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Tenor Banjo Lesson - Adding "Pizazz" to Basic Major and Minor Chords

Friday, December 12, 2014

This lesson will provide tenor banjo players with a method to make repetitive chords sound a lot more "colorful". The techniques can be very useful, especially when you encounter multiple measures of the same chord. Many musicians may refer to the techniques as vamps, or passing chords.The lesson covers major and minor chords, using D major and D minor as examples.

IMPORTANT - The examples can be applied to any chord using the same forms demonstrated. As such, the lesson is restricted to using only fingered chords with no open strings.

The technique can also be used with different rhythms, strokes and tempos, as demonstrated in the accompanying video.



Forms for D major chord movements

2 2 4 5  --->  2 2 4 4  --->  2 2 4 2  --->  2 2 4 4

Dmajor          Dmaj7           D6                Dmaj7

Forms for D minor chord movements

2 2 3 5  --->  2 2 3 4  --->  2 2 3 3  --->  2 2 3 2

Dminor         A+7/D            Dm7             Dm6


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Playing Since: 1950
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Created 4/8/2006
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Mike Currao plays tenor banjo, guitar, ukulele and mandolin. He is presently teaching Tenor Banjo on the internet via SKYPE. His musical career of 50 years includes theater, recordings, radio, TV, concerts and philharmonic performances. In September 2014 Mike was inducted into the American Banjo Hall of Fame in OKC for Instruction and Education. He is the lead player for the Gulf Coast Banjo Society in Venice FL, and also performs with the All American Banjo Team. In addition, he enjoys playing tenor banjo for many dixieland bands and theater groups throughout Southwest Florida. To learn more about Mike, and to review sound and video bytes, please visit his website at

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