Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Guitar to banjo

I’ve always been intrigued by the sound of banjos but have never attempted to learn to play one. Should someone who enjoys fingerstyle guitar be able to learn to play banjo fairly easily or is it a totally different animal. I literally know nothing about banjos other than I enjoy listening to others play them.


I think that will give you a great advantage/foundation to start on. And welcome!

Yes, playing fingerstyle guitar makes banjo WAY easier

Hi Scott Welcome to @BanjoBen 's Forum. I am not a guitar player so take this advice with a pinch of salt. I think there are some advantages but I think the banjo is a tricky instrument to learn to play and can be frustrating for many particularly Scruggs Style. I have read stories over on the BHO where guitar players have said they struggled to learn banjo. The only way your going to find out is to sit down and give it a try. One thing is for sure your in the best place to learn.

Hi Scott

I’ve only been playing 5 string banjo for around 4 months and I also came from years off playing keyboards and guitar both to an average level TBH and what i have found is that having that experience and musical knowhow will give you a good foundation in timing and dexterity that most total beginners will take a lot longer to grasp

My advice would be to take things slowly and don’t jump to the next lesson without fully understanding the great concepts that Ben lays down especially the Rolls Lessons as they are the building blocks to develop your playing

You will get hooked as we all are and it’s a great instrument to learn and this community will help you along the way like they are with me

Rome… like learning any instrument wasn’t built in a day so set yourself goals like i have and take things slowly or you will get frustrated wanting to play faster but speed comes with practice…

Good luck with your journey and remember that we are all here to help and one of the best ways is to get some Videos uploaded so we can see your ability/technique and advice better

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Great advice.

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Welcome to the forum Scott. I don’t know if playing finger style guitar makes it easier to learn banjo but for me, I think playing banjo makes it easier to learn finger style guitar.


Welcome Scott! Lots of great advise above this one. With your experience, you should make a good transition to Banjo playing I would think. You didn’t mention it, but if you play true fingerstyle guitar, there might be a transition period to get used to wearing fingerpicks I would think. One thing I’ve noticed in my own playing, is that the skills I learn on one instrument, actually do carry over to a different instrument (banjo to guitar or visa vers), so I would expect you to be able to quickly transition to a banjo more quickly than had you no experience. Good luck and Happy Picking!!

I can confirm this. I didn’t try for long, but the new hardware made me feel like Edward Scissorhands. Or if that reference is lost, maybe Freddy Krueger trying to do a puzzle?

The nice thing is that you have solid guidance here on proper fitting and use. I was just wandering on my own, and that is probably why I relatively quickly gave up on banjo. One of these years, I’ll give it another go.


Welcome to the forum, @scottandj ! Yes it will help you, but there are big differences that you will have to overcome, especially if you’re a classical player.

  1. You only use 3 fingers with banjo, while up to 5 with guitar.
  2. You anchor your pinky or pinky/ring on banjo, while most classical guitar guys do not.
  3. Learn to drool while you play.

Hey @BanjoBen I have yet to learn this. Care to suggest a lesson where you demonstrate this skill?

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It’s about intense concentration Archie…maybe you’re not concentrating hard enough…

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You could be onto something there Dave. Droolin Banjo’s Perhaps

I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to towel off my bnajo or fiddle after an intense moment :roll_eyes:

Brass players have the same problem. That’s why my trumpet came equipped with a so-called “spit-valve”. :joy:

I’ve had some experience with trombone & French horn…I can relate.

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It can be done. My buddy has been doing both since the early 80’s or longer with an equally polished sound on both instruments. If you’v Learned patience and perseverance than the love of music will push you through. If you love the instrument it will eventually love you back.


Thanks for the detailed response Lee. Much appreciated. I will keep my eyes open for a used starter banjo and take the leap. Vr. Scott

Thanks for the feedback Ben. I am an anchor the pinky kind of fingerstyle player. I will keep my eyes open for a used starter banjo in my area and take the leap when I source one. If it is something I find I have an aptitude for I’ll be seeking your advice on a next level banjo from the general store. Thanks for creating a website that provides amazing support for us wannabe musicians. God bless. Vr. Scott

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Your input is much appreciated Archie. Many thanks. Vr, Scott

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