Looking for a banjo can be a daunting task particularly if you have never played an instrument. In order to be successful a banjo must have the following features :

1. It must be stable. This means that the parts of the banjo move as one instead of as separate parts. Specifically the neck does not move or bend as you play causing you to go out of tune. The neck can move because it is not securely touching the body or it can move or bend because it is weak and unstable or a part called the truss rod is not tightened properly. In some cases the neck might be broken. The tailpiece remains stationary throughout the entire process. The bridge does not move. The keys or tuners do not turn once you have tuned the banjo.Tuners can cause you to go out of tune either because they are not screwed in securely or they malfunction and do not hold the string securely.

2. The bridge is not in the correct location. If you were to take a tape measure and measure from the inside of the nut to the middle of the 12th fret and then measure from the middle of the 12th fret wire to the inside of the banjo bridge, the distances should be equal.

3. The frets need to be the correct height. When you press your left hand fingers on the fret board you get a clear sound.

4. The sting height needs to be about 2/16 to 3/16 at the 12th fret. We measure this by measuring from the top of the fret wire to the bottom of the string.

In the next 2 weeks we will shoot a video showing some popular beginning banjo designs to help you evaluate what kind of banjo to purchase.

Geoff Hohwald is a Master Banjo Player and Banjo Teacher who has played and taught the banjo for more than 40 years. He wrote his first Banjo Book in 1979 and since then has helped thousands of banjo players worldwide become better and more knowledgeable players.  His Banjo Primer book has been used by countless banjo teachers including some of the top players and teachers in the world. Geoff’s learning materials can be seen in over 2,000 music stores and is visible all over the internet on YouTube, Facebook, & Banjo Compass. He has conducted over 50 week long banjo classes at John C. Campbell Folk School and at his facility in Dahlonega, GA.

Improve Your Playing

Geoff Hohwald is Master Banjo Instructor who has been teaching and playing banjo for over 40 years. Geoff wants you to become the banjo player you have always wanted to be. He has written numerous banjo instructional books, teaches one-on-one banjo lessons, and even hold regular banjo camps at his mountain retreat in North Georgia.