Fender Banjo

Hope to pick it up this weekend, $200 with a nice roadrunner gig bag… looks like they go for about $350 used + shipping on ebay… I want to learn how to play a little banjo.


In no time at all.:grin:


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I haven’t checked them out. I see this one has guitar-style tuners instead of the planetary sets that are typical on banjos, and that ain’t a good sign.

OTOH, Baldwin Piano bought the Ode banjo company back in the late sixties and in the early seventies they built a few banjos for Fender/CBS to sell under the F name. Those banjos were killer, but that didn’t last more than a decade. I’d guess any Fender banjos newer than 1985 are imports that may or may not be based on the Ode design.

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I’ve looked into this Banjo a little more… It’s a Fender Rustler banjo, seems Musician’s Friend had a one day sale selling them for $129 a few years ago but normally ran about $350. It’s open back with no resonator. It has good reviews and everyone says it stays in tune well. There’s one on ebay for $350 and one for $379… doesn’t mean anyone’s going to pay that much for it.

What do you think man, should I grab it or should I pass and wait for something more traditional? Really not looking to spend over $200 on one.

Hey, you want a $200 banjo any port in a storm I guess. This looks okay if ya just want something to plink around on.

What’s the drawback of it being open back and not having a resonator on it?

I was FB stalking an old high school bud, he was in some guitar shop(Apparently famous) in Nashville holding a very fancy vintage Banjo with a big grin on his face, his caption said, i fell in love but not $20,000.00 worth of love.

Aha, Carter’s Vintage Instruments, its 1932 Gibson RB-6 with a flat head tone ring, he offered $2000.00 they said $28k.


Not as loud or clangy. Open backs were the norm in the old days. Resonators became popular for the banjos in jazz bands and dance orchestras because of their greater power. And this continued into bluegrass music. For old timey mountain music and folk stuff, you still want an open back.

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Picked up this banjo today, I like it and it’s probably all the banjo I’ll ever need. Now to learn how to play some shit on it. I don’t think I’d want one with a resonator, this thing is plenty loud…


I can play the guitar part of DB. I have to tap out when it gets fast though.


For the record, Eric Weissberg stole DB from Arthur Smith, arranged it, and played the banjo for the movie soundtrack while his pal Steve Mandell played the guitar part. Smith later sued Warner Bros and collected a big check, plus they had to edit all the movie copies and give him credit.

@Starling…see my edit


Picking this up pretty quick, been playing it for an hour or two, or three every day. I’m finger picking but I’m not using the thumbpick and fingerpick things…

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Looks like banjo pretty much begins and ends with Earl Scruggs.


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Scruggs grew up just down the road from Maybelle Carter, where he also learned (probably from the same teacher who taught her) to play guitar in the style now known as “Carter Family” style.

Scruggs was very influential in developing the 3 finger style of banjo (at a time when bluegrass was becoming a specialized genre,) but Bill Keith among others would write the next chapter…and Bela Fleck, the chapter after that one.

And banjo has gone a lot of other directions, especially in roots music…you have to look into Abigail Washburn and Rhiannon Giddens too.

In Appalachian old time traditions, the banjo before and after Scruggs was usually played in the frailing or clawhammer styles, often in modal tunings. Dock Boggs, Erik Darling are important.

Spend some time on YT, don’t put all your eggs in that bluegrass basket man.



“…angular banjos, sound good to me”