Banjo vs. Guitar: All You Need Is Music

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Both of these instruments belong to the family of lutes and seem like older and younger sisters. One of them is highly famous; the second one remains a niche instrument. Which is the winner of the fight, banjo vs. guitar? We help you to decide what to give your vote.

Guide How to Get Whether You Need a Banjo or Guitar

  1. Research the main differences between a banjo and guitar.
  2. Find the answer to the question, “Is banjo easier than guitar?”.
  3. Know price guitar vs. banjo.
  4. Check if it is possible to make a guitar sound like a banjo.
  5. Find the significant points for choosing between a banjo and a guitar.

Guitar and banjo selection

Main differences between a banjo and a guitar

They are string-plucked instruments. However, what are the main differences between them despite common roots? Let’s learn it right now.

Look

The competition banjo vs. guitar starts with their look. A banjo body is circular and similar to a tambourine with a leather or plastic membrane and metal strings. Although they were initially made of wood, nowadays, they are mainly metallic. A most common acoustic guitar, a dreadnought type, has a rectangular shape, rounded edges, steel or nylon strings, and a wooden body.

Number of strings

“How many strings does a banjo have?” is a common question for its players. The modern instrument can have 4, 5, and 6 strings. The last variant has been gaining popularity, but a 5-stringed version remains the most widespread. A guitar, for its part, can have 4, 6, 7, and even 12 strings. However, guitarists worldwide prefer to play 6-stringed instruments.

Sound

Despite similar construction, these instruments sound in pretty different ways. Even a listener with an untrained ear may distinguish their tones. A guitar can boast of providing deeper intense sounds, while its rival stands out with a clear and high-pitched tone.

Guitar and banjo selections

Tuning

Also, it should be said about differences in the tuning. The typical tuning for a guitar includes the following notes: E, A, D, G, B, E. If we say about a banjo, there is an open G chord: G, D, G, B, D. Banjo players might get the excellent sound right after first touching the strings.

Way of playing

These features might be significant for those musicians who change their typical way of playing with a heavy heart. A guitar usually involves both strumming and finger-picking, while its competitor allows you nearly always only finger-picking.

Difficulty of the Guitar vs. Banjo

Everyone who keens on music and meets banjo players will likely ask them, “Is the banjo hard to play?”. The good news is that playing the banjo might not be as hard as you think. Let’s see which difficulties are hidden inside the guitar soundboard and why a banjo could be a good choice as the first string instrument.

First, a guitar is usually bigger, and its strings are further from the fretboard. A player needs some level of expertise to create notes and chords. Therefore, a small ergonomic banjo looks more comfortable for the first steps in learning, especially for children.

As we mentioned, a standard guitar tuning is E, A, D, G, B, E, whereas a banjo play begins with an open G chord: G, D, G, B, D. Frequently, the strumming of the open strings sounds pleasing. But doing the same with a guitar makes a dissonant sound. As a result, beginner guitarists have to make every effort to play their first chord bending their fingers unnaturally. Instead, banjo newcomers may not face such an issue.

Guitar and banjo choice

It is also worth noting that playing the guitar might be connected to not only pleasure but some pain. Thicker gauge strings used in guitars could make musicians suffer regardless of their experience. However, its opponent has lighter gauge strings, so you may play in a more relaxing way.

Is banjo easier than guitar, by and large? Since a guitar is more complex and has more strings, playing it seems more challenging. Your fingers should be ready for more sophisticated work to make good sounds.

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Guitar vs. Banjo: Pricing

A guitar is a well-known instrument worldwide, and many brands offer it all tastes and wishes. You could always find an entry-level guitar at a budget price for practicing your fingers. A banjo does not have the same demand. Besides, its production requires specific materials and techniques. These are reasons why you have to pay more for this instrument and its maintenance. Therefore, it will be more pricey than a similar quality guitar. As we see, the 6-string one won the 5-string one in this guitar vs. banjo round.

After researching this topic and learning the price, some guitar owners look for ways how to make a guitar sound like a banjo. You may use high-cost models of a guitar synthesizer, a sitar, a soundbox, and other devices to achieve such an effect. However, there is a simple and cheap way to turn your guitar into a banjo. All you need to do is place a balloon inside your guitar!

Guitar and banjo picks

How to Choose Between a Banjo and a Guitar

Consider a few points below before making your final decision.

  1. What playing ways do you prefer?
    A banjo is supposed to only finger-pick playing. However, if you are keen on not only that but strumming as well, choose a guitar.
  2. What playing styles do you like?
    A banjo is perfect for playing folk, country, and bluegrass. Other styles could also be played, but these are the more exotic ways to use it. Instead, a guitar allows you to make music in any genre.
  3. Do you fancy being a part of a music band?
    A banjo is a less well-known instrument compared to a guitar. Buying it might give you more opportunities to join a music band since you could complement its sound with new tones.
  4. How much are you ready to invest in a new instrument?
    Thanks to its enormous popularity, guitars usually are cheaper than banjos of similar quality.

FAQ: Similarity of a Guitar and a Banjo

Although both instruments are similar, switching between them could not be immediately processed. It is usually a slightly challenging but fascinating experience.

Is it hard to switch from guitar to banjo?

If you can play the guitar, you need less effort to learn a banjo since both are string-plucked instruments. It may be unusual due to the smaller size of the last one and the lack of strumming; however, it is a matter of time.

Is a 6-string banjo played like a guitar?

A 6-string banjo is named a banjo guitar or a banjitar which is tuned similarly to a 6-string guitar. You can play on a 6-string banjo the same as on a regular guitar making new sounds with familiar chords.

What Is the Winner in the Fight Banjo vs. Guitar

Both of these instruments allow you to immerse yourself in music. However, the winner should be the one which makes you dance inside and out.
What instrument is more joyful and comfortable for you? Please share with us your favorite song!

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About the author

Country Music Singer, Tayo Reed, grow up listening to Country Music as a child in sweet home, "Alabama". "I am authentically a true country girl at heart. I have only desired to sing one style of music. I have never wavered, in spite of disappointments, delays, rejections, and detours."

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