Bands/Musicians The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time  

Ranker Music
11k votes 3.4k voters 88.1k views 88 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
1,031 179
Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

2
712 237
Béla Fleck is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

3
215 74
J. D. Crowe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
duststang1 added Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

4
120 42
Don Reno is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
John N Annette Egan added Bluegrass

5
275 156
Ralph Stanley is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Traditional bluegrass, Old-time music, Bluegrass

6
248 138
Noam Pikelny is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

7
132 57
John Hartford is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
David Sekac added Folk music, Bluegrass, Country

8
184 96
Ranker Video
dabowd added Jens Kruger American Folk

9
220 124
Tony Trischka is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Tony Trischka Roots, Bluegrass

10
138 65
Alan Munde is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bluegrass

11
457 311
Steve Martin is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bluegrass

12
27 2
Sonny Osborne is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Paul Kosiewicz added

13
20 1
Bill Keith is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Steve Gallagher added Bluegrass, Country

14
141 89
Grandpa Jones is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
MarkTimothyPierce added Old-time music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

15
157 105
David

16
123 76
Alison Brown is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Americana, Jazz, Bluegrass

17
84 44
Bill Emerson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bjoe added Bill Emerson Bluegrass

18
77 39
Raymond Fairchild is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
roger-dvorak added Raymond Fairchild Bluegrass

19
115 74
Ron Block is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bluegrass, Alternative Country

20
175 129
Pete Seeger is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Folk music

21
83 48
Eddie Adcock is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bluegrass

22
95 60
Pete Wernick is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bluegrass

23
102 67
Barney McKenna is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Folk music of Ireland

24
40 10
Bobby Thompson is listed (or ranked) 24 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)

25
112 84
Abigail Washburn is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Americana, Old-time music