How to Identify Your Fender Banjo Model: A Step-by-Step Guide

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If you’re a fan of Fender banjos and you want to know more about them, you’re in the right place. In this article, I’m going to provide a step-by-step guide on how to identify a Fender banjo model. Whether you’re a beginner looking to buy a banjo or an experienced collector interested in learning more about Fender banjos, this guide will help you learn all the essential details about various Fender banjo models.

What is a Fender Banjo?

What Is A Fender Banjo?

A Fender Banjo is an American-made stringed instrument that produces a bright, resonant sound. It is a four-string banjo with a round, open-back body and a fingerboard with twenty-two frets. It has a resonator that is either open-backed or has a hardwood or metal back. Fender Banjos are renowned for their bright tone and are used in many genres of music, including bluegrass, folk, country, and jazz.

Fender Banjos typically feature a Remo Weather King head, a maple neck, and a rosewood fingerboard. The head is the top surface of the banjo, where the strings are kept in tune. The maple neck is the long, straight piece of wood that connects the head to the body. The rosewood fingerboard is the flat surface of the neck on which the strings are fretted.

Fender Banjos come in a variety of styles, including the Standard, Deluxe, and Professional models. Each model has its own unique construction and sound. Here are some of the features of each model:

  • Standard: Features a standard 22-fret fingerboard, steel tension hoop, and a rosewood fingerboard.
  • Deluxe: Features a deluxe 22-fret fingerboard, chrome-plated tension hoop, and a rosewood fingerboard.
  • Professional: Features a professional 22-fret fingerboard, gold-plated tension hoop, and a rosewood fingerboard.

Identifying Fender Banjo Models

Identifying Fender Banjo Models

Fender banjos have been around since the early 1950s, and can range from beginner models to professional-level instruments. It can be difficult to identify a Fender banjo model since there are so many variations. However, there are some key characteristics to look for that can help you identify your banjo.

Serial Numbers

One of the most reliable methods to identify a Fender banjo is to look at the serial number. Serial numbers are typically located on the back of the headstock and can help you determine the year the instrument was manufactured. Fender banjos made before the mid-1970s usually have a three-digit serial number, while those made after that period will have a four-digit serial number.


The shape of the headstock is also a helpful indicator of a Fender banjo model. Fender banjos typically have a distinctive “V” shaped headstock with the Fender logo, although there are some exceptions.

Hardware and Finish

The type of hardware and finish of a Fender banjo can also help to identify the model. Most Fender banjos have chrome-plated hardware and a glossy finish, but some models also feature gold-plated hardware and a lacquer finish.

Types of Banjos

Fender offers a variety of banjo models, each with its own unique features. The following table describes some of Fender’s most popular banjo models.

Model Description
Fender American Standard Banjo This model features a mahogany body, rosewood fingerboard, and a gloss finish.
Fender Standard Banjo This model features a maple body, rosewood fingerboard, and a gloss finish.
Fender Deluxe Banjo This model features a maple body, ebony fingerboard, and a lacquer finish.

By looking at the serial number, headstock, hardware, and finish, you should be able to identify the model of your Fender banjo. If you are still unsure, you can always contact Fender for more information.

Serial Number

Serial Number
The serial number is one of the best ways to identify Fender banjo models. It is located on the back of the headstock, and is often the only way to accurately identify the model. It is usually a four-digit number, but some Fender banjos have a five-digit serial number. The serial number will not include letters, and will often include a dash between the first and second digits.

The first two digits of the serial number will represent the production year of the Fender banjo. It is important to note that Fender produced banjos for only a short period of time, from 1965 to 1972. As such, the year of production can be determined easily by the serial number.

The last two digits of the serial number can help to identify the specific model of the Fender banjo. The last two digits will usually correspond with the model number, for example, a banjo with a serial number of 6-4123 would likely be a Fender 6-4123.

It is important to note that there are some exceptions to this rule, as some models may have a different serial number format, or may not have a serial number at all. If the serial number is not present, it is still possible to identify the model by looking at the features and construction of the instrument.

Year of Manufacture

Year Model
1926-1928 TB-1
1928-1931 TB-2
1931-1934 TB-3
1934-1936 TB-4
1936-1941 TB-5
1941-1948 TB-6
1948-1953 TB-7
1953-1959 TB-8
1959-1964 TB-100
1964-1973 TB-200
1973-1979 TB-300

Fender banjo models can be identified by the year of manufacture. A table of years and models is provided below:

Model Number

Model Number

Fender banjos can be identified by their model numbers, which can be found stamped on the back of the peghead. The model number will provide the year the banjo was built and the type of banjo. The model number will consist of either 3 or 4 numbers, a hyphen, and one letter.

Model Year Type of Banjo
010-4 1969 4-string banjo
500-5 1963 5-string banjo
800-6 1965 6-string banjo

Different Models of Fender Banjos

Different Models Of Fender Banjos

Fender has been producing a variety of banjos since the 1960s. The most popular models are the Fender Standard, Fender Deluxe, Fender Artist, and Fender Concert. Each of these models has its own set of features, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with each one before making a purchase.

The Fender Standard is the most basic model, and it features a mahogany neck and resonator, rosewood fingerboard, and chrome-plated hardware. It’s a great choice for beginners, as it’s both simple and affordable.

The Fender Deluxe is the next step up from the Standard, and it has a few more features. It has a maple neck and resonator, as well as an ebony fingerboard. It also has a unique “blend” tone ring, which gives it a more complex sound.

The Fender Artist is the top-of-the-line model, and it has a mahogany neck and resonator, ebony fingerboard, and a unique “blend” tone ring. It also has a unique “custom” tailpiece, which helps give it a distinctive sound.

Finally, the Fender Concert is the most expensive model, and it has a mahogany neck and resonator, ebony fingerboard, and a unique “blend” tone ring. It also has a unique “Concert” tailpiece, which helps give it a more complex sound.

Overall, each of these models has its own unique features, and it’s important to understand the differences between them before making a purchase. Once you’ve figured out which model is right for you, you’ll be ready to start playing.



Model Features
FB-58 Maple wood body, 24-bracket tension hoop, ebony fingerboard
FB-59 Mahogany wood body, 24-bracket tension hoop, rosewood fingerboard
FB-60 Mahogany wood body, 28-bracket tension hoop, rosewood fingerboard
FB-65 Mahogany wood body, 28-bracket tension hoop, ebony fingerboard

Fender’s Standard series of banjos has four models, FB-58, FB-59, FB-60, and FB-65. The FB-58 is made of maple wood and has a 24-bracket tension hoop and an ebony fingerboard. The FB-59 has a mahogany wood body, 24-bracket tension hoop and a rosewood fingerboard. The FB-60 is also made of mahogany wood and has a 28-bracket tension hoop and a rosewood fingerboard. The FB-65 has a mahogany wood body, 28-bracket tension hoop and an ebony fingerboard.



Banjo Model Features
Deluxe The Deluxe model comes with a maple neck and resonator, two-piece flange, and a rosewood fingerboard with a block inlay pattern. It also has a chrome-plated armrest and tailpiece, and a chrome-plated Grover tuners.



  • Produced by Gibson in the 1920s.
  • Can be identified by its “Mastertone” label on the back of the peghead.
  • Has a flathead tonering, with an engraved “Mastertone” logo.
  • Features a maple neck, maple resonator, and a mahogany rim.
  • Has a traditional shape with a flat-top headstock, round back and full-length resonator.
  • Has a 20-fret fingerboard, with a 12-inch radius.
  • Comes with a one-piece flange and a tension hoop.
  • Includes a set of geared tuners and a two-piece armrest.


In some cases, a professional luthier or a guitar technician might be able to help identify the model of your fender banjo. They are usually well-versed in the various models and should be able to identify it with a visual inspection. If you are unable to determine the model on your own, it is best to consult a professional for help.



  • Fender produced the Artist model of banjo in the 1960s.
  • These banjos are identified by their “Artist” peghead inlay.
  • The Artist model banjo is a five-string instrument.
  • It has a shallow-depth, round-back resonator, and a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard.
  • The Artist model banjo has a single-coil pickup and a chrome-plated armrest.
  • The Artist model banjo is most easily identified by its distinctive “Artist” peghead inlay.


The signature is one of the most important identifiers for a Fender banjo. It is usually located on the peghead or the back of the headstock and can be easily seen. It is a combination of letters, numbers and symbols that identifies the model of the banjo. Different Fender banjos have different signatures, so it is important to compare the signature of the banjo in question with known Fender banjo signatures to make sure it is a genuine Fender banjo.

How to Read a Fender Banjo Serial Number

How To Read A Fender Banjo Serial Number

Fender banjos have serial numbers printed on the back of the headstock. This serial number helps to identify the model of the banjo. To read the serial number, you need to determine the type of banjo it is. The serial numbers are usually a combination of letters and numbers.

Fender banjos made between 1965 and 1976 have an eight-digit serial number that begins with a number. The first two digits indicate the year of manufacture. The following six digits are the sequence number.

Fender banjos made between 1976 and 1982 have a nine-digit serial number. The first three digits are the model number. The fourth digit is the series number, and the last five digits are the sequence number.

Fender banjos made from 1982 onward have a ten-digit serial number. The first three digits are the model number. The fourth digit is the series number, and the last six digits are the sequence number.

To determine the model of a Fender banjo, look up the serial number in the Fender banjo model database. The database contains detailed information on each model of Fender banjo, including the serial number range and the year of manufacture.

Fender Banjo Parts

Fender Banjo Parts

Part Description
Head Typically made of either plastic or calfskin, the head is the area of the banjo that vibrates to produce sound.
Neck Usually made of maple, the neck of the banjo is what holds the strings and frets.
Tailpiece The tailpiece is a metal device at the end of the banjo that holds the end of the strings.
Bridge The bridge is a wooden piece that attaches to the head of the banjo. It holds the strings and transmits the sound of the strings to the head.
Tuners Tuners are used to adjust the tension of the strings to ensure the banjo is in tune.

Fender banjos also feature a resonator, which is a metal disc-shaped piece designed to project the sound of the banjo. All Fender banjos also have a pickguard, which is a plastic protective piece that is attached to the head of the banjo. Finally, Fender banjos feature a truss rod, which is a metal rod that runs the length of the neck and is used to adjust the action of the strings.

Where to Find Fender Banjo Parts

Where To Find Fender Banjo Parts

  • Fender’s official website: Fender offers a wide range of parts and accessories for their banjos on their website.
  • Online retailers: There are a number of online retailers that offer aftermarket Fender banjo parts.
  • Guitar shops: Many guitar shops carry a selection of Fender banjo parts.
  • Ebay: Ebay is a great place to find used and vintage Fender banjo parts.
  • Vintage stores: Vintage stores often carry a selection of Fender banjo parts.

Fender Banjo Setup and Maintenance

To get the most out of your Fender banjo, it is important to keep it properly set up and maintained. This includes changing strings, adjusting the neck, changing the bridge, adjusting the head tension, and checking the tuning pegs.

When changing strings, start by removing the strings from the bridge and tuning pegs. Make sure the strings are wound properly on the tuning pegs and the bridge. Once all the strings are replaced, tune the instrument carefully.

Adjusting the neck of the banjo is an important step in keeping it in tune. To do this, use an Allen wrench to loosen the truss rod nut. Turn the truss rod until the neck is properly straightened. This will also affect the intonation of the instrument.

The bridge of the banjo is also important to adjust. Use a ruler to measure the distance between the strings and the bridge. If the strings are too close to the bridge, the tone will be dull. If the strings are too far away, the tone will be too bright. Adjust the bridge to get the desired sound.

Head tension is also important for the banjo to sound its best. To adjust the head tension, use a tuning key to tighten or loosen the head bolts. When the head is tight, the instrument will produce a richer sound.

Finally, check the tuning pegs for any signs of wear and tear. If the tuning pegs are worn, replace them with new ones. This will ensure that your Fender banjo remains in tune.

With these simple steps, you can keep your Fender banjo in top shape and get the best sound out of it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some key features to look for when attempting to identify a Fender banjo model?

System: Look for the number of strings (4, 5, or 6) and the type of tuning system (open back or resonator).
Head: Identify the type of head material (wood, plastic, or metal) and the number of lugs (2, 4, or 6).
Neck: Check for the number of frets (19 or 21) and the shape of the neck (V or U).
Hardware: Look for the type of tailpiece (armrest or no-knot) and the type of bridge (Fender-style or standard).
Finish: Examine the type of finish (gloss or satin) and the color (natural, sunburst, or sparkle).

How do I tell the difference between a Fender banjo and a banjo made by a different manufacturer?

Independent of the model, Fender banjos have a few telltale signs that distinguish them from other manufacturers. First, the headstock of a Fender banjo is usually adorned with the Fender “spaghetti” logo. Other distinguishing characteristics include the shape of the neck, the placement of the neck joint, the shape of the body and the type of tuners. Additionally, Fender banjos often have unique features, such as a special fretboard inlay, an adjustable truss rod, and a unique bridge setup.

Are There Any Resources Available to Help Me Accurately Identify a Fender Banjo Model?

Yes, there are numerous online resources available to help you accurately identify a Fender banjo model. Websites such as The Fender Banjo Guide and Fender Banjo Serial Numbers provide information on the different models and serial numbers to help you identify the exact banjo you are looking for. Additionally, some online retailers have dedicated sections to help you find the right model.

What information should I keep in mind when researching a Fender banjo model?

When researching a Fender banjo model, look for serial numbers, production dates and construction details. Familiarize yourself with the different body styles and neck shapes. Check for visible signs of wear and tear that can help identify the age of a banjo. Additionally, look for any original paperwork or tags that might come with the banjo and can help in the identification process. Finally, research the model name and compare it against the features to confirm the identity of the Fender banjo.

Are there any differences between Fender banjos made in different years?

Fender banjos have seen changes in design over the years. While the basic features of each model remain the same, there are slight differences between banjos made at different times. For instance, a Fender banjo made in the 1970s may have a different headstock shape than one made in the 2000s. Additionally, Fender banjos from the 1950s and later may have different tuners or hardware than those made in the earlier years. Comparing different models of Fender banjo can help to identify the year in which a banjo was made.


Identifying a Fender banjo model is a straightforward process that requires you to look at the banjo’s serial number, headstock, and body shape. With the help of Fender’s online database and resources, you can easily identify the exact model and year of your banjo. Knowing the model and year of your banjo will help you find replacement parts and accessories, as well as determine the instrument’s worth.


About the author

Hi there! I’m Jack Little – an avid country music fan with tons of live country performances in the past. I used to play banjo in a country band with my best friend John Peters, who’s a true country harmonica master. Those were great years and I’m still mastering new banjo playing techniques, writing my own country songs and lyrics, and collecting banjos!

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