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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Re: chords for different tunings

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:

dtstewart64 - Posted - 04/28/2022:  07:00:51

I'm referring back here to an archived topic and discussion of chords for different tunings:
I've come back to clawhammer banjo after around 20 years. Originally, I didn't encounter talk of chords when and where I was learning then, but I sure see lots of ref's to them now ... maybe because via the Internet I'm encountering lots of people who learned guitar first (? I've wondered). I am intrigued by the idea that I could figure out how to play a tune better if I knew the most likely chords for the various keys in the different tunings (I've heard certain chord numbers and have that written down somewhere). BTW I don't use a capo if that makes any difference. In the archived discussion I saw ref's to chord charts people submitted, but unless I missed something, I didn't see the actual charts. Would anybody who has such charts please post them if they wouldn't mind (or point out that I'm blind as a bat and indicate that they are actually still there somewhere? Thanks very much.

A Drum On A Stick - Posted - 04/28/2022:  07:06:40

These charts were still on carl's post, but the thumbnails were broken:



Edited by - A Drum On A Stick on 04/28/2022 07:07:25

dtstewart64 - Posted - 04/28/2022:  07:10:27

Thanks very much!! I love the name Dr. Cranium (lol).

Bob in CT - Posted - 04/28/2022:  07:49:07

Check out Very straightforward.

dtstewart64 - Posted - 04/28/2022:  08:16:58

It is very straightforward, thanks. Have you ever found any that addressed the matter of chords in different tunings - e.g A, "A modal" G, G Modal, C (or "drop C) and Double C, D and Double D?

Bob in CT - Posted - 04/28/2022:  08:54:53

You may not find them all in one place. If you Google banjo chords in each of those tunings, you should find them.

KCJones - Posted - 04/28/2022:  09:37:44

Rather than have someone just tell you the chords and using rote memorization to learn them, why not derive them yourself? It's really quite simple.

A chord is 3 (or more) notes played in unison. A major chord consists of the Root, 3rd interval, and 5th interval. For a G chord, this is G-B-D, and it's always G-B-D no matter what tuning you're using.

So what's a G chord in G tuning? Obviously, you have G-B-D notes without fretting anything. No matter where you are on the fretboard, if you fret the strings to make the G-B-D notes ring out, it's a G chord. So you have 0-0-0-0, or you have 5-4-3-5, or you have 9-7-8-9, and on and on.

Knowing this, what's a G chord in double-C? Well, it's the exact same process. Just fret the strings so you get the G-B-D notes to ring out. Keep in mind, you only need to fret the strings that you're plucking/strumming. And if you're playing in an ensemble, you often don't need to play every note in the chord because someone else might already be playing it (E.G. you can play a 7th chord by lowering the root note 2 steps, and the root note will be played by someone else in the group so you don't need to, or you can play just the Root and 5th and ignore the 3rd while playing rhythm behind someone's lead)

Once you know what a chord is, and what notes are in a specific chord, all you need to do is find those notes on the fretboard in whatever tuning you're using. You don't need a chord chart, you don't need to memorize any chords. Just play the notes, and the chords will appear.

If you want to make a minor chord, just find the major chord and lower the 3rd interval note down the neck by one fret. If you want to make a 7th chord, you can raise the 5th interval by 3 frets or alternatively lower the root by 2 frets. You can do this with all the other 'jazz chords' too, just start with the major chord and modify it as needed, but majors/minors/7ths will get you 99% of what you need.

Edited by - KCJones on 04/28/2022 09:42:07

dtstewart64 - Posted - 04/28/2022:  11:34:19

I'll give it a try, thanks.

carlb - Posted - 04/29/2022:  04:09:12


Originally posted by KCJones

Rather than have someone just tell you the chords and using rote memorization to learn them, why not derive them yourself?

That's exactly how my chord chart (pictured above) came into being.

banjo roo - Posted - 04/29/2022:  15:08:13

Theos' chord generator is a pretty good resource (link below). I used to use it a lot. But these days I prefer to work out the chords manually.

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