Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Banjo vs guitar

I am currently trying to learn how to play the guitar. Been working on it for about 1 1/2 yrs… Just beginning to dabble in the intermediate lessons. I really am enjoying myself, but as you would expect, there’s a lot of discussion on the banjo on this site. My question is twofold. Is the banjo easier or more difficult to learn than the guitar, and is it a good idea or bad one for me to try banjo at this stage of my learning guitar? I really like the sound of the banjo and it looks like a lot of fun.

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Hey Earl! At the very least, you have the name down for banjo. :laughing:

I wouldn’t say banjo is any harder or easier than guitar. It’s just different. Yes, you have to learn to pick individual strings, but hen again, it’s tuned to open G, so that part is already done.

One good thing about learning another instrument is that you’ll have something to move over to if you get tired of the other. The theory you learn on one transposes to pretty much any instrument, too.

If you’re getting the itch, scratch it! Banjos are just flat out fun.


Do you find it hard to pick precisely and like playing melody? Those are two reasons that pointed me to banjo. I am left handed, and find it hard to flatpick on guitar, So play chords on guitar and melody on banjo. I enjoy playing both and find it hard to say which is easier, they are a bit different. You will have an easier time learning banjo because of your guitar playing.

Yep Mark, I do have the name…Thanks for the response. You make a lot of sense.

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This may inspire you more, I sure many of you have seen this.

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I am lefthanded also, that’s why I purchased a lefthanded guitar. I have better control and rhythm in the left hand. I enjoy fingerpicking on the guitar so banjo should be even more fun.

Thanks for the response.

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I think this video varies that some people can play the banjo and others can PLAY it…hahahha

I started guitar left handed, but didn’t get very far in the first year. I switched to right hand (so it was easier to learn) and was given my first tab my an instructor at our 4-H bluegrass club’s monthly meeting, and I took off. I have been happily playing right handed guitar, banjo, and mandolin since. Yeah, I can play Foggy Mountain Breakdown, but not like that!:cowboy_hat_face:


I would say, that there are so many different aspects to playing guitar and banjo, that there will be differing opinions on both sides.

Personally, for me, it much easier to play guitar with my right hand, (strumming, arpeggios, picking) than picking banjo. (in particular when playing rolls).

But, I find it much harder to play guitar with my left hand, (barre chords, long stretches, strings harder to press down and bend).

Whereas with banjo you have a much thinner neck, and it’s much easier to fret the strings. So much so, that I often will make my notes sharp by pressing too hard. You also have one less string to keep track of. :laughing:

So, to opine on part 2 of your question, I would say definitely do it. You may be pleasantly surprised at how much easier it is to fret the strings on a banjo.

Hope this is helpful.



Get that banjo! I’d been playing guitar about that long when I got my banjo, I’d actually say the banjo is easier, but that might be just me. It definitely depends on what you want to do with it, but either way you’re guitar playing will help immensely.

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All instruments are easy to play for fun and all instruments are hard to play/master well…

even the spoons are hard to play well

Get a banjo and you will never look back… :+1:

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It sounds like you’ve already made your decision - even if you haven’t come to terms with it yet :face_with_raised_eyebrow::smirk:

It is in you… Just waiting to be set free…

After the great advice on the your forum brethren, make the smart choice to call @Jake at the General Store so he can take good care of you with your new purchase!

EVERYONE: A new, “great banjo picker Earl” is re-born… and let me be the first to welcome you to the fold. :wink:

Good overall summary Jack (@Treblemaker) .

Didn’t you say that you have an MB-100 too? Maybe it is me… or maybe it is because I played electric (not accoustic - which I am guessing requires more finger-to-fret force)… But I don’t find my MB-100 very easy to press - especially up the neck.

I don’t know if you agree… but the strings up the neck seem so very high off the fretboard.

Anyway, @Lefty70, I think that… what makes answering this question a struggle is… whatever instrument one starts on (in MOST cases when a basic proficiency is reached) kinda determines how this will be answered.

On one side, having musical string instrument experience will be a big plus… as your acclamation time will be greatly reduced based on all the good reasons mentioned by others.

Conversely, the things that make banjo unique is what will make this a bit of a challenge… different chords, picking/rolling… and so forth.

It will just come down to interest and practice.

I am certain that this is the logical and boring answer… but I will say… Banjo (for me) is just a blast to practice… so time passes quickly!

Have fun…

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If I remember correctly, I had the nut filed to lower the action. I also bought some Gotoh tuners and had some adjustments made, so it turned into quite a great playing instrument.

Wow… Now that explains a lot - @Treblemaker !

May I inquire… how much did those types of adjustments cost?

I have a pretty awesome stringed dealer just up the road about 1 hour from where I live: Elderly Instruments, Lansing Michigan. They are pretty famous in these parts.

I would prefer to send it on to @Jake, but I don’t know if it is worth the time/trouble to go through all that?

I really think I am destined to get a RK or maybe a Deering Resonator sometime in my not-so-distant future… but of course, from the store! :wink:

I got my tuners from Smakula tuners in WV. His prices are really good. I paid about 65.00 for mine.

I had the the tuners installed, nut filed, the neck tightened, the bridge adjusted, and the head properly tightened for I believe around 50.00 or 60.00.