Can You Use Guitar Strings on a Banjo?

The guitar and banjo share many characteristics in common. And some similarities that these both stringed musical instruments share are in their frets, bodies, necks, and a way by which you turn with the pegs or keys. However, since both stringed instruments share things in common, can you use guitar strings on a banjo?

The answer depends on many factors since the two musical instruments differ in gauge, tension, and wound measurements or length.

The guitar and banjo strings come in a variety of configurations. Unlike a banjo, which has five or six strings, a guitar has more, six or eight‌. Because of this, many people think a guitar has better sound quality and accuracy than a banjo.

Will Guitar Strings Work on Banjo?

In actuality, a guitar’s gauge is wider than a banjo’s. Banjos don’t use as many strings as guitars, so keep that in mind if you’re considering using guitar strings on a banjo. And, of course, their lengths differ from one another.

Okay, so what is the restriction now?

Since the length, strings and gauge are not the same, how is it even possible to use guitar strings on a banjo?

As we previously stated, using guitar strings on a banjo is possible, but it depends on a few other circumstances. And the main factor is that each banjo instrument has its tension range, so you must keep the strings of your guitar strings the same length as that of a banjo for it to work. Otherwise, there will be a problem.

Furthermore, how would you know the precise tension range created for the banjo and the actual guitar strings that will match the tension range? You won’t be able to use all the wound strings, and you’ll need small gauge guitar strings.

With all these, it is difficult to use guitar strings on any banjo as the tension, gauge, and wound are very different. An attempt to do so might cause severe damage to your musical instrument.

However, some guitarists use guitar strings on banjos. These are guitarists who find themselves in emergency circumstances.

So, for example, you are playing your banjo, and a string broke, and the only available string is that of a guitar. So then, if you are an expert and understand what to do and how to do it, you can try it. But unfortunately, doing this is not always the best solution to your broken banjo string.

However, regardless of the situation you find yourself in, we advise ‌you get fresh banjo strings. Using a guitar string isn’t a safe alternative for your banjo strings. Fortunately, both guitar and banjo strings are inexpensive.

So avoid compounding complications for your musical instrument and always choose to buy new strings for your banjo.

Strings Specifications for Guitar and Banjo

These are guitar and banjo strings specifications.

SpecificationsUse on GuitarsUse on Banjos
Set of gaugesExtra light: .010 .014 .023 .030 .039 .047

Custom light: .011 .015 .023 .032 .042 .052

Light: .012 .016 .025 .032 .042 .054

Medium: .013 .017 .026 .035 .045 .056

Heavy: .014 .018 .027 .039 .049 .059
Light: .095 .010 .013 .020 .095

Medium Light: .010 .011 .012 .020 .010

Medium: .010 .012 .016 .023 .010

Heavy gauge is not recommended.
Coating          Polymer coating available for metal strings  Polymer coating available for metal strings  
Materials80/20 Bronze, silver plated copper, titanium, nylon, compositeNickel-plated steel, stainless steel, bronze, animal byproducts, nylon
Number of stringsStandard: 6
Bass: 4-5 Six is the standard number of strings, but there are 7, 8 strings as well.
Standard: 5
Traditional: 4
Tension, affected by gauge and wind    Low, normal, and highLow tension is best for banjos because of their construction.

How to Change a Broken Banjo String

If your banjo string breaks and you probably have not fixed a broken string before, this step-by-step tutorial will guide you on fixing your banjo string.

Required tools

  • Pack of new strings
  • String winder
  • Wire cutters
  • Chromatic tuner
  • Pencil.

Step 1

The first thing to do is to take off the old string using your wire cutter and remove the tension by disconnecting it at the headstock and the tailpiece.

Step 2

Fix the new string after you remove the old string. Banjos use loop end strings. Every tailpiece is different, but there are some variations. There will be hooks at the back for each string and up at the leading end of the tailpiece. The strings pass through holes or notches to give them the appropriate downward before they head to the bridge.

Step 3

Allow the loop end to go through the bridge, but you don’t have to pass it straight to the bridge as it needs more downward pressure before, then back into the notch that gives the appropriate brake angle.

Step 4

At this step, bring the string to the headstock and then line up the pegs so the string can pass freely.

Step 5

Hold some tension on the strings back on the headstock and use your pencil to measure the right number of slack

Step 6

Finally, wind up the strings to go round the post about four to five times. The wound string can go round two or three times.

Best Strings for Banjo

The ‌strings you use for banjo play a vital role in the quality of sound your music produces. There are many banjo strings in the market, so here are the best banjo strings.

  1. Elixir Banjo Strings w Polyweb Coating
  2. D’Addario EJ55
  3. D’Addario Phosphor EJ69
  4. Ernie Ball Earthwood 5-String
  5. D’Addario EJ60 Nickel 5-String Banjo Strings
  6. GHS Strings PF140 J.D. Crowe Signature Series

The Differences Between a Guitar and a Banjo

These are some of the few differences between a guitar and a banjo

1.Guitar has up to 8 to 9 strings. Although the seven and eight strings are not as common as the six strings of guitars and others.Banjos have up to 6 strings. Also, even the six strings are not common. For some people, it is best to say a banjo has five strings because a five strings banjo is more common among people.
2.The guitar’s number of strings makes it more difficult to play.Banjo is much easier to play than a guitar; it has fewer strings, and the neck size is smaller than the guitar, making it easier to play
3.Another difference is in size. A guitar is much bigger than a banjo. Usually, the guitar strings are far from the fretboard, making it difficult for beginners to learn guitar fast.The size of a banjo is small, and young people can quickly learn to play music with a banjo
4.A high-quality guitar produces rich and better sound quality than a banjo.Banjos are less expensive.


You can use guitar strings on a banjo, which depends on many factors discussed above. But then, when it is not a matter of urgency, we suggest you get fresh new strings for your banjo instead of improvising with guitar strings. You may not get the best result.

Sourav Biswas

Music is my life and I love to play guitar so much. It's been a part of me for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a musical family, and my parents were always supportive of my passion for music. I am also a freelance writer who has been writing for over 10 years. I have written for both online and offline publications, including Amazon and Medium.

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