How To Play 5 String Banjo: Banjo For Beginners

The first thing that comes to mind when you hear a banjo is the five-string banjo. You’ve considered picking up a musical instrument, but you need to figure out how to play the 5-string banjo and how difficult it may be. Be at ease! We are prepared to assist. If there was ever an opportune moment to begin, it is right now!

What is a 5 string banjo?

The five strings on the most common banjo are usually tuned to a G chord.

The fifth string, which is shorter than the other four, is strung to a tuning peg that protrudes from the side of the neck. Beginners may play this kind of banjo the simplest.

If you are looking for the best 5-string banjo for beginners, we present you a few brand names. Five-string banjos are often heard in bands as varied as Dolly Parton, Mumford & Sons, the Eagles, and Led Zeppelin, as well as in Appalachian, Old Time American Folk, and Bluegrass music.

How to play 5-string banjo

Ibanez B200 5 String Banjo w/Basswood Rim


Here are all the fundamentals of banjo playing, as outlined in the step-by-step tutorial.

Tune up banjo.

Before starting to play the banjo, make sure that it is tuned. By twisting the tuner knobs on the banjo’s headstock, the string’s tone may be altered.

Use an electrical tuner. Banjos need a chromatic tuner, which may be obtained online or bought at a nearby music shop.

Tune this string in the key of your piano or even on a keyboard if you have one. If the string is flat and going clockwise, turn the tuner the other way.

Because they are playing by ear, beginners may find this to be more difficult. When the banjo is in tune and out of tune, it is easy to determine the kind of music it should produce.

The only common standard tuning for a 5-string banjo is Open G. You may use an online tuner to hear what these notes sound like: (g, D, G, B, D).

Adapt your body.


It isn’t easy to maintain a straight posture before playing the banjo. Sitting incorrectly may significantly impact the quality of your music, increase problems, and increase your risk of injury.

Maintain a straight back and shoulders to avoid slouching. Whether you’re sitting or standing, this is genuine.

Grip the banjo at a 45-degree angle, ideally higher (usually players hold the neck at one or eleven o’clock, as shown in section 8 below), with the bottom side parallel to the ground or extending higher along with you will be able to see the chords clearly.

Because a banjo’s neck is more delicate than a guitar’s, avoid over-gripping it. 

Make use of a banjo strap. The banjo is much longer and heavier than any guitar. You ask the strap to raise the banjo’s weight. Worrying about this won’t be easy if your left hand or thumb is occupied with playing the banjo. You’ll then see that this is attempting to slip away.

Put your hands where they belong.

Your right hand should be placed at the bridge high above the strings while your left hand is holding the neck.

Your right hand’s ring finger and pinky finger should be resting on the banjo’s head shortly after the first string. Consider applying double-stick tape to your fingers if you’re having difficulty keeping them still while playing.

The guitar is positioned on the left in the image above. The strap, not your thumb, should support the weight of a banjo. The banjo neck should remain in position when you release both hands. Stretch your fingers to the front fingerboard while keeping a straight thumb on the “crown” of the back of the neck. Keep your wrist in this position while playing.

Understanding picking.

Bluegrass picking involves sweeping your fingers downward while plugging the strings with a pick or nail. While picking on the banjo, you typically use your thumb, index, and middle finger.

Some people use all three fingers (apart from the pinky) to pluck, but you should be aware that this is a more advanced method. Reshaping the pinky and ring fingers is necessary.

You may buy fingerpicks to put on the tips of your fingers. They have rings on the ends and resemble metal guitar picks. You apply it to the tips of your plucking fingers to produce a louder sound.

Don’t bother pulling or pushing the threads; making a decision is unnecessary. The banjo will make a nice sound, downward or upward stroke, by softly striking each string.

Learn some fundamental roles.

A simple banjo-plucking rhythm that uses eight notes is known as a “roll.” There are a lot of basic rolls you may use there. You can play all these repeating patterns with just a few strings and your right-hand pick.

A forward roll is the standard fundamental. This may be played by strumming all of the following notes: 5-3-5-3-1-5-3. Some numbers, such as the first, third, and fifth, denote a string. You may play eight notes there.

Once you have mastered all the fundamental rolls, go on to the harder rolls. Along with timing, selecting is something you can practice.

Develop your rhythm.

Even if you are skilled at playing certain roles, it may not be easy to maintain time while doing so for an extended period. You may speed up by using a metronome. A metronome is a tool that emits electrical clicking sounds on a predetermined, predictable frequency. As you practice, keep one on so you can monitor your improvement by time to the metronome.

Practice daily

The most effective way to learn the banjo is to work hard daily. You must practice the banjo for at least 30 minutes daily to become a pro. At first, you can experience frustration or discouragement. But as time passes, you’ll like playing this instrument often and develop your own style.


Is playing a five-string banjo challenging?

The simplest stringed instrument to learn to play is the 5-string banjo. In less than 5 minutes, I can teach groups of individuals who have never played an instrument how to play the banjo. I often attend music festivals.

Are five-string banjos suitable for beginners?

One of the greatest banjos on which to learn is the Jameson 5-String. Given its good ratings and the finest-sounding banjos in its price range, it is one of the most preferred options for beginners.

How much banjo practice should you get in each day?

Please put it in your calendar and commit to doing it daily for at least 30 to 60 minutes. Proper practice Playing well is more important than merely paying more if you want to become quicker. Use a metronome and slow down the speed while rehearsing songs unfamiliar to you. Speed is less crucial than accuracy.

Final words

Learning how to play 5-string banjo is relatively easy, and it is very suitable for beginners. If you are a beginner seeking a 5-string banjo, it’s advised to read our review on the latest models on the market.

Author: Geraldine Ben

Do you have any idea about what are some popular musical instruments? What about your favorite band? Do you know anything about any particular bands or musicians? There are so many musical instruments available for sale that it would be challenging and time-consuming for customers to compare many items among them and choose the best. I am Ben - a lover of all things musical. I synthesize the best instruments to help anyone with their equipment needs.

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