If you read my article about deciding whether to play the guitar or the banjo, you know I sold my banjo and bought a banjitar in 2019.
I ultimately decided the banjitar was a better instrument for me than the banjo.
But before we dive into whether the banjitar is the instrument for you, let’s talk about what a banjitar is exactly.
So what is a banjitar?
A banjitar is a slang term for a banjo guitar hybrid instrument that has:
- the body of a banjo
- six strings tuned in the standard tuning of a guitar instead of the banjos four or five strings typically tuned to an open G tuning.
Banjitars enable guitarists to get that banjo sound without learning a new instrument.
Banjitars also go by several additional names including:
- the six string banjo
- the ganjo
- the banjo-guitar or the guitar-banjo.
Now let’s discuss which banjitar is best for someone just starting out with this instrument.
The Cost of a Six String Banjo and Which One I recommend
In general, I recommend owning a standard guitar before purchasing a banjo guitar.
If you’re just starting your journey learning guitar, you will have an easier time learning on a standard guitar.
(And if you’re interested in the standard guitar I recommend, check out the Jasmine S35).
If you already own a standard guitar and are interested in purchasing a starter banjo-guitar, this is a reasonably priced instrument with solid reviews.
I’ve found that banjo guitars are very similar in pricing to banjos with entry-level instruments priced around $100 (like a guitar).
But prices diverge for middle and higher range instruments.
For instance, it’s difficult to find many mid-range electric/acoustic banjo guitars (or banjos) for less than $400.
However, you can find countless guitars priced between $100 and $400.
So if you’re willing to invest a bit more in performance-ready banjitar, this is the one I own.
It’s a solid mid-range instrument with a pickup and a great sound that I really enjoy.
(As an aside, Gold Tone, the brand that makes this banjitar, makes excellent instruments, particular hybrid instruments. I also own a Gold Tone Mando Guitar that I love.)
Why You Might Consider Adding a Banjitar to Your Instrument Collection
For some guitarists, six string banjos are the “missing piece.”
They’re the instrument they didn’t realize they wanted until they knew it existed.
At least, that’s how country artist Keith Urban describes it.
Here are some reasons why the six string banjo might be the perfect instrument for you.
You love bluegrass, country, or folk music but don’t want to learn a new instrument.
If this is you, I’ve been there.
Growing up, I loved bluegrass and folk music but I struggled to stick with the banjo or the mandolin when I was having so much fun with the guitar.
Unfortunately, I didn’t know guitar hybrids like the six string banjo or mando guitar existed.
So I kept trying to learn the banjo and the mandolin alongside the guitar and it just didn’t work for me.
If this sounds something like your experience, guitar hybrids like the banjo guitar could be a great option for you.
Guitar hybrids like the six string banjo allow you to get a different sound out of a guitar-like instrument you can play just like a guitar.
You Want to Bring a New Sound to a Jam Session Without Learning a New Instrument
Most jam sessions need someone who plays an instrument other than guitar.
Instead of learning a new instrument, you can bring a new sound to the jam session with a banjo guitar.
Bringing a different instrument, even a guitar hybrid, will make you welcome at countless jam sessions overrun by standard guitar players.
You’re Trying to Get Out of A Guitar Rut
At some point in your guitar playing journey, you’ll probably get in a rut.
For whatever reason, you won’t feel as excited about the instrument.
You may find yourself playing the same old tunes without the drive, interest, or know how to learn something new.
If you’ve ever experienced something like this, a guitar hybrid like the banjitar could really help you.
The novel sound of a banjo guitar could be just the thing you need to get out or your rut, reignite your musical passion, and move forward in your musical journey.
The Difficulties of Playing a Banjo Guitar
I love my banjo guitar and think it’s a fun instrument.
But not everything about the instrument is ideal or easy.
There’s a reason standard guitars are more popular than their hybrid counterparts.
Just like banjos, banjitars have a less versatile sound than a standard guitar.
The twang of a banjo guitar is best suited for country, bluegrass, or folk music.
Of course, no instrument is necessarily limited by genre.
However, it generally takes more skill to make an instrument’s sound work in a genre in which it’s not often played.
Also, my banjitar isn’t quite as loud as my acoustic guitar (which is often the case when comparing banjos to guitars).
And like banjos, banjitars are slightly more expensive to maintain than guitars (like when getting the instrument set up at the luthier) and their strings are more difficult to replace than the guitar’s because of their floating bridges.
Lastly, there aren’t many banjitar songs you can learn because it’s an uncommon instrument and few songs are written specifically for the banjitar.
As such, you’ll need to be prepared to create your own banjo guitar arrangements.
What are the different types of banjos? Though many people think of a banjo guitar as a type of banjo, I think most that know about the instrument would agree that it’s actually a type of guitar given it’s standard tuning and number of strings. However, it’s a certainly a relative of the banjo family which includes the standard 5 string, 4 string, and tenor banjos as well as banjo hybrids banjolele (hybrid with a ukulele) and banjolin (hybrid with a mandolin). You can learn more about the different types of banjos here.