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Banjo Strings - Beginners Buyers Guide

Banjo String Guide Header - We'll ensure you get the correct set first time!

Hello everyone and welcome to our Beginners Buyers Guide to Banjo strings.

Whether you are buying a set of strings for the first time, for somebody else or just confused at all the varieties on offer, you’ve come to the right place.

In this concise jargon-free article we’ll take you through the basic facets of banjo strings and provide you with some great set suggestions that will be suitable for any player and their banjo.

First Thing’s First

It’s worth establishing which type of banjo you have.  The banjo family consists of several instruments, some of which have a different number of strings.

For the purposes of keeping our guide super simple, the strings we’ll be discussing and recommending in this article are for a conventional 5-string Banjo, much like in the image down below.  This is arguably the most common type of banjo and the one that many players will find themselves needing strings for.

5-String Banjo

If you believe you need strings for a different type of banjo, please let us know and we’ll be happy to help you find the right set for you.

Right, let’s get you a set of banjo strings....

We should start by stating there are several different facets when it comes to banjo strings but to keep things super simple we've carefully selected three sets we feel are ideal to suit the needs of nearly every 5-string banjo player, no matter the style of music they play or their experience.

Each set has very similar characteristics to one another, all of which are outlined below;

  • Contain all 5-strings needed to fully restring your banjo
  • Be suitable for the banjos main “Open G” tuning;  gDGBD
  • The thickest string (D-string) in all the sets will be Nickel Wound with the thinner strings being made of plain steel.  This is one of the most popular materials used for banjo strings and will provide a great sound that’s not too bright and not too dark sounding either… perfect for a variety of styles of music.  
  • Each set is gauge 10-23.  10-23 is a very common gauge string that is comfortable to play… particularly helpful if you are new to the instrument.

You may also be asking yourself, what are those numbers all about?  In all sets of strings, each individual string has a specific number that denotes exactly how thick it is.  This is known as the string gauge and the higher the number, the thicker the string. 

So in the instance of all the sets recommended, you’ll see the gauges written as 10-23 or similar.  This simply displays the values of the thinnest (10) and thickest (23) strings in the set.  This really helps give you an overall view of how a set of strings will feel and play as string gauge is often the biggest bearing on a sets ‘playability’.

  • All of the strings in the sets will have loop ends.  What does this mean exactly? Each string will have a small loop at the end (as pictured below).  These loops go over the tailpiece bracket fitted to the bottom of the banjo (down near where you pick and strum).  This is what helps to keep the string anchored down at the base of your banjo.  


Banjo Tailpiece with Loop End Strings

In the unlikely scenario that your banjo requires a set of ball end strings (a small metal doughnut shaped ring at the end of the string) please contact us and we will be happy to provide you with a set of strings suitable for your instrument.

Bearing all of this in mind, here are our suggestions.  As previously mentioned, we wholeheartedly recommend all of these sets to our customers so no matter which set you choose, you’re sure to have a great set that will serve both you and your banjo very well indeed.


Best Value - Martin V730

When it comes to great value, that doesn’t always have to mean a compromise on quality.  Martin are the biggest manufacturer of acoustic instruments in the world and their commitment to quality and consistency is certainly evident in their string range too.  A great option.

Martin Vega Banjo Strings V730 Nickel Wound 10-23

Customer Comments

"Consistently Good Product" Mitch

"Good value and quality strings" Bob


The Best Seller - D’Addario EJ61 

This set of D’Addario strings is one of our best selling banjo sets.  D’Addario are renowned as the biggest manufacturer of strings globally and continually manufacture some of the best sounding and reliable strings available.  You can’t go wrong with a set of their EJ61s.

D'Addario EJ61 Nickel Wound Banjo Strings

Customer Comments

"My favourite Banjo strings. Great quality." Bernard

"Great tone and playability. Bright but not too sharp." Clive


The Longer Life String - D'Addario XT

For those of you who are looking for a set of strings that will last a little longer, we have no qualms in recommending D’Addario’s XT range.  These surface of these strings are treated with a corrosion resistant protectant helping to extend their lifespan by up to 5 times.

Whilst they are great option for professionals and enthusiasts that play every day they are also a great investment for the player who only picks up the instrument every now and then…. It’s always frustrating when you revisit an instrument after a prolonged period of time only to find the strings have tarnished and sound lifeless.

Coated strings have been designed to help prevent this frustration no matter if we play every day or once in a blue moon.

These are more expensive than the uncoated sets listed above and they are by all means not a must have! However, coated strings really do help serve a purpose and the benefits they provide often more than justifies the extra cost. 

D'Addario XT Coated Longer Life Banjo Set

Customer Comments

"Good Quality and Sound Excellent" Jeff

"Great tone and reliable" Mark

So there you have it! Our three recommendations for banjo strings.  Just to reiterate, no matter which set you choose, we’re certain you’ll be pleased with the sound and results they’ll deliver.  We hope this has helped narrow down the options availble and of course if you need any further assistance, please do not hesitate to get in touch where we would be happy to help out.

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