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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Tenor Banjo: How Do You Play C Chord?


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/146051

beezaboy - Posted - 04/21/2009:  17:29:32


Tenor Banjo tuned CGDA. Second position C Chord little finger on the A string at the 7th fret. Do you bar the D and G string at the 5th fret with middle finger. This is McNeil Form III. Or do you use 4th and middle finger to depress the D and G string at the 5th fret. I have barred the 5th fret for many years but seems to make chord changes more difficult. So I have begun spending a good deal of practice time training myself not bar but to use my middle and fourth finger to get the D and G string at the 5th fret. Problem is my little finger drags the 4th finger towards it thus sharping the D string. What do you do? Why?

Beezaboy

Dogface - Posted - 04/21/2009:  18:25:30


Beez,

I have always played it the McNeil way and I think other teachers teach the same. I just tried it the other way and it was no problem for me but I personally don't see the advantage. It may well have to do with what chord or alteration comes next. I could see that. Interesting question

Thanks,
Mark

If there are no dogs in heaven then when I die I want to go where they went...

Will Rogers

beezaboy - Posted - 04/21/2009:  19:14:22


Mark -
Let's see if I have this right. Go from B flat first position little finger on A string at 5th fret. Jump to C7 second position at 7th fret. Stuff like that it seems like the two finger III is more facile (if that's the right word??)
Best,

Beezaboy

Polle Flaunoe - Posted - 04/22/2009:  01:57:34


I use three different 4-string chord settings for the second position of a C Chord:

Frets 4-5-5-3
Fingers 3-4-5-2

Frets 4-5-5-7
Fingers 2-3-3-5

Frets 7-5-5-7
Fingers 1-2-2-4 (or 3-2-2-4)

And yes - finger #1 is the thumb - I use this for appr. 60% of all my chord settings.

Regards

Polle

Dogface - Posted - 04/22/2009:  07:19:21


Beez,

I'd say whatever works best for you. I had never considered the fingering you are using until I started using some of Tim Allan's stuff where he will change fingering to facilitate movement to another chord or variation.

Polle; I had never seen a banjo player use a thumb to fret a string before...some on guitar. I had always considered the index finger to be No. 1 counting up to the pinkie as No. 4. The distal end of my thumb stay on the center of the back of the neck. This way I can more easily keep my fingers vertical on the fingerboard for cleaner playing. Learned this long ago, but I've seen some very good players have their thumb wrapped around. I have big fingers, though, and need to be as accurate as possible on fretting a string.

Thanks,
Mark

If there are no dogs in heaven then when I die I want to go where they went...

Will Rogers

Polle Flaunoe - Posted - 04/22/2009:  08:46:01


Mark,

Do study highly skilled tenor players f.ex. at YouTube - you´ll notice, that most of these most of the time have their thumb lifted up over the fretboard - like a violin player.

In fact - the best left hand grip is having the thumb "lifted up" and fingers #2-5 placed as parallel to the strings as possible - the so-called violin grip.

Your grip - with the thumb placed at the underside of the neck and the rest of the fingers pointing perpendicular to the strings - is in fact meant/best suited for a classical guitar (or a plectrum banjo).

Regards

Polle

Compass56 - Posted - 04/22/2009:  09:54:38


I know I'm in the minority here, but I don't use the backbent barre for the interior strings for the Form III C chord. I play the C note (fifth fret, third string) with the second finger and the G note (fifth fret, second string) with my third finger. That way always felt more natural to me than the traditional three finger approach to that chord.


Edited by - Compass56 on 04/23/2009 16:28:40

beezaboy - Posted - 04/22/2009:  13:07:28


Polle:
Thumb on string??? That is absolute heresy. You will have every last tenor banjo instructional book writer from the 1920's rolling over in their respective graves. The thumb shall be carefully placed upon the very underside of the neck and the four remaining fingers shall arch deftly above the fingerboard where they shall dance smoothly whilst noting "Flight of the Bumblebee"!!

Beezaboy

neplusultra - Posted - 04/22/2009:  17:07:29


Depends on where I've come from and where I'm headed next...as DogFace infers...once you hit a certain level of proficiency it's pretty easy to do it either way...by that I mean with 1-2-2-4 or 1-2-3-4 (gotta agree with beezaboy...keep the thumb out of this) I don't think that Compass is in the minority at all...I would say that 80% of the time I use four fingers on this chord as I'm likely going to a G7 chord with a D in the top note using a 2-1-3-4 configuration and it just feels right.

beezaboy - Posted - 04/22/2009:  18:57:50


NPU - Thanks for that. I'm going to doggedly continue to practice the 4 finger McNeil III until I can do it. Right now on the C chord pinkie drags 4th finger down towards it making the G note on the 2nd or D string go sharp and discordant and annoying and frustrating. It's why we play.

Beezaboy

Polle Flaunoe - Posted - 04/23/2009:  00:30:25


John,

As an anarchist and atheist I´m proud of the description "heresy" (I had to look it up in my dictionary).

This thread goes for tenor banjo only - so that´s what I am and was writing about.

Do study the tenor masters at YouTube or elsewhere - you´ll notice, that vast majority of them most of the time are having their thumb sticking up in the air at the side of the neck - in the same way as a violinist, mandolin or guitar player.

Plus they keep the rest of the fingers as parallel as possible with the strings. And keep them as flat as possible like a violin or mandolin player.

So much for (tenor) banjo books claiming otherwise.

BTW - you can´t use a barre finger when playing this way. But why bother - you have four fingers for four strings - you don´t need to use barre´s.

Regarding the use of the thumb for chord settings on a tenor - normally it´s just sticking up in the air - why not use it? My method often frees one or two fingers - I´ll use these for adding "colorations" and/or small scales within the chord.

When performing at workshops, masterclasses etc. I´ll not use my thumb when demonstrating tecniques and styles or instructing the participants - only when playing soloes. And let me tell you - so far every tenor player, who has experienced my personal way of playing, has been envious - LOL! They all say - of course - why didn´t we learn to use our thumbs?

Kindly regards

Polle



will cramer - Posted - 04/23/2009:  13:11:59


I am almost afraid to wade into this one...I had to think on this a while but I guess I do the C chord both ways. Now I started out doing it with all four fingers so I had to train my hand to also do it with the bar...it seems that I will do the fingering that works best for where I am in the chord sequence. Luckily I have noticed (and this goes for all of us) you can learn two different (and somtimes opposing) techniques and after a while go back and forth without problems. As far as the thumb goes I had a funny thing happen just the other day...While reading a tenor banjo solo my thumb came around (without me asking it) to play the D note at the second fret of the 4th string as part of the G major chord that has strings 2 and 3 open only because I was to also play the D note on string 1 at the 5th fret. I'm still not sure how I feel about this. As far as hand position I'm fairly open and enjoyed what Polle had to say about it. I like my left hand to be flexible. I don't demand that it always keep a perfect form and this way I find I have less tension.
Thx, Will. ( )--::

beezaboy - Posted - 04/23/2009:  14:32:19


Polle & Will - I'm pretty sure fretting a sting on the tenor banjo with the thumb is a felony.

Beezaboy

Polle Flaunoe - Posted - 04/24/2009:  00:37:21


John,

As a true anarchist I can´t commit a felony - as I´m making my own rules and laws - LOL!

Take a look at this video - you´ll see both these fantastic musicians use the violin grip (thumb´s up and the rest of the fingers are as parallel to the strings as possible) - plus they are both using their thumb for some chord settings.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ff1hSDnCw9c

And then try imagine, that they were playing tenor banjo - do you see my point?

Regarding violin grip and thumb-up on banjos - do study most of these skilled guys - even Mr. Wachter himself shows his thumb frequently- LOL!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzDU15nyFkU

Kindly regards

Polle

will cramer - Posted - 04/24/2009:  11:04:48


I will learn to live with the shame...( )--::

ibgrimme - Posted - 05/15/2009:  16:09:21


There's about 1/2" more reach with the pinkie by using the thumb, w/o warmup.

Hey all you people that tryin'' to sleep
I''m out to make it with my midnight dream, yeah

Polle Flaunoe - Posted - 05/16/2009:  01:53:26


Thanks Matt,

At least / at last someone tried using his brain instead of books and hear-sayings.

Beside the wider grip you´ll also get the benefit of having an extra finger for putting in some colorations or inside scales.

Regards

Polle

Polle Flaunoe - Posted - 05/16/2009:  02:43:57


John & Others,

I´ve gone back to your original question, John - and have analysed the mentioned problem and combined it with a wide range of chord progressions - both "standards" and much more advanced.

After that I´ll absolutely recommend a barré at 5th fret using your middle finger. Also - if you have typical male hands/fingers plus a tenor banjo with the usual slim neck - it´s almost impossible to place all four fingers so close at the fretboard.

Forget about books and hear-sayings - use your mind instead - find your own favorite settings etc. - it´s so important to play in a relaxed way without stressing your physics- only then you´ll obtain a "smooth" playing - LOL!

Kindly regards and Good Luck

Polle



beezaboy - Posted - 05/16/2009:  03:52:17


Thank you Polle. I've always barred C at the 5th fret and only recently have I tried 4 finger chord (thumbs NEVER count) So, I am practicing and practicing it 'til I get it because the chord changes after the C seem smoother to me. Same with the B flat. I'm doing stretching exercises too to see if that improves the mastering of this chord.

Beezaboy

ibgrimme - Posted - 05/16/2009:  16:23:02


Polle, I looked at it this way when I started getting into making these chord shapes- if what I see in a book causes me physical pain to form then it's not a pleasure to fool with the instrument. A lot are easy, some are wrist twisters. I have rather large hands, some fat pad fingers that have been smashed by manual work over the years, and some of these chords simply bring on carpal tunnel problems. Some of the ways I have to do them may not be "book right", but i still get the sound it calls for.

This is NOT meant as an insult, slam, or anything like that directed at any one else's methods, just sometimes we gotta do what we gotta do

Hey all you people that tryin'' to sleep
I''m out to make it with my midnight dream, yeah

Dogface - Posted - 05/16/2009:  19:24:51


These harder chord forms should not be tossed. It comes in time and there's a reason that they are taught. It takes time and practice to do some of them and there are some that you likely have not even seen yet. I'm now trying to get smooth on, shall I say, reverse wrist chord forms where it takes a twist of the wrist to get the fingers falling in directions they are not used to or natural. Good players can do all these without even thinking about it, so don't limit yourself. They are also mandatory for good improv.

Thanks,
Mark

If there are no dogs in heaven then when I die I want to go where they went...

Will Rogers


Edited by - Dogface on 05/16/2009 19:26:54

beezaboy - Posted - 05/16/2009:  23:57:17


Yes. C7 at the 7th fret is a wrist twister (CGDA).
C major at the 7th I'm doing 1 @4 2,3 @5; and 4(pinkie) @ 7 instead of the barre at 5 with 2. I like it. Can't do it right every time but with practice who knows.

Beezaboy

Polle Flaunoe - Posted - 05/17/2009:  01:43:51


John,

A special one for you (and other tenor players):

At the end of a chorus you may have to play C-G7 or C-G7-C.

Try expand the G7 to a G7/6/b9 (the slash means add). Play the 2 chords like this:

C
Frets 4-5-5-7
Fingers 1-2-2-4

G7/6/b9
Frets 5-4-6-7
Fingers 2-1-3-4

I use this combination very much - only I´ll normally use different chord inversions.

Regards

Polle

Dogface - Posted - 05/17/2009:  12:45:07


Polle,

Cool...I like that last one. I also like just the G9 by moving the pinkie over to cover the A on second string in addition to the E.

Thanks,
Mark

If there are no dogs in heaven then when I die I want to go where they went...

Will Rogers

Polle Flaunoe - Posted - 05/18/2009:  07:38:34


Mark & John & Others,

Now try this version of the same chord combination.

This time we´ll take a F-C7-F ending, expand this and use some other inversions.

Play

F (basic chord)
Frets 5-5-7-8
Fingers 1-1-3-4

gliss with a fast tremolo up to

C7/6/b9
Frets 10-9-11-12
Fingers 2-1-3-4 (find this fingering at the start of the gliss)

and within one stroke back to the original
F (basic chord)

I guess, that you´ll love this ending in the same way as I (and my fans) do - LOL!

Kindly regards

Polle




Polle Flaunoe - Posted - 05/18/2009:  07:59:03


Hi All,

There seems to be something rotten in the State of Denmark today - or at the BHO server - pics are missing and bold script are presented in a wrong way.

But anyway - regarding my last posting and a contained and fantastic sounding F-C7/6/b9-F chord progression - try listening to this simple rehearsal version of Some of These Days - especially my banjo in both rhythm and soloes - you´ll experience this progression several times.

http://www.banjohangout.org/myhango...usicid=12519

Regards

Polle

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