Music

The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time 

Ranker Music
Updated February 1, 2020 13.9k votes 4.3k voters 103.7k views 100 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
Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
2
Béla Fleck is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
3
J. D. Crowe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
4
Steve Martin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
5
Ralph Stanley is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
6
Noam Pikelny is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
7
Tony Trischka is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
8
Ranker Video
dabowd added
9
Don Reno is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
10
David "Stringbean&q... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
11
Grandpa Jones is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
MarkTimothyPierce added
12
John Hartford is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
13
Alan Munde is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
14
Roy Clark is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
15
Alison Brown is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
16
Pete Seeger is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
17
Sonny Osborne is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Paul Kosiewicz added
18
Ron Block is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
19
Barney McKenna is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
20
Raymond Fairchild is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
roger-dvorak added
21
Abigail Washburn is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
22
Kit Evans is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Gareth Cotter added


 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 bad" by the school caretaker. Since then he's plateaued explaining "it's physically impossible for me to get better".

With little to no practice whatsoever, he still manages to retain his position as front-man in the popular band Gentlemen of Few.

His banjo playing style has been called unorthodox, some have gone as far as to call it ''completely incorrect".

Seen as a controversial figure in both the banjo community as well as the local community he is both loathed and loved by those closest to him.

Currently, he lives on and performs regularly with his band. 
 
23
Eddie Adcock is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
24
Pete Wernick is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
25
Bill Emerson is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bjoe added