Whether you’re a newcomer seeking an entry-level instrument or a seasoned player in search of the perfect addition to your collection, this article explores resonator banjos that cater to various price ranges.

Best Resonator Banjos to Buy

Gold Tone AC-5 Product Image

Gold Tone AC-5

The Gold Tone AC-5 is a remarkable entry-level resonator banjo. Crafted with a maple neck and a resonator molded from composite material, it strikes a balance between affordability and quality. The composite “Tone Rim” contributes to its bright and clear tone. Reviews praise its great tone for the money, comfortable neck, and lightweight design.


  • Top budget choice
  • Travel banjo
  • Light weight
Availability: Brand New / Used
Tone: Bright
Construction: 8.7
Playability: 8.9

Recording King RK-R35 Product Image

Recording King RK-R35

The Recording King RK-R35 stands out with its 3-ply steam-bent maple rim and bell brass cast tone ring. The maple resonator, coupled with the American threaded nickel-plated hardware, delivers a classic bluegrass sound. Users appreciate its impressive build quality, precise adjustment options, and authentic Remo head.


  • 3-ply steam-bent maple rim
  • Bell brass cast tone ring
  • Authentic Remo head
Availability: Brand New / Used
Tone: Clear crisp sound
Construction: 9.2
Playability: 9.2

Sullivan Banjos Product Image

Sullivan Banjos

Renowned for their quality and sound, Sullivan Banjos offer models in maple, walnut, and mahogany. Sullivan Banjos are highly sought after, both as new and used instruments. The Sullivan Roasted Maple, available for around $2,200, is a special order gem known for its exquisite craftsmanship and resonant tone.

Characteristics: Highest quality
Availability: Brand New / Used
Tone: Rich, mellow, loud
Construction: 9.9
Playability: 9.9

Deering Sierra Product Image

Deering Sierra

The Deering Sierra is a top professional grade banjo that balances affordability with premium features. With options for mahogany or maple, players can choose between a sweet, warm tone or a brighter, crisper sound. Reviews highlight its exceptional build, harmonic depth, and clear projection. The Deering Sierra is a true masterpiece that captures the essence of professional banjo playing.

Characteristics: Professional grade, Bluegrass
Availability: Brand new / Used
Tone: Sweet, warm tone or bright, crisp
Construction: 9.9
Playability: 10

Gold Star GF-100JD Product Image

Gold Star GF-100JD

Autographed by JD Crowe, the Gold Star GF-100JD is priced at $1,980.00. With a traditional V-shaped neck, single truss rod, and a no-hole flathead tone ring, it offers a classic bluegrass experience. Notable for its balanced tone and strong bottom end, the GF-100JD is praised for its quality, setup, and affordability. It stands out as a valuable import alternative to American-made banjos.

  • Autographed by JD Crowe
  • Classic bluegrass experience
Availability: Used / Brand New(Hard to find)
Tone: Clear, sharp
Construction: 9.4
Playability: 9.7

Huber Lancaster Truetone Product Image

Huber Lancaster Truetone

Historically popular, the Huber Lancaster Truetone is priced at $5,150.00, offering a classic bluegrass sound with a mahogany neck and resonator. Meticulous attention to detail, twin concentric rings in the resonator, and the Huber Engineered rim make it a sought-after choice for professional musicians. With a timeless aesthetic and exceptional craftsmanship, the Lancaster Truetone is a flagship model in Huber’s lineup.

  • Huber Engineered rim
  • Huber HR-30 tone ring
  • Twin concentric rings resonator
Availability: Brand new / Used
Tone: Crisp yet warm
Construction: 10
Playability: 10

Choosing a Good Resonator Banjo

When venturing into the world of resonator banjos, finding the right instrument involves considering various factors to match your playing style, preferences, and musical goals.

Tonal Characteristics:

Resonator banjos are known for their powerful and bright tones, making them well-suited for genres like bluegrass. When choosing a resonator banjo, consider the type of wood used for the rim and resonator. Maple often imparts a crisp, focused sound, while mahogany may add warmth and depth to the tone.

Resonator Type:

Resonators come in two main types: flange-mounted and integral. Flange-mounted resonators are detachable, providing flexibility in tonal adjustments. Integral resonators are built into the banjo, offering a more traditional appearance and often contributing to a distinct, projecting sound. Consider which resonator type aligns with your aesthetic and tonal preferences.

Neck Profile and Playability:

The neck profile plays a crucial role in the playability of a resonator banjo. Consider factors like neck shape, fingerboard radius, and scale length. A comfortable neck facilitates smooth playing, especially during intricate passages and extended sessions.

Craftsmanship and Materials:

Examine the overall craftsmanship and materials used in the construction of the resonator banjo. Quality materials and expert craftsmanship contribute to durability, resonance, and overall playability. Look for reputable brands and models known for their attention to detail.

Budget Considerations:

Determine your budget range and explore resonator banjos within that spectrum. Fortunately, there are excellent options available for various price points. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned player, finding a resonator banjo that aligns with your budget is achievable.