How Many Instruments Can Steve Martin Play?

Steve Martin plays at least one instrument, the banjo. That may not be a lot but his banjo-playing skills are very impressive and he is quite an accomplished banjo player, on top of being a successful comedian and movie star.  

Steve Martin started out as a stand-up comedian in the ’70s. During the early part of his career, Martin used the banjo as a prop for his comedy routine and performed satirical songs like “Ramblin’ Guy” and “Grandmother’s Song” on banjo.  

In an interview with ABC News, Steve Martin shared why he used the banjo as a prop during his routines. 

“The reason I played it on stage is because my act was so crazy I thought it’s probably good to show the audience I can do something that looks hard, because this act looks like I’m just making it up. I really wasn’t. I worked very hard on it.”

In an interview with Tony Trischka, he shared that his first real introduction to banjo was Kingston Trio’ folk music. “When I heard that in the background I just loved it. And I’d heard 4-string banjo—although that also came later,” Steve Martin shared. 

He also considered himself as self-taught. “I call myself self-taught, because I learned all the basics myself,” he said.  

He also got some help from high school friend John McEuen, who eventually became part of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. 

“When I got a little better, John would show me little—“Here’s how you play Doug’s Tune,” or here’s how you play something else. So I did learn some licks from him, but basically I was on my own, and that’s why I started writing songs,” he shared. 

In 2010, Martin’s first album, “The Crow,” won a Grammy award. He then released his second album in March, a collaboration with the Steep Canyon Rangers. 

Upon joining the Steep Canyon Rangers, he played a performance at the Capitol on July 4 in front of one of the largest bluegrass audiences ever. In 2015, Steve Martin was inducted into the National Banjo Hall of Fame. 

What is Steve Martin’s Music Style?

Steve Martin’s music style is bluegrass. Bluegrass is a musical genre that evolved in the early 1950s in the United States out of American traditional music, blues, jazz, and country music.

It has mixed roots in Scottish and Irish folk music traditions. What separates bluegrass from other genres is its focus on stringed instruments, specifically the banjo, acoustic guitar, and mandolin.

About Steve Martin 

Steve Martin is an American actor, comedian, producer, writer, and musician. He was born on August 14, 1945 in Waco, Texas. Martin started his career as a stand-up comedian in the 1970s. He is known for his roles in films such as The Jerk (1979), Roxanne (1987), Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987), Father of the Bride (1991), and Cheaper by the Dozen (2003). 

He has also won several awards for his work in television, including two Emmys, four Golden Globes, and a Peabody Award. Martin is also a Grammy-winning musician.


Steve Martin is an accomplished banjo player and has even won a Grammy award for his musical skills. He started out using the banjo as a prop for his stand-up comedy routine in the 1970s, but eventually got more serious about playing the instrument.

He even released his own albums and collaborated with the Steep Canyon Rangers. Steve Martin is without a doubt a talented musician.

Steve Martin Featured Image by: Forrest L. Smith, III, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons