Bands/Musicians The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time  

Ranker Music
10.3k votes 3.2k voters 82.9k views 85 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
954 172
Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Earl Scruggs Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

2
660 225
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
195 67
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
256 146
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
103 36
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
132 62
Alan Munde is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Alan Munde Bluegrass

7
230 137
Noam Pikelny is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Noam Pikelny Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

8
172 94
Ranker Video
dabowd added Jens Kruger American Folk

9
205 122
Tony Trischka is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Tony Trischka Roots, Bluegrass

10
419 289
Steve Martin is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Steve Martin Bluegrass

11
116 54
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
80 41
Bill Emerson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bjoe added Bill Emerson Bluegrass

13
115 73
Alison Brown is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Alison Brown Americana, Jazz, Bluegrass

14
145 102
David

15
125 84
Grandpa Jones is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
MarkTimothyPierce added Grandpa Jones Old-time music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

16
111 72
Ron Block is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Ron Block Bluegrass, Alternative Country

17
80 45
Eddie Adcock is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Eddie Adcock Bluegrass

18
92 58
Pete Wernick is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Pete Wernick Bluegrass

19
70 38
Raymond Fairchild is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
roger-dvorak added Raymond Fairchild Bluegrass

20
162 125
Pete Seeger is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Pete Seeger Folk music

21
34 9
Bobby Thompson is listed (or ranked) 21 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" ...

22
91 65
Barney McKenna is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Barney McKenna Folk music of Ireland

23
48 25
Eric Weissberg is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
edwardlatham added Eric Weissberg Bluegrass, Country

24
101 82
Abigail Washburn is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Abigail Washburn Americana, Old-time music

25
14 1
Sonny Osborne is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Paul Kosiewicz added Sonny Osborne

26
43 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
44 30
Larry McNeely is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Larry McNeely Country

28
100 91
Jerry Garcia is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
evanswinington added Jerry Garcia Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock

29
42 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
59 47
Eddie Peabody is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Eddie Peabody Vaudeville

31
54 42
Charlie Poole is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Charlie Poole Country

32
289 300
Kit Evans is listed (or ranked) 32 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 ...

33
48 37
Snuffy Jenkins is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Snuffy Jenkins Old-time music, Bluegrass

34
57 47
Uncle Dave Macon is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Uncle Dave Macon Old-time music

35
17 5
Eddie Shelton is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
RobertHomes added Eddie Shelton Bluegrass

36
44 37
Danny Barnes is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Danny Barnes Rock music, Folk music, Jazz

37
33 25
Tony Furtado is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
cksqrd added Tony Furtado Americana, Blues, Jass

38
6 0
Allen Shelton is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Steve Gallagher added Allen Shelton

39
15 7
Butch Robins is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
RobertHomes added Butch Robins Bluegrass

40
9 1
Bill Keith is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Steve Gallagher added Bill Keith Bluegrass, Country

41
8 1
Mike Gregory is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Paul Kosiewicz added Mike Gregory World's foremost picker of the "Squared Eel" Banjo and "noted" pun-master extraordinaire.

42
23 20
Roscoe Holcomb is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
gnicholls added Roscoe Holcomb Folk music, Old-time music, Bluegrass

43
15 12
Dock Boggs is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Howard Vogel added Dock Boggs Old-time music

44
27 29
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 ...

45
38 44
Lonnie Hoppers is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
ragtime added Lonnie Hoppers A Monroe Bluegrass Boy

46
34 40
John Hickman is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
John Hickman Ragtime

47
14 14
Bernie Leadon is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Jdwalther added Bernie Leadon Rock music, Country rock, Country

48
11 11
Mike Seeger is listed (or ranked) 48 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 ...

49
4 2
Rhiannon Giddens is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bob Barleen added Rhiannon Giddens

50
7 6
Don Parmley is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Johnny Rojo added Don Parmley