Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Can you transition from Guitar to Banjo, or is it plain wrong?


Jason here. I have played guitar for about 20 years. I currently play electric in church and acoustic for unplugged sessions on Wed nights lol. I am really interested in learning the banjo. I love the flat picking guitar lessons on this site and the banjo ones seem really fun. I know there new techniques to learn, but my main question is will starting to play banjo totally mess me up on guitar. I’m concerned I will pick up the guitar for church after playing banjo and be lost like I was in Algebra class. Should I just stick to the flat picking guitar lessons? I’m sure some of you have tried this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
God Bless- Jason


By all means add banjo!! The more the merrier, and usually the new instrument will help you improve on guitar (except that you’ll be spending more time playing banjo very soon)


No way, you’ll do great on banjo and it will actually HELP your guitar playing!


If it’s wrong I don’t wanna be right. :wink:


For what it’s worth, I must disagree with Ben and tell you flat out that learning the banjo will totally ruin your guitar playing. Oh sure,you might still be able to hit all those “geetar” chords and do the Lester Flatt G run, but you won’t want to since it doesn’t sound like a banjo!
Soon your guitar will be cruising Craig’s List or eBay looking for a new home while your fingers fly & your banjo rings loud & proud across the fruited plains!

As a Beginner, that is my expert advice.


Thank you. I appreciate the feedback



Jason, do yourself a huge favor and learn to play the banjo!!! I’ve been playing guitar for 12+ years and just picked up the banjo 3 months ago. Your brain will be able to switch back and forth. Learning a new instrument will seriously make you better at guitar, I promise. Plus, with the knowledge of music and stringed instruments you already have, you’ll have a head start on anything you want to pick up. DO IT!!!


I am sure you can do it!



Really? That’s your concern?! Your worried about messing up your guitar playing?! Not that it could mess up your entire life, possibly never finding a girlfriend (or any friend except another banjo player). Maybe never getting accepted into a college or finding a job. Getting married, having a family and possibly even being shunned from your own family?!?! What will your Pastor think?!?! Your dog might even run off!!!

I’m just funnin with you Jason! If you’re interested, you should give it a try! Stevens.joshuat is absolutely right… Learning a new instrument will make you better at guitar or any instrument you play. It sounds weird but it’s true.

Give it a try… and God Bless you too!



I think the more ways that you can approach learning anything, the better you will learn. You can approach music from an infinite number of angles, both instrumentally and vocally. The more ways you can engage your mind and the more neural paths you can create the better. I just bought a Roland FP-10 keyboard to add to my guitar (main instrument of choice) and banjo (new instrument this year) and I love the variety of ways these 3 very different instruments give me to approach music. Sometimes something clicks for me in one place/instrument, and I can take it a different place/instrument.

Same thing applies even within an instrument. Last night I was playing some of my oldies on the guitar (before I found flat picking and @BanjoBen) and I started cross-picking (technique I am learning here) the song Time in a Bottle, which I’ve always finger picked. It was a fun “cross over” so to speak for me. Applying a new technique to an old standby. Very fun.

So maybe think of taking up the banjo as cross-training in your musical world, it will be a great thing!


I’m glad to see this. I’ve been learning guitar for a while and just picked up a mandolin. :slight_smile:


If I could ask a similar question. I initially thought I would start the beginner guitar and banjo track together. I ended up just doing the Banjo track this past year and am really happy with the progress. The focus has been good for me. Should I finish the beginner banjo track before I re-start the beginner guitar track? I suspect each person is different but just wondering what folks thoughts were on that.

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banjitar or ganjo is that the way forward :wink::wink::wink::wink:

Not for Purists I feel :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Brent I am a guitar player and bought a mandolin earlier this year intending to work through the beginner track here. As I continued on the guitar too I made a couple of breakthroughs (Cabin Camp was a big help) and was so happy about it that I spend most of my time on the guitar! The mandolin is still there and I’ll get to it when it’s time to get to it - I’m having too much fun on guitar right now!



It’s a lot of fun to play both, but finding time to practice both is just plain tough! I will get into guitar mode for a while then a banjo mode for a while and it seems like I loose a lot on the other instrument when I do that.


I have played classical guitar (Renaissance/Baroque) for over 40 years. I took the banjo up about 5-6 years ago now. You will love playing the banjo. It’s such a unique experience and it just makes you happy. I haven’t had any issues. I did solely focus on the banjo for several years as I love the jamming, whereas my guitar was always solo. I retired a year ago and got back into my guitar again. And with Covid and no jamming it was a nice retreat, and I still am doing it. That being said, I will play guitar one day and banjo the next. Long winded essay to say-go for it!!