Price plateaus/features
One of the first decision points you'll make in purchasing a banjo is just how much to spend. The following graphic is an attempt to demonstrate a sort of plateau effect that seems to exist. 1-3 hundred will get you what they refer to as a "wall hanger" for self evident reasons. 4-8 hundred is murky cost level that can run from unplayable, to not too bad, depending on whether and what type of tone ring you get. 8 hundred to 1 grand is to me, at least, the entry level for playable bluegrass instruments. If you are claw hammer or old timey, you can get away with less in a one piece wood rim, but the bright, crisp sound needed for bluegrass needs a tone ring of at least brass, if not bronze. The top plateau is really the "good to great" layer. Any of these are quite servicable, with the top end being fantastic (in sound an price).

The illustration below shows price ranges and relative features. It is a very rough assessment, meant to be a general guideline. Exceptions to this can be found.


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