Many guitar players want to switch to the banjo and are wondering what the best 6 string banjo for them would be. We wrote this guide with those musicians in mind! We also know this instrument is becoming more popular with beginners as a hybrid, the plucky sound of a banjo combined with the easy chords from a guitar!
We will start with a few reasons you may want to choose the banjitar before we get into our top picks for the instrument. We finish up the guide with a buying guide so you know what we look for when looking for and rating the best 6 string banjo!
The Best 6 String Banjo
If you’re in a hurry, the top pick for the best banjitar currently on the market is the Washburn Americana Series B6-A 6-string Open Back Banjo.
Why Choose a 6 String Banjo
A 6 string banjo is the perfect instrument for someone who wants to convert from playing a guitar. In fact, they are often called a banjitar, guitanjo, bantar or even just a guitar-banjo rather than a 6 string banjo.
These instruments are rich in history, being part of the acoustic scene since the late 1800’s. Thanks to this they give off quite a nostalgic sound when mastered. They have the benefit of being tuned just like a guitar while simultaneously being able to keep that original banjo sound.
Experienced guitar players can really enjoy this instrument without much work. It is tuned just like a standard guitar so you can get the standard banjo sound without learning a new instrument. The banjo sound with the lower tone and greater sustain is a phenomenal way to distinguish your sound instantly in a band or in a show.
This doesn’t mean a beginner can’t pick it up since it is similar to learning the acoustic guitar. In fact, the neck of the 6 string banjo is the same as an acoustic guitar, so it is more the picking hand that will have a different feel when it gets to guitar.
Sold on the 6 string banjo? Let’s look at the banjitars that we recommend!
Luna Celtic 6-String Banjo, Tobacco Burst
This banjo is amazing for modern Celtic music and it comes with a standard 25-1/2″ scale, this is just like a guitar making it a great pick for someone transition from a traditional guitar to a banjitar.
The clear Remo head gives this instrument a really unique look along with the etched resonator and the orange shade to the mahogany body and neck.
The sound from this instrument is loud, crisp and has that authentic banjo twang. Any guitarist wanting to switch to a decent banjo will love this instrument for it sound and looks. The design is definitely Celtic and is marketed to those who play mostly in the genre, but the sound will work for a much broader scope of music!
- Stylish Celtic Look
- Mahogany Body and Neck
- EADGBE Tuning from Factory
- Clear 11″ Remo Head
- Mahogany Resonator Equipped
- Needs Some Setup out of the Box
Washburn Americana Series B6-A 6-string Open Back Banjo
The Washburn Americana Series B6-A is our pick for the best 6 string banjo. If you are advanced player this may not be enough of an instrument, but beginners and intermediates will be hard pressed to find a better value!
This banjitar has a warm and full tone. Its ebony tipped bridge allows excellent tone transfer and the gold armrest is extremely comfortable.
The mahogany rim and neck pair well with the Remo distressed head to give the Washburn a great look.
Washburn has been building banjos just about as long as they’ve been in existence. This is the best value instrument on this list and it will be perfect for a large range of players. A great sounding instrument for less than you’d expect!
- Amazing Value Instrument
- Mahogany Neck and Head
- Distressed Rim Adds Functional Style
- Die-cast Tuners
Stagg BJW-OPEN 6-String Open Back Guitar Banjo with Guitar Headstock – Black
The Stagg BJW Open back banjo has great projection for an open backed instrument with excellent stability.
The body is made from a solid mahogany, while the neck is made from a natural wood and a rosewood fingerboard that is a very familiar combination for guitarists.
The bridge is a maple with an ebony saddle. Just like many reviewers, the bridge did cause us a bit of trouble installing… might want to take it into a professional to save yourself the hassle.
The look and feel of this instrument make a great addition to any guitar players collection with the quality that Stagg is known for.
- Black is a Really Cool Look
- Mahogany body
- Maple bridge with Ebony Saddle
- Guitar Tuned out of the Box
- Bridge Installation can be Problematic
Deering Goodtime Six-R 6-string Banjo With Resonator
We saved the best pound for pound instrument for last. Deering is a brand that is synonymous with the banjo, and the Goodtime is one of their most popular lines.
The only instrument we added with both a maple neck and 3-ply maple rim, this instrument sounds like a banjo should sound.
To make guitarist more comfortable, the neck is radiused to mimic the shape and feel of a guitar neck.
The Deering Goodtime line of banjos are their entry level series, but these instruments have the quality that sets them apart from many other brands. Spending the extra money on this instrument is a little bit of a longer term investment, but you will not regret it!
Banjitar Buying Guide
Not interested on the instruments on our list? There are a few things you need to look for when buying a banjitar. The best 6 string banjos do have a handful of things in common that you can look for to make a smart, educated buying decision! Knowing the parts of the banjo will also help you identify and knowledgeably discuss the instrument!
The neck is the first thing we’ll look at. Most 6 string banjos have a radiused neck similar to what you’d find on an acoustic guitar so that guitar players will be comfortable with the feel and fingering. The neck should be made from a resonant hardword for sound considerations, both maple and mahogany are common choices.
The Rim and the head are the next pieces of the banjo you want to look at, these make up the body. Normally a head will be made of the same hardwood as the neck, the best being made from 3-ply maple. For banjos in the mid to lower price range you’ll normally be looking for a Remo 11″ head.
Depending on how and where you’re playing the instrument you’ll need to choose between a resonator or an open backed banjo. This is a bowl shaped piece on the back of the banjo that helps project the sound the instrument makes. On our list today we have two resonator banjitars (the Luna and the Deering), and two open back banjos.
Pegs are another thing you want to check. With tuning pegs, the rule is rather pretty simple…. if it looks cheap it probably is. Especially with the best 6 string banjo you’ll probably get guitar style geared tuners.
While shopping for a banjitar make sure to check the tuning. Most will be tuned with standard guitar tuning but there are plenty of variations that you’ll want to be aware of!
The Final Note
After looking through about 70 different banjitars our pick for the best 6 string banjo was the is the Washburn Americana Series B6-A 6-string Open Back Banjo. While this instrument probably won’t be right for expert level players, both beginners and intermediates will enjoy the sound and quality of this banjo!
Last update on 2021-05-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API