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Banjo VSTS might not sound like the most popular type of virtual instruments, however, when you find yourself working on a folk track, country track or bluegrass, they are just what you need.
My opinion is that there are a couple of great options for banjo VSTs. There aren’t a ton of great options yet, but if you found yourself in a pinch, you’ve come to the right place.
The options above can be paired with banjo VSTs for certain types of music production. I personally love using harmonicas with banjos.
Our current top pick is the Jazz & Big Band 3 plugin from Garritan. You can view it at Sweetwater below.
You can read more about the best harmonica VSTs in this post here.
Before we dive into my favorites, let’s take a look at what makes a good banjo VST.
What Are Banjo VSTs?
Banjo VSTS are in simple terms, virtual banjos. Their job is to emulate a real banjo in every single way. This means from effects, to the dynamics, and to the strumming patterns. The best ones do a fantastic job of capturing an organic and rich tone.
What To Look For
Sound: You want to find and watch videos prior to purchasing banjo VSTs. The worst thing in the world is purchasing something only to end up hating the sound of it.
Dynamics: Make sure that the reviews on the VST mention the dynamics of it. You want these to sound as realistic as possible.
Memory: How much memory your VSTs take up is important as you don’t want to completely bog down your PC or MacBook. Some VSTS can take up enormous amounts of memory.
Price: The price is important as you don’t want to spend too much if you don’t have a lot of experience.
Who Would Use Banjo VSTS?
Modern producers who are looking to create folk, country or bluegrass-inspired music. You see a good amount of banjos being used in music today and the great thing is that they truly range from campfire songs to huge hits in music.
In my opinion, you can use banjo VSTS in a ton of different styles of music. Especially with today’s trend of modern production being kind of all over the place and unique. Look at a band like Mumford and Sons. They use the banjo in most of their music and they are gigantic.
If you’re someone who really enjoys the banjo, you also enjoy the mandolin VST. I recently compiled a list of these mandolin plugins I think you will enjoy.
My Experience With Banjo VSTS
I have had the opportunity to try out the few VSTS that I mention in this post. There aren’t a ton of options currently, however, I am happy with the ones that I mention.
I’ve had a lot of fun writing new songs and ideas using different VSTS and for whatever reason I have gravitated towards the banjo for certain songs. Obviously it’s not perfect for every song or idea, but you never know when you’re going to need it.
Best Banjo VSTS
Jazz & Big Band 3 – Garritan
Jazz & Big Band 3 is a great VST that is by the company Garritan. The thing about this plugin is that it contains way more than just a banjo. It’s a massive library that gives you a ton of bang for your buck.
With this being said, I actually really love the sounds in this library, especially the banjo. This VST is powered by the player Aria, so you don’t have to purchase an additional player like Kontakt.
This also works with all major DAWS so you won’t have to worry about it not being compatible. You can also use certain free DAWS with this VST.
The sound department is really great with the Jazz & Big Band 3. The banjo sounds pretty awesome, and you will find yourself also experimenting like I did with all of the other virtual instruments included.
Overall, you get a lot of bang for your buck here. If you’re only purchasing for a banjo VST it is still a good choice as you get a gigantic library. A lot of other options will be about half the price, but they only come with a banjo.
Mistfit Banjo VST – 8dio
I frequently find myself going back to 8dio VSTS. I think this plugin in particular is fairly realistic. Personally, I think this might be the overall best sounding banjo VST, however, people may find this pricy as it’s just one instrument.
You will need the full version of Kontakt 5.5 or better in order to use this. This could be considered a negative if you’re not a fan of the Kontakt player for some reason. I personally think Kontakt is the best player, however, it’s expensive.
Personally, I think this is the best sounding banjo VST currently available. The dynamics are completely on point and you can change up the styles of your songs big time with this.
Are you new to music production? Check out my favorite instruments to learn for production above.
This is a great plugin that I think you can get a lot of use out of. With that being said, I would only recommend purchasing this if you think you’ll be using it a lot.
Banjodoline – Free Banjo VST
Banjodoline is a free banjo VST and it is the only one that I have found that is currently worth it. This isn’t going to blow you away, but you get a few different stringed instruments that you can add to your arsenal.
If you’re someone who is looking for free options, this is actually a pretty great choice.
I mentioned above that I don’t believe this is going to blow you away with its sound. With that being said, it’s not bad at all for a free option. This is something you can download and start using instantly for free. It’s hard to complain when things are free in my opinion.
Overall I think this is a great choice for people looking to test the waters. It’s easy to use and it downloads pretty quickly as well. If you’re not happy with this, try out one of the paid options above.
The good and bad thing with banjo VSTS is that there aren’t a ton of options yet. There will be more and I do believe they will get better in sound. With that being said, the few options that I gave you I truly believe are the best options.
I hope this article helped you find a choice that fits your needs. Leave a comment below if you found this helpful.