-200 Banjo, Red Brown
- 6 String Banjo Guitar with Closed Back Resonator and 24 Brackets
- 5-String Banjo 24 Bracket with Closed Solid Back and Geared 5th Tuner By Jameson GuitarsThank you!

Good morning,

Great that your son wishes to learn to play the banjo as learning other instruments can expand his musical playing skills.

As for beginning banjos to play, much depends on what type of music he wants to play. 4 string banjos are used to play dixieland and jazz. 5 sting is used to play bluegrass. 6 string banjos play like a guitar but are more advanced and might not be the one that your son should start off with first.

As for what to look for when purchasing a banjo for the first time, it should have strings that are easy to push and playable. They should also have a good sound. As for brands in which to look for, see about going to your local music store and look at companies such as Deering, Gibson, and Fender. From reviews I have found, both the Deering Goodtime Special and the Fender FB 58 are good banjos to start off with.

Visiting your local music store and trying out some of the instruments would be the better choice than purchasing online as not being able to give it a look over before playing.

Michael

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thank you so much for your detailed answers :-) The only Fender FB 58 I could find online are used. I would like to buy him one that is under $500 if possible. And I believe you are right in that a 5 string would be best. I think he likes bluegrass (he has shown be the 'dueling banjos' from the deliverance movie). I need to order him one from online because I'm not able to go to the store. Would the following one work well for a beginner?
--- 5-String Banjo 24 Bracket with Closed Solid Back and Geared 5th Tuner By Jameson Guitars (on Amazon.com)
or
---- Gretsch Guitars Root Series G9450 Dixie 5-String Banjo 5-String Banjo (on Guitarcenter.com)
The Deerings look great and have great reviews, but they are closer to $800, and I'm hoping to spend under $500.
I want to buy one that is 5 string, available for purchase on the internet, and great for beginners.
If you wouldn't mind helping me again, now that we have it all narrowed down?
Thanks so much!

I have looked at the two you have listed tonight and the first banjo from Jameson would be a great instrument for a beginner. It has solid reviews and those that have started out playing recommend it. The price is quite good and Amazon has a good return policy. The price is under the price range you wish to spend and free shipping is an added bonus.

The banjo offers many features found on more expensive models, such as the tuner. It looks very well built and should offer your son many years of playing enjoyment.

Michael

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thank you so much Michael! I'm going to order that one :-)

You are very welcome as I am sure your son will enjoy this instrument for many years. If you could please take a second to rate my assistance so that I can receive credit for helping you today.

Take care,

Michael

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