Today we review the Oscar Schmidt OB5 5-String Banjo, which is a reasonably priced banjo with tons of accessories that make it perfect for a beginner to start learning the instrument right away. Even if you’re a seasoned player, you’ll enjoy the sweet sounds of this banjo as well as the beauty of the wood and the inlay.
Specifications for the Oscar Schmidt OB5 5-String Banjo
- Closed back
- Inlay rosewood fret board
- Nato neck
- Geared 5th string tuner
- Gig bag
- Accessories included
Oscar Schmidt Inc.
The company has been making stringed instruments since the late 1800s, but weren’t formally incorporated until 1911. The instruments that Oscar and Otto Schmidt manufactured were sold door-to-door until 1965. The instruments were made for amateurs and beginners to learn on, and the company created them for family entertainment for the time before radio and television. The company was purchased by U.S. Music Corporation, and they still make ukuleles, banjos, guitars, and basses. Here’s a fun fact: they make Autoharps, and the name Autoharp is owned by the company, too.
First Impressions of the OB5
This banjo is an incredible value for the money. For less than $300, you’re getting this stunning looking banjo that plays beautifully. That would be enough to justify the pure excitement of this price, but the banjo comes with a gig bag and other accessories, too. There’s inlay work on this banjo that makes it almost too pretty to play. You’ll want to hang it on the wall and admire it, but you’d be missing out on the sweet sounds it produces.
Required Setup for Banjos
Every banjo that is delivered from an online source has to be adjusted once it arrives. There’s no way to send a stringed instrument in a box with it properly tuned and the bridge in place. You’d end up with a pile of kindling when you open the box. The banjo comes with a clip-on tuner, but if you’re unfamiliar with the act of tuning and fixing the banjo, you can bring it to a musician you know or a local instrument shop. They’ll be able to do all the work for you. It’s something you can attempt yourself with the right video instruction, too. The choice is yours, but if you lack the confidence or don’t want to ruin your banjo, bring it to a professional.
The banjo is a mixture of rich wood from the mahogany back to the nato neck. There’s stunning inlay along the fret board, neck, and headstock. The back is made of rosewood fret board has multiple inlays that give this banjo a gorgeous blue marble design with the rich, red wood. The white head, reddish brown wood parts and the inlay design of blue are a subtle red, white, and blue of the U.S.
Resonator or Open Back on the Oscar Schmidt OB5 5-String Banjo
There’s a sound difference between a banjo with a resonator and one with an open back. If you’re a beginner, you might not know what your preference is yet, but most banjos with a resonator have brackets that make them removable. The OB5 has a mahogany resonator on the back of the banjo. While you’re learning, you can leave the resonator on the back. Have a music store help you if you want to remove the resonator at a later date.
Once you’re at a level where you want to perform for an audience, you’ll need a bag to carry your banjo. You don’t want to stuff any banjo into the back of a car or truck with other equipment unless it’s protected. Any stringed instrument that’s not protected can become easily out of tune, the strings could break, or the bridge could become dislodged. The bag included with this banjo is a padded canvas bag that will protect the banjo as long as it’s not banged around too much. If you plan on doing a lot of traveling with it and other equipment, it might be a good idea to invest in a hard case for your banjo.
We’ve mentioned the clip-on tuner and the gig bag, but there’s more that comes with this banjo. It comes with a strap, so you can stand and hold your banjo while you’re practicing. Standing while you learn and practice will make it easier to step onto a stage or perform for a group of people. Along with the strap, the banjo comes with extra strings in case one of the originals breaks. There’s also a polishing cloth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this a right handed or left handed banjo?
This is a right handed banjo.
Can the resonator be removed?
It’s best to bring this to a professional music shop if you want to have the resonator removed.
This Oscar Schmidt OB5 5-String Banjo has a bunch of accessories you’ll need to play this banjo right out of the box. There’s a tuner, strings, strap, and a bag. It’s a beautiful, well-constructed banjo that’s great for a beginner as well as a more seasoned banjo player.