Best 5-String Banjo Books For Beginners [2023]

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Looking for the best banjo books for beginners? Want to learn the banjo in the easiest and clearest way possible?

If you’re thinking about learning the banjo it can be very helpful to have a lesson book to use. Whether you have a private instructor or you’re learning at home for fun, a banjo lesson book can make the learning process much easier and will allow you to gain new skills at a rapid pace.

Unfortunately, finding the best banjo coursebook can prove exhausting, especially if you don’t know where to start looking.

Luckily, we’re here to help you out. To save you the trouble, here’s our list of the very best 5-string banjo books for beginners.

Best 5-String Banjo Books For Beginners – Quick View

ImageModelPlaying StyleAmazon RatingPrice
Earl Scruggs and the 5-String Banjo: Revised and Enhanced EditionScruggs' Style Banjo4.7Check Price on Amazon
Banjo Primer Book for Beginners Deluxe EditionScruggs' Style Banjo4.6Check Price on Amazon
How to Play the 5- String Banjo: A Manual for Beginners 3rd Revised EditionSeeger Style Banjo4.6Check Price on Amazon
Clawhammer Style BanjoClawhammer Banjo4.6Check Price on Amazon
The Ultimate Banjo Songbook: 26 Favorites Arranged For 5-String BanjoScruggs' Style Banjo4.4Check Price on Amazon

Things to Consider When Choosing a Banjo Lesson Book

If you want to learn the banjo with the help of a banjo book, you need to carefully consider which one you choose. Here’s how to choose banjo instructional materials and banjo lesson books to use.

Banjo Type

When buying a banjo book, you’ll want to choose one that’s focused on the type of banjo that you have.

The 4-string and 5-string banjos require different playing styles. You won’t be able to play a 5-string playing style properly on a 4-string banjo.

Style of Banjo

In addition to choosing a book for the type of banjo you play, you should also consider the playing style that you want to learn.

There are multiple ways to play the 5-string banjo, for example. You can choose to play Scruggs’ style 5-string banjo, clawhammer banjo, melodic banjo, and more.


Another thing that you should consider when choosing a banjo book is your level of experience.

If you’re a beginner to the instrument, make sure that you buy a banjo lesson book that is specifically written for beginners. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Beginner and Student Banjo Books – REVIEWED

Can’t wait to get started learning to play the banjo? Here are the best books that will help you with the task.

1. Earl Scruggs and the 5-String Banjo: Revised and Enhanced Edition

Banjo Style: Scruggs’ Style Banjo

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Best 5-String Banjo Lesson Books

The first banjo book on our list is Earl Scruggs and the 5-String Banjo, one of the best-selling method books of all time.

Earl Scragg practically invented the modern 5-string banjo style as we know it today, and the Scruggs method has established itself well. It’s a legendary method that has proved to be a great help to thousands of banjo learners at the beginner level.

The basics in the book include the history of the 5-string banjo, reading chords and music, Scruggs tunings, reading tablature, left-hand techniques, right-hand rolls, and how to build and tune a banjo.

With the enhanced and revised edition, learners have access to updated lessons and more songs. The Kindle version comes with Earl Scruggs audios of him playing and explaining examples.

2. Banjo Primer Book for Beginners Deluxe Edition

Banjo Style: Scruggs’ Style Banjo

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Best Banjo Books For Learning

The Banjo Primer Book For Beginners is another great coursebook for anyone who is learning banjo from the ground up.

In addition to beginner-level basics, this book offers the learner a chance to learn simple song arrangements as they progress to classic Bluegrass. The instructions are broken down into steps and can be used to teach groups or an individual.

The DVDs offer audio-visual instructions for each exercise, all at three speeds; slow (learning), mid-tempo (practice), and up-tempo (performance). The tablature, audio exercises, and video lessons are accessible online.

The songs on the jam CDs are played with a bluegrass band at five speeds. However, the discs are not included in the Kindle purchase.

3. How to Play the 5- String Banjo: A Manual for Beginners 3rd Revised Edition

Banjo Style: Seeger Style Banjo

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Best Beginner Banjo Books

How to Play the 5-String Banjo: A Manual For Beginners is also a great banjo book that is perfect for students and beginners to the instrument.

This is a basic manual that includes lyrics, melody lines, notable solos in tablature, and standard-form banjo accompaniment. The chapters include information on hammer-ons, double thumbing techniques, basic strumming, pulling off, and the fifth string.

This book provides an excellent fundamental basis for playing the banjo, and it can be used by amateurs or as a refresher guide for the pros.

On the downside, for some individuals, it may be hard to read the tablature. For true beginners, the book might also come across as a little bit too advanced.

4. Clawhammer Style Banjo

Banjo Style: Clawhammer Style Banjo

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Best Clawhammer Banjo Books

While many new banjo players want to learn to play the popular 5-string style, Clawhammer Style Banjo by Ken Perlman is a great option for anyone who wants to learn to play clawhammer banjo instead. This book is suitable for both beginners and advanced-level banjo players.

The teaching guide offers an easy learning style, and it comes with over 40 banjo tunes. However, true beginners might find this book a bit frustrating, since it has no DVD accompaniment like many other banjo books that are out there.

5. The Ultimate Banjo Songbook: 26 Favorites Arranged For 5-String Banjo

Banjo Style: Scruggs’ Style Banjo

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Best Banjo Songbook

While it’s not a straightforward lesson book, The Ultimate Banjo Songbook is also invaluable for anyone who is beginning their banjo journey.

This book offers a spectacular collection of the classics such as Foggy Mountain Breakdown, You Are My Sunshine, Rawhide, and much more. This package also comes with learning aids such as demo recordings for listening and practicing.

To access the audio, you have to use the unique code found inside the book. This allows you to either download the audio or stream it. With the PLAYBACK+, you can set loop points and slow audios without changing the pitch and pan right or left.

On the downside, this book is written in narrow, tiny font that may prove unreadable to a few individuals. Furthermore, the tabs on Kindle do not resize when window sizes or fonts change.

Choosing the Ideal Instructional Materials When Learning the Banjo

If you’re looking for the best beginner banjo books, one of the books above would be a great choice. There are different levels for beginners, however, so be sure to understand your level to avoid frustration and choose the best book for your needs.

Need the best possible banjo to get started with? Check out this list to see our list of favorites that are on the market today.