Bands/Musicians The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time  

Ranker Music
9.9k votes 3.1k voters 81.4k views 79 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.

1
926 167
Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Earl Scruggs Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

2
650 221
Béla Fleck is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Béla Fleck Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

3
184 65
J. D. Crowe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
duststang1 added J. D. Crowe Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

4
250 141
Ralph Stanley is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Ralph Stanley Traditional bluegrass, Old-time music, Bluegrass

5
97 34
Don Reno is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
John N Annette Egan added Don Reno Bluegrass

6
199 119
Tony Trischka is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Tony Trischka Roots, Bluegrass

7
403 282
Steve Martin is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Steve Martin Bluegrass

8
215 136
Noam Pikelny is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Noam Pikelny Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

9
161 93
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dabowd added Jens Kruger American Folk

10
120 61
Alan Munde is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Alan Munde Bluegrass

11
107 53
John Hartford is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
David Sekac added John Hartford Folk music, Bluegrass, Country

12
113 72
Alison Brown is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Alison Brown Americana, Jazz, Bluegrass

13
76 39
Bill Emerson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bjoe added Bill Emerson Bluegrass

14
140 97
David

Famous Banjo Players

15
109 70
Ron Block is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Ron Block Bluegrass, Alternative Country

16
118 81
Grandpa Jones is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
MarkTimothyPierce added Grandpa Jones Old-time music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

17
161 121
Pete Seeger is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Pete Seeger Folk music

18
68 36
Raymond Fairchild is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
roger-dvorak added Raymond Fairchild Bluegrass

19
75 43
Eddie Adcock is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Eddie Adcock Bluegrass

20
89 57
Pete Wernick is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Pete Wernick Bluegrass

21
89 64
Barney McKenna is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Barney McKenna Folk music of Ireland

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22
28 7
Bobby Thompson is listed (or ranked) 22 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" ...

23
99 80
Abigail Washburn is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Abigail Washburn Americana, Old-time music

24
43 25
Eric Weissberg is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
edwardlatham added Eric Weissberg Bluegrass, Country

25
99 87
Jerry Garcia is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
evanswinington added Jerry Garcia Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock

26
41 25
John McEuen is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
David Sekac added John McEuen Rock music, Country

27
59 46
Eddie Peabody is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Eddie Peabody Vaudeville

28
54 41
Charlie Poole is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Charlie Poole Country

The Best Banjo Brands for Beginners

29
41 28
Courtney Johnson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
JBB1 added Courtney Johnson Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

30
287 299
Kit Evans is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Gareth Cotter added Kit Evans Bluegrass, Folk, Jazz Metal -  Kit Evans (Gentlemen of Few) shot to fame through his primary school talent show back in 2002 when he opted to perform 'Let The Bodies Hit The Floor' on the banjo, his talented musical display was described as "not ...

31
57 46
Uncle Dave Macon is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Uncle Dave Macon Old-time music

32
47 36
Snuffy Jenkins is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Snuffy Jenkins Old-time music, Bluegrass

33
40 30
Larry McNeely is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Larry McNeely Country

34
43 35
Danny Barnes is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Danny Barnes Rock music, Folk music, Jazz

35
32 25
Tony Furtado is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
cksqrd added Tony Furtado Americana, Blues, Jass

The 37 Greatest On-Stage Falls of All Time

36
23 19
Roscoe Holcomb is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
gnicholls added Roscoe Holcomb Folk music, Old-time music, Bluegrass

37
11 5
Eddie Shelton is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
RobertHomes added Eddie Shelton Bluegrass

38
12 7
Butch Robins is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
RobertHomes added Butch Robins Bluegrass

39
15 11
Dock Boggs is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Howard Vogel added Dock Boggs Old-time music

40
38 42
Lonnie Hoppers is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
ragtime added Lonnie Hoppers A Monroe Bluegrass Boy

41
27 28
Ranker Video
bill-cli added Buddy Wachter Jazz, Pop, Classical - AMERICA'S BANJO VIRTUOSO Master of the four string banjo, the uniquely American instrument, Buddy Wachter is acknowledged to be America's greatest virtuoso banjo player. Andrew John "Buddy" Wachter was born on ...

42
34 39
John Hickman is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
John Hickman Ragtime

The Best Banjo Players in the World

43
29 34
Herb Pedersen is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Herb Pedersen Folk music, Folk rock, Country rock

44
13 13
Bernie Leadon is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Jdwalther added Bernie Leadon Rock music, Country rock, Country

45
10 10
Mike Seeger is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Jonathan Brown added Mike Seeger Folk music, Old-time music - Seeger brought a half dozen of the musicians like Roscoe Holcomb and Doc Boggs to our consciousness - he also discovered a ton of old time music.  At the end of his life he did some innovative work with Banjos in the same ...

46
6 5
Don Parmley is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Johnny Rojo added Don Parmley

47
3 1
Wade Ward is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Daniel J Gellert added Wade Ward Old-time music

48
20 24
Mean Mary James is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
BarneyTaylor added Mean Mary James

49
2 0
Rhiannon Giddens is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bob Barleen added Rhiannon Giddens

50
44 57
Burl Ives is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Burl Ives Folk