What are the best banjo strings? Well, that depends on who you ask, everyone seems to have a favorite. I’ve tried a lot of strings; D’addario, Martin, Gibson, GHS and Ernie Ball, and I was sure each new set of strings would make me sound better. I don’t know if using signature J.D. Crowe or Earl Scruggs strings can make you sound like the masters themselves, but it sure can’t hurt to at least try their strings.
Strings are inexpensive to buy and can make a big difference in your sound, so you might as well experiment with them. In this article I will talk about six of the most popular brands of banjo strings; D’addario, Elixir, Ernie Ball, GHS, Gibson and Martin. If you would like to purchase strings, you can click on the links and buy them at Amazon.
One of the world’s leading string makers, and a lot of choice in gauges. With strings in phosphor bronze and nickel, and of course durability and great sound you can’t go wrong with D’addario. Here are a few of their most popular sets:
A long lasting, coated string, these are very popular strings with guitarists and are gaining in popularity on the banjo scene.
I have bought a lot of books to learn the banjo, some are good and some aren’t so good. Here is a list of some of the best and most popular banjo books. I get something out of almost every book that I buy, but some stand out of the crowd. If you want more information or would like to buy one of these books, just click on the pictures. I’m sure I’ve missed some, but here they are – The Banjoblogger’s Ten Great Banjo Books:
You Can Teach Yourself Banjo – Janet Davis. A perennial best seller and always highly praised.
Earl Scruggs and The Five String Banjo – Earl Scruggs. The one and only Earl Scruggs, a must have book.
Banjo For Dummies – Bill Evans. Loaded with all kinds of banjo information.
There are a lot of great websites that have to do with the five string banjo, so many that it is almost overwhelming. I thought I would help to simplify and create a top ten list of banjo sites. I wanted to make sure I had a good list, so I posted a call for input on the banjo hangout website forums. If you don’t already know, The Banjo Hangout is an excellent website and is highly recommended. The Banjo Hangout has TABS, lessons, forums, reviews, links and pretty well anything that relates to banjos; making the Hangout number one on the list. If you have any sites you think are worth listing let me know and I will check them out. Here it is the 2008 Top Ten Banjo Sites, by the Banjoblogger.
- The Banjo Hangout – The best banjo resource on the net.
- drbanjo.com – Pete Wernick’s site.
- Banjo Newsletter – A great source of banjo information.
- Janet Davis Music – A huge selection of banjo stuff
- The Music Moose – Forums, lessons, video and more.
- Bluegrassbanjo.com – This site will keep you busy.
- Dr. Horsehair – History of the banjo – very cool.
- Banjo Hollow – A well designed site.
- Uncle Ben’s Banjo Homepage – Learn to play clawhammer – great audio and diagrams.
- ezFolk – Another fantastic resource to learn the banjo.
- I know – this list goes to eleven – but I have to include this one – Paul Hawthorne’s Web Site – You’ll go back time and time again, he was an amazing person.
You will probably disagree with some of these choices, but you’ll have to admit that these sites have a lot to offer.
This post was going to be easy, or so I thought, the top ten banjo songs – simple, get a pen and start writing them down. What makes them the top ten? Is it the most requested song, the most recognized, my favorite?, I don’t know. This list is a combination of two criteria : Number One – It has to be a good banjo song -Players and listeners alike have an appreciation for these songs. Number Two – How well is the song known. This list has to have songs that are familiar to most people. This top ten is a solid list of songs that are appreciated by listeners and at the same time,are fun to perform as a banjo player. Go to a bluegrass jam, you’ll hear a few from this list.
Enough criteria and justification: Here it is Banjoblogger’s Top Ten Bluegrass Banjo Songs:
- Foggy Mountain Breakdown – People love to hear this one.
- Cripple Creek – Defines the banjo sound to some people.
- Ballad of Jed Clampett - Brought bluegrass to a wider audience.
- Clinch Mountain Backstep – Ralph Stanley – Cool and fun to play.
- Wildwood Flower – Listeners favorite.
- Flint Hill Special – Players favorite.
- Blackberry Blossom – Melodic style is neat on this song.
- Lonesome Road Blues – Bill Monroe version is amazing.
- Will the Circle Be Unbroken – Good sing-a-long.
- I’ll fly away – Everyone knows this song.
There it is – My Top Ten. I’m sure there ‘s a few songs that should have been on the list and a couple that some of you would take off, but this is the best I can do. Oh, by the way, Please help support the Banjoblogger and buy me a beer – check out the left sidebar. Thanks for visiting Banjoblogger.com, Happy New Year 2008.