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Trying to find the best professional banjo on the market? Need a more high-end instrument to use for your needs?
If you’re a professional banjo player who performs on-stage regularly, it’s essential that you have the best-sounding instrument that money can buy. Banjos are one of the premier instruments of bluegrass music and come in at all price points – from $100 to $5,000 and more.
At a certain point, however, it’s crucial that you move past the entry-level options. Professional players will eventually want to buy a great-sounding banjo that will delight the ears, feel great to play, and look incredibly attractive to the eye.
Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Below we’ll give you our list of the very best professional banjos that will help you start sounding and looking your best.
Best Professional Banjos – Quick View
|Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-300 Banjo||Closed-Back||Check Price on Amazon|
|Washburn Americana Series B16K-D 5-String Banjo||Closed-Back||Check Price on Amazon|
|Deering Sierra 5-String Pro Banjo||Closed-Back||Check Price on Amazon|
|Gold Star GF-300FE Flathead 5-String Banjo with Flying Eagle Inlays||Closed-Back||Check Price on Amazon|
|Deering Calico 5-String Professional Banjo||Closed-Back||Check Price on Amazon|
Beginner Vs. Professional Banjos: What You Should Know
There are banjos of all price points and levels of quality out there. However, it can be tough to understand exactly how different these banjos actually are. While it may seem like the differences between professional banjos and beginner banjos are minimal, there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.
Many things affect the price point of these different banjo types. This includes the manufacturer, the materials used for the construction of the instrument, and the level of craftsmanship that went into perfecting it.
At a basic level, here’s what you should know about the differences between entry-level, intermediate, and pro banjos.
Beginner and Entry-Level Banjos
Beginner banjos are usually made with cheaper materials. They’re assembled in large factories with very little work on the banjo being done by hand.
Many of these banjos are made overseas and won’t be made by a proven manufacturer or brand name. There may be small imperfections in craftsmanship and they may not sound as good as more expensive banjos.
Intermediate banjos are somewhere in between beginner banjos and professional banjos when it comes to the quality level. These banjos may be made of significantly better materials than entry-level banjos.
On the other hand, their assembly often still leaves a good bit to be desired. They may not have been constructed with the same level of attention as professional banjos.
However, many novice players may not be able to tell much difference in design or sound between intermediate and professional banjo instruments.
Professional banjos offer the highest level of quality to players and come from reliable manufacturers and brands. They may also be custom-made.
These banjos use high-quality materials and are made with plenty of close care and attention. These banjos are often handmade and put together with a focus on detail. The sound quality of these instruments as well as their visual appearance is pretty impressive. These banjos offer players great playability as well.
While there’s a lot more that goes into becoming a great banjo player than buying a quality instrument. However, getting one of these pro-quality banjo can definitely help.
Top Banjos For Professionals – REVIEWED
Ready to find an amazing professional banjo that will serve you well on-stage and off? Here’s our list of the very best professional banjos on the market today.
The first professional banjo on our list is the Gold Tone Orange Blossom 5-String Banjo, otherwise known as the OB-300.
This gold-plated banjo has a beautiful design and some amazing decorative flourishes that truly help it to stand out from the pack. The sand-cast bronze tone ring is especially high-quality and allows the banjo to have an even louder, more piercing tone.
The neck features curly maple while the ebony fingerboard comes with a beautiful modified tree of life design. It also has a 14″ flame maple resonator.
Considering all of the features on this banjo, you could likely fool someone into thinking this was a $10000 banjo. Luckily, it’s going to cost you a good bit less than that to get your hands on it.
This Gold Tone banjo also comes with a great hardshell case that will serve you well during transport.
Overall, Gold Tone hasn’t let us down with this banjo and it serves as a great option for professional players.
For banjo players looking for a quality instrument, the Washburn Americana Series B16K-D 5-String Banjo is well worth a closer look. Washburn is a reliable brand that produces high-quality instruments, so you can rest assured that this banjo will serve you well.
This banjo has a high-quality maple resonator and rim, planetary chrome tuners, an ebony-tipped maple bridge, and a chrome armrest. It also features an authentic Remo head that looks great.
The banjo’s appearance offers the classic banjo look. However, the attractive inlays and banjo heads really stand out and make this banjo look even more impressive.
This is a pretty high-quality banjo and it’s offered at a very reasonable price. Make sure you take a closer look at this one if you want to have a great banjo for playing at home, taking to the stage, or joining a bluegrass jam.
The next professional banjo on our list of the very best is the Deering Sierra 5-String Banjo.
The Deering Banjo Company has a great line of professional high-end banjos, and of those, this is their flagship banjo, one of their most standout options. The Deering Sierra 5-String banjo is truly one of the best pro banjos around.
This banjo sounds like a dream and offers all of the great construction and features to make it sound like a truly professional instrument. This banjo features an adjustable tailpiece, a mahogany neck and resonator, and all of the other great hardware you’ll need.
The aesthetic features of this banjo are a bit less impressive than some of the other best high-end banjos, so the price is also pretty attractive. For the remarkable craftsmanship and quality you get with this banjo, the price is well worth it and it ends up being a great deal all around.
Additionally, this Deering banjo also comes with a high-quality hardshell carrying case to get the banjo from Point A to Point B.
Overall, if you’re looking for a banjo that not only looks incredibly attractive but also has the sound to match, this is the professional banjo you need.
The next banjo on our list is the Gold Star Model GF-300FE Flathead Banjo with Flying Eagle Inlays. This banjo plays great, sounds great, and has a killer look overall.
Gold Star has a special place in the hearts of the many professional banjo players out there. Among others, this particular banjo has been used by such banjoists as Russ Carson of Kentucky Thunder. This company deserves nothing but the utmost respect and many professionals recommend this company and this banjo to players who need a high-end instrument.
The banjo features a flamed maple resonator, a stylish pre-war type of deep arch, and a fingerboard that features tapered wall 3-ply binding. It also has an attached back resonator. The hand-cast inlays also look amazing and feature a stylish Flying eagle pattern.
A deluxe hardshell case also comes with this banjo and emerald green crushed velvet is featured on the inside.
Overall, this banjo isn’t likely to disappoint even the most unreasonable of banjo snobs and is likely to serve any banjo player well no matter where they happen to use their skills.
The next professional banjo on our list is the Deering Calico 5-String Banjo. Serving as a world-class high-end offering from Deering, this is one of the most premium banjos of the bunch.
The Deering Calico features a honey-amber stained, high-gloss finish and a maple neck. The instrument’s ebony fretboard comes with a luxury, curly-que mother of pearl inlays. The inlay and handwork that this banjo feature is second to none and truly of professional grade and the price has been set accordingly.
The banjo features inside tapered resonator walls that allow for more tone projection. The banjo also features high-quality glued-in frets.
As far as the price goes, this one is starting to climb up compared to many other banjo options that are out there, but for many serious and professional banjo players, its features, tone, and craftsmanship will be more than worth it.
This may just be one of the most attractive banjos that were ever made. The sound of this banjo is pretty remarkable as well. It’s a snappy-sounding banjo that features an immense amount of resonance along with great highs and deep lows.
Overall, this is another great instrument that is perfect for advanced banjo players who have a strong preference for quality.
Honorable Mentions – More Great Banjos For Advanced Players
The above banjos are pretty expensive, and even as a professional, some of the prices may seem a little steep. If you want a great banjo that could pass as a professional instrument but that comes in at a lower price point, you may want to check out a few of these instruments on your own.
- Recording King RK-R36-BR Madison Tone Ring Banjo with Mahagony Resonator
- Deering Goodtime Midnight Special 5-String Banjo 2016 Model
- Deering Artisan Goodtime 5-String Openback Banjo
- Ob-150 Professional Bluegrass Banjo
- Gold Tone CC-100R Cripple Creek Banjo with Resonator
There are a lot of great banjos out there, so remember, price isn’t everything. Some of the more budget-friendly professional banjos punch high above their weight and will offer an amazing sound. Be sure to consider your different options thoroughly if you want to find a great option but you don’t have much money to spend.
Finding the Best-Quality Instrument for Your Needs
If you’re looking for a truly amazing professional banjo that will serve your fingers and your ears well for years to come, the list above should serve you well. Each of the banjos above is at the top of today’s banjo market and will help you sound your best no matter where you decide to pull out your 5-string bundle of joy.
Did you land on this page by mistake? Looking for the best beginner banjos instead? Click here to see our list of great starter banjos.
Hi, I’m Harrison! I created this website to help musicians navigate the ins and outs of their craft and to help them choose new instruments and gear to add to their collection. I have 15 years of experience as a guitarist and singer and have also played many other instruments throughout the years including the bass guitar, piano, banjo, mandolin, and harmonica.