Bands/Musicians The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time  

Ranker Music
11.2k votes 3.5k voters 89.3k views 93 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
1,048 184
Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

2
724 241
Béla Fleck is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

3
221 79
J. D. Crowe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
duststang1 added Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

4
256 141
Noam Pikelny is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

5
124 48
Don Reno is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
John N Annette Egan added Bluegrass

6
280 163
Ralph Stanley is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Traditional bluegrass, Old-time music, Bluegrass

7
187 96
Ranker Video
dabowd added Jens Kruger American Folk

8
224 125
Tony Trischka is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Roots, Bluegrass

9
137 62
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
140 67
Alan Munde is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bluegrass

11
466 322
Steve Martin is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bluegrass

12
130 77
Alison Brown is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Americana, Jazz, Bluegrass

13
147 92
Grandpa Jones is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
MarkTimothyPierce added Old-time music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

14
161 107
David

15
24 2
Bill Keith is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Steve Gallagher added Bluegrass, Country

16
84 44
Bill Emerson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bjoe added Bill Emerson Bluegrass

17
117 74
Ron Block is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bluegrass, Alternative Country

18
77 40
Raymond Fairchild is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
roger-dvorak added Bluegrass

19
106 67
Barney McKenna is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Folk music of Ireland

20
175 131
Pete Seeger is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Folk music

21
97 60
Pete Wernick is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bluegrass

22
42 10
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" (https://www.nashvillescene.com/arts-culture/article/13011840/bobby-thompson-19372005)

23
83 48
Eddie Adcock is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Bluegrass

24
29 4
Sonny Osborne is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Paul Kosiewicz added

25
113 84
Abigail Washburn is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time
Americana, Old-time music