In this article I’ll give you some recommendations for what I think are the best 6 string banjos out there. A 6 string banjo (sometimes called a banjitar) is ideal for guitar players who want the twang of a banjo but don’t have the time to learn a new instrument.

My name’s Ryan, and I’m a musician from Chicago, Illinois. I’ve played banjo for 10 years and guitar for 20 years in many different bands. So, in my day, I’ve played a lot of banjos, a lot of guitars, and a lot of 6 string banjos as well.

Quick Look: Best 6 String Banjo

#1 Best 6 String Banjo Overall: Gold Tone GT-500 


So, if you’re like I was 10 years ago when I finally decided to make the switch from guitar to banjo, you’ll certainly want to learn about what to look for when buying the best 6 string banjos.

Not all 6 string banjos are the same, so I’ll use my personal experience (and strong opinions!) to give you my recommendations for the very best 6 string banjos available for purchase today.

What Is a 6 String Banjo?

A 6 string banjo is simply an instrument with the body of a banjo but the neck of a guitar. It retains the “drum” head stretched over a wooden hoop or rim while also having six strings like a guitar, unlike the traditional five strings of a banjo.

Having a guitar neck means that the 6 string banjo is tuned like a guitar, unlike a banjo, which can be confusing its high (and oddly placed) 5th string. This makes it easy for guitar players to get that banjo sound without having to learn a whole new set of scales and chords.

The 6 string banjo was a popular choice in the early 20th century before the amplifier was invented because the construction of a banjo made it much louder than an acoustic guitar. But once electric guitars become widely available, the popularity of the banjitar waned.

An up close of a 6 String Banjo

Today, however, there’s still a big market for the best 6 string banjos. Many bands from country legends to folk/rock up-and-comers use 6 string banjos to get that twang without needing to learn a whole new instrument.

Things to Consider When Choosing a 6 String Banjo

There are a lot of factors to think about when you’re going to purchase a 6 string banjo. In addition to the sound, price, and brand, you should also think about whether it has an open or closed back and if you want built-in electronics.


As with 5 string banjos, banjitars come in two main styles: open back or closed back. The resonator on a closed-back banjo makes it louder and significantly changes the sound to be brighter. However, it’s more prone to feedback if you have electronics inside.

I definitely prefer the closed-style, and it’s the style I’ve always used, but I know many players who prefer the open-back style, mostly for aesthetic reasons. The open-back style has a streamlined, stripped-down look that many roots players love.

The Overall Tone & Sound

Whenever you’re buying any instrument, the most important factor is how it sounds, and 6 string banjos are no exception. You can try to get an idea of tone and sound from reviews like this one, but there’s no substitute for trying the instrument out yourself.

As mentioned above, one of the most important factors for the tone of a 6 string banjo is whether it has an open or closed back. Another is the overall quality of the materials and construction. In general, you can expect higher-quality (and more expensive) 6 string banjos to have a better tone, although this isn’t always the case.


Both banjo companies and guitar companies make 6 string banjos, and in either case, you want to look for a brand with a trusted reputation for long-lasting and well-built instruments.


Prices for 6 string banjos range from around $200 all the way up to $2500. For the most part, the higher the price, the better the banjo you’ll get, and you’ll find some great deals around $1000 or just below that.


Many of the best 6 string banjos come with the option for an installed electric pickup for playing through an amplifier. If you plan to play on stage with loud bands (read: drums), then you may want to consider this so you don’t have to install it yourself.

Having a pickup installed is also a good feature for recording, although in certain situations, especially for loud, resonant instruments like 6 string banjos, a microphone in a good studio may sound better.

10 Best 6 String Banjos

Gold Tone GT-500

  • Parts & material: Maple neck and rim, SMP pickup installed, flat top tone ring
  • Style: Resonator
  • Weight: 10.5 lbs
  • What’s included: Banjo, SMP pickup
  • Best for: Any player

The Gold Tone GT-500 is a beast of an instrument and my choice for the best overall 6 string banjo. With the maple construction and flat top tone ring, you get a full, cutting sound at an affordable price. Add in the pickup, and it’s hard to go wrong with this banjo.

What I Like:
✅ Great sound
✅ Pickup included
✅ Solid materials
✅ Good value
What I Don’t Like:
❌ Heavy
❌ Maybe not be as bright as others

Why I Recommend It

I own a GT-500, and it’s my go-to instrument when I’m not playing a regular banjo but I want that banjo sound. The high quality wood and tone ring make it loud enough to cut through any jam session when it’s my time to solo, and the pickup means I can play it on stage during live performances as well.

The GT-500 isn’t only a great sounding 6 string banjo, but it also comes at a very competitive price. It’s easy to recommend it for players at all levels.



Deering B6

  • Parts & material: 3/16″ rolled steel rim, mahogany neck and resonator, high ratio tuners, radiused fretboard
  • Style: Resonator
  • Weight: 9.6 lbs
  • What’s included: Banjo, hardshell case
  • Best for: Professionals

For a sweet yet swampy sound that professional players love, look no further than the Deering B6. This banjo is used in many country recordings, including by Keith Urban’s band. The unique steel rim gives it a sweet tone, good note separation, and plenty of that distinctive banjo twang.

What I Like:
✅ Professional build
✅ Sweet and full sound
✅ High-quality materials
✅ Durable
What I Don’t Like:
❌ Expensive
❌ Steel rim not for everyone

Why I Recommend It

I was fortunate enough to watch Keith Urban’s band from the front row, and I couldn’t get enough of hearing this banjitar. The sound cut through the mix like a banjo, but the lightning-fast runs and bends being played on it sounded like guitar.

Later on, I was fortunate enough to jam on this 6 string banjo in a music store. I have no doubt that if you want the best 6 string banjo that’s used by professionals in the industry, this is the banjo you need.


Deering Goodtime 6 String

  • Parts & materials: Violin grade maple neck and rim, sealed geared tuners, 11″ frosted top head
  • Style: Open back
  • Weight: 4.5 lbs
  • What’s included: Banjo
  • Best for: Beginners

I always recommend the Deering Goodtime series to beginners because they’re built to last, set up well, and have a great sound for a decent price. With its slightly smaller head and open back, it’s light and comfortable to play but keeps its banjo snap.

What I Like:
✅ Light
✅ Solid build
✅ Very playable
✅ Good banjo sound
What I Don’t Like:
❌ A bit quiet
❌ More expensive than some

Why I Recommend It

I see someone playing a Goodtime banjo at nearly every bluegrass jam session I’m a part of. Whether it’s a traditional banjo or a 6 string banjo, Goodtime produces quality instruments that look and sound good. They’re loved by beginners and professionals alike.

As with any Goodtime banjo, this is one of the best 6 string banjos you can find, and it’s the most reliable and easiest to play for beginners.



Washburn B6 Americana Series

  • Parts & materials: Mahogany neck and resonator, die cast tuners
  • Style: Open back
  • Weight: 9 lbs
  • What’s included: Banjo
  • Best for: Beginners

If you’re on a budget and looking for a 6 string banjo, the Wasbhurn B6 is a beautiful instrument that comes in at about half the price of the Deering Goodtime. While not as solidly built as the Deering banjo, it sounds great and makes for a solid introduction to the 6 string banjo.

What I Like:
✅ Affordable
✅ Sounds good
✅ Light and portable
✅ Easy to play
What I Don’t Like:
❌ Not a solid build
❌ Open back is a bit quiet

Why I Recommend It

Maybe you’re a guitarist who isn’t so sure that the banjo sound is right for your playing style, or maybe your budget isn’t quite up to buying a more expensive instrument. Either way, I’m certain that you’ll be satisfied with the Washburn B6.

Just to make sure it belonged on this list, I went to a music shop and with a musician friend of mine for a 6 string banjo “blind taste test.” I covered my eyes, he put this banjo into my hands, and I was greatly impressed by its robust tone and smooth playability. Of all the inexpensive 6 string banjos I tried that day, I liked this one the best.



Rogue 6 String Banjo Natural

  • Parts & materials: Mahogany resonator and neck, short scale length, geared tuners, jumbo frets
  • Style: Resonator
  • Weight: 8.25 lbs
  • What’s included: Banjo
  • Best for: Beginners

The Rogue 6 String Banjo is another one of the best 6 string banjos out there for beginners. This time it’s the shorter scale length and jumbo frets that make it a good choice for people new to stringed instruments, especially younger players, who will have an easier time fretting their first chords.

What I Like:
✅ Easy to play
✅ Cutting sound
✅ Very affordable
✅ Durable
What I Don’t Like:
❌ Setup is hit or miss
❌ Cheap materials

Why I Recommend It

When I tried it out, I liked this 6 string banjo so much that I even considered buying it for myself, not because I’m a beginner, but because the smaller size would make it great for traveling and wilderness backpacking trips.

The smaller size makes it easy to carry on a plane, bus, or over your shoulder, and the low price tag means you wouldn’t feel guilty if it got a little rain or sand on it. In my opinion, the Rogue 6 Banjo is the best option for a low-cost banjo with a bluegrass-oriented cutting sound, and it’s especially great for any beginner.


Gold Tone EB-6

  • Parts & materials: Solid mahogany neck and body, 8″ pretuned banjo head, humbucker pickup
  • Style: Electric
  • Weight: 6 lbs
  • What’s included: Banjo, gig bag
  • Best for: Players looking for unique sounds

Here’s a 6 string banjo that will definitely get you noticed. On stage, in a basement jam session, or around a campfire, there aren’t many banjos just like the banjos in the Gold Tone EB-6 series.

Their elegant oval shape mimics electric guitars, and they have small inset banjo heads surrounded by rich mahogany bodies. It makes a unique banjo sound that works great through a sound system with no feedback and plays well with effect pedals.

What I Like:
✅ Unique look and sound
✅ Solidly built
✅ Humbucker pickup
✅ Light and playable
What I Don’t Like:
❌ Not for everyone
❌ Quiet if not plugged in

Why I Recommend It

I love this 6 string banjo. It has a cool look and a great sound to back it up. This is the 6 string banjo that I’d recommend to any electric guitar players who dream of sounding like Bela Fleck. This instrument is made to be played on stage while you’re standing up, but sounds equally good when you’re at home on the couch.

If you’re looking for a truly unique but still banjo-y sound, and if you like to play loud through a system, the EB-6 is a great addition to your collection at a very reasonable price.


Gold Tone BT-2000

  • Parts & materials: Maple neck and rim, 12″ Renaissance head, rolled brass tone ring
  • Style: Open back
  • Weight: 7 lbs
  • What’s included: Banjo, SMP pickup
  • Best for: Blues or old time players

For a look and sound utterly unlike the previous entry on this list of the best 6 string banjos, the Gold Tone BT-2000 is the more traditional choice. The open back and 12″ Renaissance head give the darker, plunky sound you’re looking for in old-time style songs.

What I Like:
✅ Great old-time sound
✅ Well built
✅ Light
✅ Top-grade materials
What I Don’t Like:
❌ More expensive
❌ Quieter

Why I Recommend It

A friend of mine owns this instrument, and based on my experience playing it, I believe that the Gold Tone BT-2000 the best sounding 6 string banjo for old time or blues music. Its sound will transport you back in time, and you don’t even have to learn new scales and chords, but all your guitar skills can be put to work on it.

It’s the ideal banjo for any guitar player looking for a high quality old-time sounding banjo without having to learn a new technique.



Best 6 String Banjo Brands

Because they’re a bit less popular than other kinds of banjos, not as many instrument makers have options for 6 string banjos. But luckily, some of them do make some really killer banjos and are long-tenured, reputable builders who make some of the best 6 string banjos out there.

A close up of a 6 String Banjo


Deering, founded in 1975 by Greg Deering in California, builds some of the best professional banjos. Its line of Goodtime banjos is great for beginners. They’ve grown into a big organization, but still have an incredible eye for detail and innovation.

Gold Tone

Gold Tone Music Group was founded in Florida in 1993 and is still a great company to look for entry-level banjos. Though not the place to look for a high-quality professional banjo, Gold Tone sells solid, reliable instruments for beginning and intermediate players.


Founded in 1883, Washburn has been making string instruments for as long as almost any other company. Now they mostly trade in beginner to intermediate instruments that are affordable and high quality. Their banjos and 6 string banjos are first-rate.


Gibson was founded in Michigan in 1902 and was immediately considered one of the premier makers of banjos and other string instruments. Their vintage banjos are the most sought-after banjos out there, but they’ve discontinued making new banjos, so they’re only available used.

6 String Banjo Aesthetics & Build

The materials and build of a banjo have a huge effect on the sound and the look of your instrument. With that in mind, here’s what to look for.


When buying a banjo, you want one made with solid, sturdy wooden rims and necks. Most banjos are made from maple, which gives a bright sound, or walnut or mahogany, which give a bit of a darker tone.


Most banjos are made with a natural finish, but some are varnished. Many people prefer a non-varnished neck, which helps your fretting hand slide more easily along the fretboard.


In addition to the color of the wood, which is usually a natural stained color, you also can consider the color of the head or the hardware. Heads come in white, black, or clear, while the hardware usually is either chrome or gold.

Buying New vs Used

Buying a new instrument will give you the advantages of a warranty, a solid product, and something that hasn’t already been put through the wringer. On the other hand, buying used can often get you the best 6 string banjos for significantly less money if you’re willing to put in the time to find them. (But, try it out beforehand if you can.)

What’s in the 6 String Banjo Box?

A lot of 6 string banjos come without any accessories, but many are packaged with a case, strap, strings, picks, and other extras.


Several banjos on this list either come with a gig bag, which is a soft and convenient case for light use, or a hardshell case, which is a bit more cumbersome but offers much better protection for your instrument. If you plan on playing your 6 string banjo outside the house, a good case is crucial.


A strap for your banjo is essential if you want to play standing up, and it also can be helpful for playing while sitting down by keeping the instrument comfortably close to your body. Unlike guitars, the circular body shape of banjos doesn’t lend itself to resting on your knee so easily.

If your new 6 string banjo doesn’t come with a strap, don’t worry. They’re easy enough to buy separately, and you’ll be able to choose exactly the strap you want.

Strings and Picks

Strings and picks are sometimes extras you can find in packages of beginner banjos to help you get off to a great start without having to shop around for them.

If the instrument doesn’t come with picks, guitarists can use their existing guitar picks on a 6 string banjo, and if you want to play fingerstyle by making full use of the loud banjo sound, you can pick up some banjo finger and thumb picks.


Some banjos come with an electric tuner, which is very helpful but not 100% necessary, seeing that now almost everybody’s phone can be used as a tuner if you download one of many free apps.

If your banjo has electronics installed, it may include a tuner. Check the details carefully because this will save you both money and time.


Some other things you might want to consider buying are a capo to change keys, a stand so you can set your banjo up safely when you’re not playing it, and a cleaning cloth to keep it nice and clean.

6 String Banjo Brands to Avoid

There are many very poorly made and cheap instruments from companies like Mulucky or Costzon. These banjos are all made in the same factories and stamped with different names, and I don’t recommend them.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about the best 6 string banjos.

How Much Do 6 String Banjos Cost?

Most cost somewhere between $200 and $1000, although some of the very best 6 string banjos cost upwards of $1000 and up to $3000 or more.

What Are the Best 6 String Banjos?

Here are my choices for the best 6 string banjos on the market today. I’ve played all of these instruments, either by borrowing them from friends or jamming in a music shop, and in fact I own the Gold Tone GT-500.

Gold Tone GT-500: Best Overall

This is a great sounding and looking banjo and even includes a built-in pickup. I’ve played it in many situations and it’s never let me down. Plus, it comes in at a reasonable price. It’s a solid banjo for any level.

Deering B6: Best for Professionals

Loud and well built with plenty of twang, the B6 is perfect for you if you want the best sound to cut through the rest of the band. Deering is a standard for banjos, and their 6 string offering lives up to the name.

Deering Goodtime 6 String: Best for Beginners

The Deering Goodtime series banjos are lightweight, easy to play, well set up, and they sound great, which makes them the best 6 string banjos for beginners. Once again, you can see that Deering makes instruments that are suitable for all levels and playing styles.

Where Are the Best 6 String Banjos Made?

Most of the very best 6 string banjos are made in the U.S., which makes sense because it’s also the country with the most demand for the instruments.

What Is the Best Sounding 6 String Banjo?

The best overall sound for a 6 string banjo comes from the Deering B6. The materials and craftsmanship are of an extremely high quality, meaning that the sound is twangy yet full, cutting yet rich. It’s a gorgeous-sounding instrument that sounds great on its own or played along with other instruments.

Where to Buy 6 String Banjos

There are many options of where to buy your instruments nowadays, but the main choice comes down to shopping online vs in-store. Online shopping is convenient, cheap, and has a ton of selection. On the other hand, when shopping in-store, you can meet others in the music community and try out instruments before you buy.


For the easiest, most convenient, and often cheapest prices, Amazon is hard to beat. With countless items and brands available and easy, worry-free returns, Amazon is a great buying experience. They often don’t have some of the more niche or high-end instruments, though.

Online Music Retailers

Online music stores like,, or offer most of the same perks as Amazon, but with the added benefit of exclusively offering music gear. They often have better descriptions of items and a selection of more high-end instruments.

Your Local Music Store

Though not everyone has access to a local music store, much of the time this can be your best experience when buying an instrument. Good customer service, friendly staff, and the ability to try out instruments ahead of time are great. Unfortunately, the selection can be hit or miss, and prices are usually a bit higher.

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In Conclusion

As you can see, there are a lot of great choices when you’re looking to buy the best 6 string banjos. I hope this article clarified your instrument buying decision and taught you a bit about what to look for when you’re going to buy.

In researching this article, I had a great time playing some 6 string banjos that I’d never played before. As for the ones I had, it was fun to confirm what I’d always thought, that they’re quality instruments deserving of being on a list of the best 6 string banjo.

Thanks again for hanging out with me today and reading through this guide. If you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to drop them in the comments below. See you next time!