We Review 5 of the Best Five-String Banjos Under $500

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We review the 5 best five-string banjos under $500. While one is under $500, the rest are closer to $300, but they’re all inexpensive and an incredible value for the price. They’re all made of the most stunning woods as well as having shiny parts and sweet sounds.

Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo

This Deering banjo was created by a couple who have been in the banjo industry for over 40 years. They make a limited number of instruments each year. This fact lets them concentrate on every instrument that is built by their banjo specialists. This is a lovely banjo that looks simple and unadorned with an open back and thin profile, but it has a quality sound.


  • Beautiful maple construction
  • Instrument length 37 ½ inches
  • 6-year warranty
  • Sealed geared 5th string
  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable tailpiece

The lightweight banjo means that it’s great for everyone who wants to pick up the instrument to learn. The neck and rim are both maple. The neck is rock maple while the rim is 3-ply maple. This inexpensive banjo gives beginners a great instrument to start their musical career, or gives the seasoned player an inexpensive banjo to use for a variety of gigs.

Check out our full review of the Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo

Jameson 5-String Banjo

This is another banjo from a company that is well-known in the field. They want every musician to have an instrument that fits their needs. It’s created with a mixture of mahogany wood and maple delivered with a high-gloss sheen to it. Each instrument is built with care whether it’s an expensive model for professional players or a beginner instrument for those just picking up the banjo.


  • Mahogany resonator
  • Geared 5th string tuner
  • Adjustable, hinged tailpiece
  • Nickel-plated armrest

This particular banjo has a mahogany resonator with 24 thumb-screw brackets. The resonator and neck are built from beautiful mahogany and 7-ply maple. This is a full-scale banjo that works for many players. The neck is slim for easy playing. It weighs approximately 9 pounds, which is a good size and weight for many players who want a substantial instrument in their hands.

Check out our review of the Jameson 5-String Banjo

Pyle 5-String Geared Tunable Banjo

This company brought banjos into their product line after emerging as a wireless microphone and PA system manufacturer. It’s not hard to imagine that they understand how important sound is for music. They create banjos like this one with a terrific tone that can be used in a variety of musical genres from folk to bluegrass.


  • Geared 5th tuner
  • Adjustable truss rod
  • Lightweight
  • Incredible tone
  • Premium wood construction
  • Resonator

The fretboard is rosewood while the bridge is maple. The body of the banjo is a lovely Shabili wood. This is an inexpensive banjo that can be taken on the road to play with friends or take it camping with you to play around the fire. It’s light and has a slim profile, so anyone could easily begin learning on this banjo.

Check out our review of the Pyle 5-String Banjo

Martin Smith BJ001 5-String Guitar Banjo

This banjo is an inexpensive option for those who want a unique sound. This banjo can be tuned like a guitar. If you’re transitioning from a guitar to the banjo, you’ll appreciate these features as you get used to playing a new instrument. You’ll get a banjo sound with the feel of a guitar.


  • Two-way truss rod
  • Mahogany construction
  • Remo skin head
  • Carry bag included
  • 5th peg tuning
  • Resonator

The resonator back will make this banjo a louder version of a banjo you might play that has an open back. This is a beautiful instrument that’s inexpensive for someone transitioning from guitar to this stringed instrument. When you’re ready to venture into playing in public, the banjo comes with a padded carrying bag.

Check out our review of the Martin Smith 5-String Banjo

Oscar Schmidt OB5 5-String Banjo

This company has been making stringed instruments for decades. They were incorporated as a business in 1911, and they even sold instruments door to door with salesmen. For less than $300, this incredible banjo with beautiful inlay will make you feel like a professional musician even if you’re an amateur who is just learning.


  • Resonator
  • Nato neck
  • Inlay rosewood fret board
  • Padded carrying bag
  • Accessories

This banjo and its accessories are a great value, but more than that, it’s a banjo that is beautifully made and has a great sound. There’s even a clip-on tuner included, so you can ensure that you’re always in tune. It’s made of rich mahogany, nato for the neck as well as a rosewood fret board with stunning inlay.

Check out our full review of the Oscar Schmidt 5-String Banjo

These 5 best 5-string banjos can turn you from an admiring listener of banjo to a player who will be admired yourself. Imagine yourself around the campfire playing the banjo for your friends on your next camping trip. You’ll be the life of the party!

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