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What are tenor banjos?

Tenor banjos are shorter necked with 17 “short scale” or 19 frets typically played with a plectrum. The tenor banjo was a popular rhythm instrument in the early 20th-century dance bands. These banjos have 4-strings and became popular with Irish banjo players in the 1920’s – which is why these banjos are often referred to an Irish tenor. The dance halls in Ireland and New York City were the starting point of the tenor banjo we know today. If you are hoping to create these Irish dance hall sounds then the Deering Sierra 17 Fret Irish Tenor is a great choice. Tenor banjos are also commonly played in traditional New Orleans jazz. The Deering Boston 19-Fret Tenor Banjo is a great choice if going more for the traditional New Orleans jazz style.

The tenor banjo has widely spaced chords that are easier to play than plectrum banjo’s conventional tuning. Tenor banjos are smaller and lighter weight, making them convenient to stay sitting right by your favorite chair or travel with for pick up jam sessions. The Artisan Goodtime Two 17-Fret Tenor embodies that iconic banjo sound even with its lighter weight.

Made in USA
$489.00

It is a delight to play with its short scale fretboard, slim neck and light weight body. he shorter 17 fret neck reduces the length of the entire banjo to just 32 inches end to end.

Made in USA
$749.00

A beautiful 17 fret tenor banjo that features a rich brown stain, planetary tuners, and a Midnight Maple fingerboard.

Made in USA
$749.00

A beautiful 19 fret tenor banjo that features a rich brown stain, planetary tuners, and a Midnight Maple fingerboard.

Sale!
Made in USA
$1,179.00 $1,049.00

With a resonator back for projection, the American made Artisan Goodtime Two banjo has a 3-ply violin grade maple rim and produces a bright and clear tone that projects well and is louder than its open back counterpart. The Artisan Two is enhanced with a rich brown stain and white detailing.

Sale!
Made in USA
$1,389.00 $1,249.00

The vintage look and vibrant tone of the patented Goodtime Special tone ring set this banjo apart, as clearly louder than the Goodtime Two and great for playing in a band setting. A great looking American made banjo that features a tone ring, resonator, & Midnight Maple fingerboard.

Made in USA
$2,088.00

Only 7 lbs, the Little Wonder banjo is a traditional style instrument, with a sweetness and purity of tone that gives both the professional and beginning banjoist a fabulous sounding banjo that is light, fast and easy to play.

Sale!
Made in USA
$2,399.00 $2,159.00

A great recording tenor banjo with resonator for sound projection, the Boston 19 fret tenor works for dixieland jazz, traditional jazz, or any style you like to play.

Sale!
Made in USA
$2,399.00 $2,159.00

A great recording tenor banjo with resonator for sound projection, the Boston 17-fret tenor works for Irish, traditional jazz, or any style you like to play.

Made in USA
$2,400.00$2,699.00

The Deering Sierra banjo, while being our least expensive completely professional banjo, is truly the flagship of our entire line!

Made in USA
$2,699.00

Irish Tenor banjos have the shorter 17 fret neck for a brighter, snappier sound. The Sierra 17-fret tenor has our professional -06- bronze tone ring and you get all the most important features that affect the tone and playability at an economical price.

Made in USA
$4,409.00

The Maple Blossom tenor banjo is a professional grade 19-fret tenor banjo made of maple with quick response from the shallower air chamber, bright highs, and good bass response that is fast and easy to play!

Made in USA
$4,859.00

A premium quality, world class tenor banjo that is appreciated for its crisp tone with great highs and distinctive bass response. The beautiful highs and powerful well rounded bass is the result of intense study of alloys and shapes resulting in superb sound.

Sale!
Made in USA
$7,499.00 $6,499.00

The famous Vega Pie Back Resonator projects the tone of this 19 fret Vega Professional Tenor banjo. Greg Deering re-created the process for making the pie back resonator of the excellent professional grade Tenor banjo.

Made in USA
$8,699.00

A maple prewar style tenor banjo, the Golden Classic 19-Fret tenor banjo is a banjo made of higher quality materials and workmanship.


The best selection of tenor banjos

We carry the internet’s largest collection of tenor banjos. We carry the Vega Little Wonder 17 Fret Tenor – an excellent tenor banjo for a beginner, but we also have high-end models such as the Deering Sierra 17 Fret Irish Tenor. We also carry tenor banjo cases and gig bags that will keep your tenor banjo from getting damaged.
 

Tenor Banjo Tunings

Tenor banjo players usually choose one of two tunings, Irish tenor banjo tuning (GDAE) or traditional tenor banjo tuning (CGDA). The traditional tenor (CGDA) banjo tuning is most popular is traditional jazz and works well for both strumming or melody tunes. Our Deering Boston 17-Fret Tenor Banjo is tuned in fifths, (CGDA) and is easily fingered by mandolin or violin players because the chord fingering is the same.
 
Although CGDA is the standard tuning for a tenor banjo, the majority of people playing tenor banjos are most likely using the GDAE tuning because of its popularity in Irish music. Our Deering Sierra 17-Fret Irish Tenor can be tuned in either tuning option.
 
With GDAE tuning, popular folk music keys like G, D, C, and A are easy to play. You also get a lower range than CGDA, with a nice growl on the low G string. This has made it popular beyond Irish music, especially with mandolin players looking for a different sound. While the traditional jazz (CGDA) or Irish (GDAE) tunings are most commonly played there are a few others: Chicago tuning (DGBE) or plectrum tunings (CGBD or DAEB).
 

The best deal on tenor banjos

Banjo.com offers the best prices on tenor banjos. Whether you are looking for a beginner tenor banjo like the Goodtime 17 Fret Tenor Banjo or Artisan Goodtime 17-Fret or 19-Fret Tenor or a high end Vega Professional 19-Fret Tenor, we offer the best deal. The Deering Maple Blossom 19-Fret Tenor offers a professional grade banjo in an affordable price range with quick response from the shallower air chamber, bright highs, and good bass response that is fast and easy to play! With choices in the Mahogany or Maple the Deering Sierra 19-Fret Tenor is our least expensive completely professional banjo.
 

Finance a tenor banjo

Get low interest rates and affordable monthly payments when you finance your tenor banjo using our third-party financing partner.