Many myths about Banjo are floating around. Some say that it’s only for hillbillies or a difficult instrument to learn. But the truth is, the banjo is an incredibly versatile instrument that can be used in various settings. The banjo can add a unique sound to your music whether you’re playing bluegrass, country, or jazz. This blog will break all the myths about Banjo that keep you from picking up this great instrument.
List of Myths about Banjo
We have collected around 15 myths about banjo and misconceptions about the string banjo. We’d like to highlight a few more popular ones and put out the facts in this blog.
- Tuning a banjo is time killing
- An Instrument for the halfwits
- An Older Version of banjos is better
- Restricted to genres
- One of the hardest instruments to play
- Accustomed to one or two playing style
- Fingerpicking is the only technique you apply on a banjo.
- You cannot play Metal songs on a Banjo
- Banjo is made only for bluegrass
- Used only in cheerful compositions
- High-end banjos or nothing at all
- The heavier the banjo, the better the sound
- Flashier and more inlays sum up a good banjo
- No need to invest in a good banjo
- The use of banjo is coming to a dead-end
1. Tuning a Banjo is Time Killing
Many players swear that tuning a banjo takes up way too much of their time. But if you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to tune your string banjo in less than two minutes.
2. An Instrument For the Halfwits
You’ve probably heard someone say that a banjo is just a dumb instrument for the halfwits. But those people haven’t heard of Bela Fleck, Earl Scruggs, Steve Martin, and many other incredibly talented musicians who play the banjo.
3. An Older Version of Banjos is Better
Many people think that an old version (1920s-1930s) of banjos is better than the modern version you’re playing. But, there are many ways to find out that this isn’t true (the quality hasn’t degraded).
4. Restricted to Genres
If you think that only bluegrass musicians play the banjo, you have a lot to learn. Jazz, folk, rock, pop, blues are just a few of the genres that use the banjo.
5. One of the Hardest Instruments to Play
This myth probably comes from rural people who have heard an old recording where the sound quality wasn’t so great. But in fact, there has been no degradation in quality, and rather it’s because of the change in tonal technique.
6. Accustomed to one or two Playing Style
If you think that the banjo is only good for playing three advanced chords. Then, you’re wrong. The banjo can be used in various ways depending on the genre and musician’s preference.
7. Fingerpicking is the only Technique you Apply on a Banjo
You can also play guitar style, chicken picking, or use a thumb pick. Banjos are versatile instruments that can adapt to your playing style.
8. You Cannot Play Metal Songs on a Banjo
You have been mistaken if you think that the only songs possible to play on a banjo are happy songs. Metal is just one of the musical styles that can be played on a banjo. Since its beginning, the metal genre has used instruments like this, and there’s no sign of stopping now. So you can check out bands like Mastodon (who use a banjo in most of their songs) and Iron Maiden, who uses it very often too.
9. Banjo is Made Only For Bluegrass
Bluegrass is perhaps the most popular form of music to play on the banjo, and it gives off a distinctive sound compared to other genres. But, if you want to play the banjo in any other genre, don’t let your instrument stop you.
10. Used Only in Cheerful Compositions
If you think the banjo’s sound is only used for happy songs, then you are mistaken. Banjos can also be heard playing sad ballads and slow melodies. And they do that much better than another stringed instrument like the violin.
11. High-end Banjos or Nothing at all
The sound quality of a banjo string is determined by its tonal wood and nacre, not by how much it costs. If you want to get excellent quality, you will have to spend some good money. But if you’re looking for one that suits your needs, then mid-ranged ones are just as good.
12. The Heavier the Banjo, the Better the Sound
Many people think that you have to spend a huge sum of money on a heavy banjo if you want it to produce quality sound. But, at least for beginners, lighter-weight banjos are much better. They’re not only easier to play but also much easier to carry around in the different places you go.
13. Flashier and More Inlays Sum up a Good Banjo
A banjo’s sound is what you should focus on, not its appearance. Though it can be true that flashy-looking banjos often have better tonal qualities, they are certainly not necessary.
14. No need to Invest in a Good Banjo
Banjos are made to be used, so it’s important that you invest in one that suits your skill level. If you have just started playing, then you should get a banjo that is easy to use and doesn’t require much time for tuning.
15. The Use of Banjo is Coming to a Dead-end
Though there has been an increase in the number of electric guitars, this doesn’t mean that the use of banjos is coming to a dead-end. Banjos are now becoming much easier and simpler to learn, making them an excellent choice for beginners. As long as there are musicians who love using this instrument, you will always find one at your disposal.
With all the Myths about Banjos and false traditional beliefs, it can be hard to figure out what’s true. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of 15 common misconceptions about Banjo. After going through the above facts, I hope you are clear with all the myths about banjo.