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What are plectrum banjos?

Plectrum banjos are 4-string instruments that are often associated with Jazz or Ragtime. If you compared a plectrum banjo to a 5-string banjo at first you may not notice any differences. Both have the same scale length, head size, and fret count. They even have the same strings! Of course, one banjo is short a string – the plectrum. Often you’ll hear plectrum players strumming chords like a guitar. In fact, some players tune this instrument like a guitar which is called “Chicago tuning” and use a guitar pick to play it. This instrument is versatile and quite different from its 5-string cousin.

While plectrums and tenors are similar, the main difference is that the tenor banjo is shorter in scale length than the plectrum banjo and the plectrum banjo is the same scale as the 5 string banjo, but played with a flat pick. The traditional tuning for a plectrum banjo is C, G, B, D.

Made in USA

Featuring a resonator, this banjo will be louder and brighter than its openback sister the Goodtime Plectrum.

Made in USA

The Goodtime Special Plectrum banjo features a steel tone ring and a resonator. These features give this banjo a bright, crisp, tone that are great for cutting through when playing acoustically with a traditional jazz band.

Made in USA

For Traditional Jazz, or for guitar players, the Boston Plectrum is an easy instrument to play with a lighter weight than the higher end banjos, it's durable and has a good tone.

Made in USA

Featuring the patented Twenty-Ten tone ring, this plectrum banjo rings clearly and brightly - yet never harshly. Played by Scotty Morris of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

Made in USA

All of the features that make the Deering Sierra our most popular series packed into a plectrum banjo.

Made in USA

A melodic banjo played with a pick, for a bright crisp tone, the Maple Blossom Plectrum banjo is enjoyed in all styles of music.It provides a bright crisp tone with good bass response and easy fingering with a comfortable neck.

Made in USA

A premium quality, world class plectrum banjo that is appreciated for its crisp tone with great highs and distinctive bass response.

Made in USA

The Bob Shane Plectrum banjo is a professional grade banjo made beautifully figured natural koa wood buffed to a high gloss. It has a genuine Deering made Vega Tubaphone tone ring made of brass for outstanding quality of tone and projection.

The best deal on top plectrum banjos models

We offer the best prices on a small selection of quality American-made plectrum banjos. Most beginners who decide to start with a 4-string banjo will choose the Deering Goodtime 2 Plectrum mainly due to its price point. Advanced players looking to add another higher-end model banjo to their collection will go with something like the Deering Sierra Plectrum which is a very popular model based on the Deering Sierra. The banjo features a Deering -06- bell bronze tone ring and mahogany neck and rim. It’s a best-seller that won’t disappoint. If you are looking for something with a crisper tone and deeper bass response, you’ll want to take a look at the Deering Calico Plectrum. All the features of the Calico 5-string banjo packed into a 4-string model.

We make buying a banjo easy

Since 2003 we have been offering quality banjos at the lowest prices possible. We even offer a low-price guarantee. We’ll match any reasonable offer on comparable instruments. If you run into any issues with your banjo we have a return policy. Be sure to check out our 5-star testimonials to out your mind at ease before purchasing.

We know banjos’s owner, Barry Waldrep, is a life-long musician who plays many instruments and spent decades on the road traveling with well-known musicians like The Zac Brown Band and Randy Travis. He’s easy to talk to and can answer any banjo related question you throw at him.

Buy with confidence

Before we ship any banjo, we do a professional set up and inspection. We play the instrument and listen for vibrations. When we are happy with the sound, we carefully pack the instrument. You’ll get express free shipping if you live in the Continental U.S. and when your banjo arrives it is ready to play!

Finance a plectrum banjo

We’ve partnered with a third-party company to provide our customers with low interest rate financing. Simply choose this option at checkout to get low monthly payments.