Bands/Musicians The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time  

Ranker Music
11.5k votes 3.6k voters 91.3k views 94 items

List Rules Vote up the all time best banjo players in history

Who are the best musicians to have ever played the banjo? The banjo is a four or five string instrument. Early versions of the banjo were created by Africans in Colonial America, but today it is most closely associated with bluegrass, folk, country, and traditional Irish music. A mainstay of old-time American music, the banjo is a popular instrument, even today.

The greatest banjoists ever are from different eras and genres but are all hugely talented on their instrument. These best banjo players have spent years honing their skills to become the best. These musicians often helped define their respective genres, and many teach others to play the banjo as well.

The greatest banjo players of all time are from all over the world and include musicians such as Charlie Poole, Bela Fleck, Earl Scruggs, and Pete Seeger. Even comedian Steve Martin plays the banjo!

Vote up the best banjoists in history on the list below, or add a musician who you think is the best banjo player ever, if he or she isn't already on the list.
list ordered by
1
1,078 187
Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country
2
743 249
Béla Fleck is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock
3
231 84
J. D. Crowe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
duststang1 added Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass
4
131 51
Don Reno is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
John N Annette Egan added Bluegrass
5
290 168
Ralph Stanley is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Traditional bluegrass, Old-time music, Bluegrass
6
261 147
Noam Pikelny is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass
7
229 129
Tony Trischka is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Roots, Bluegrass
8
191 101
Ranker Video
dabowd added Jens Kruger American Folk
9
142 68
John Hartford is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
David Sekac added Folk music, Bluegrass, Country
10
483 330
Steve Martin is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bluegrass
11
144 72
Alan Munde is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bluegrass
12
157 98
Grandpa Jones is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
MarkTimothyPierce added Old-time music, Bluegrass, Gospel music
13
169 113
David
14
131 82
Alison Brown is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Americana, Jazz, Bluegrass
15
182 135
Pete Seeger is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Folk music
16
86 49
Bill Emerson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bjoe added Bill Emerson Bluegrass
17
118 79
Ron Block is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bluegrass, Alternative Country
18
81 45
Raymond Fairchild is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
roger-dvorak added Bluegrass
19
109 71
Barney McKenna is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Folk music of Ireland
20
87 51
Eddie Adcock is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bluegrass
21
37 6
Sonny Osborne is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Paul Kosiewicz added
22
99 64
Pete Wernick is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bluegrass
23
42 12
Bobby Thompson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
RobertHomes added Bobby Thompson Bluegrass

Backed up Linda Ronstadt on "Love is a Rose"; chosen by Earl Scruggs as tour replacement; helped develop 3-finger "melodic" or "Keith" style alternative to "Scruggs style" (https://www.nashvillescene.com/arts-culture/article/13011840/bobby-thompson-19372005)

24
119 87
Abigail Washburn is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Americana, Old-time music
25
27 4
Bill Keith is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Steve Gallagher added Bluegrass, Country