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Jun 8, 2022 - 2:09:34 PM
196 posts since 11/8/2014

Have tried to learn chords from a page of basic chords. Played pieces with notation chords and taba chords. Have studied a bit of chord theory.
Chords go through my mind like water through a sieve. I have been called a walking encyclopedia of worthless knowledge, but when it comes to chords, they do not stick.
Suggestions???

Edited by - chas5131 on 06/08/2022 14:10:06

Jun 8, 2022 - 2:18:59 PM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

27545 posts since 8/3/2003

You don't say how long you've been playing. If you're still a beginner, time will help you understand chords and why they do what they do.
If you're past the beginner stage, know a few songs and understand the basics for banjo, then you should try playing with other people. Do you have a guitar friend who would play along with you? Is there a jam in your area you could attend? Do you have some sort of software that would help you playing and hearing chords?

I've found the best way to hear chords is to play in a group. If you play a bad chord, you will hear an off sound.

I presume you don't play guitar, so find some guitar picker that will show you basic chords: G, C, D, A, E and sit in a jam where you can see the rhythm guitar picker. Watch and listen. When he changes chords, you change with him. Eventually, you'll begin to hear the chord change but may not know exactly what is it. Later on you'll anticipate the change and get it right most of the time.

In other words, it takes time, effort and lots of listening, watching and doing.

Jun 8, 2022 - 2:35:06 PM
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ChunoTheDog

Canada

1599 posts since 8/9/2019
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quote:
Originally posted by chas5131

Have tried to learn chords from a page of basic chords. Played pieces with notation chords and taba chords. Have studied a bit of chord theory.
Chords go through my mind like water through a sieve. I have been called a walking encyclopedia of worthless knowledge, but when it comes to chords, they do not stick.
Suggestions???


Are you talking about knowing where chords live on the neck?

Or about knowing the individual notes that make up each chord?

Or both?

Start thinking about it as you play. Start with G, C, D and become proficient at find all those chords up n down the neck. Then add another chord, and another, etc etc 

Jun 8, 2022 - 3:18:07 PM
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196 posts since 11/8/2014

quote:
Originally posted by ChunoTheDog
quote:
Originally posted by chas5131

Have tried to learn chords from a page of basic chords. Played pieces with notation chords and taba chords. Have studied a bit of chord theory.
Chords go through my mind like water through a sieve. I have been called a walking encyclopedia of worthless knowledge, but when it comes to chords, they do not stick.
Suggestions???


Are you talking about knowing where chords live on the neck?

Or about knowing the individual notes that make up each chord?

Or both?

Start thinking about it as you play. Start with G, C, D and become proficient at find all those chords up n down the neck. Then add another chord, and another, etc etc 


Had started learing the notes that make the chords what they are.   Thank you for validating that.  

Jun 8, 2022 - 3:47:05 PM
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144 posts since 1/28/2017

Set in front of the TV , without picking and start with G , C, D7 . Just keep moving your fingers back and forth from each chord. When you can do the chords switching without looking and talking to someone at the same time add some rolls. This is how I was told to learn the chords. If you are looking for something else???

Jun 8, 2022 - 5:54:19 PM

beegee

USA

23022 posts since 7/6/2005

math,
Learn the basic chord forms for one key. Everything else follows rules for minors, aug, diminished etc, and you just move the chord up and down the neck. Of course, there's more to i than that, but that's basically it

Jun 8, 2022 - 6:45:55 PM

stevo58

Germany

66 posts since 12/29/2012

A few years ago I was informed I should buy a tenor and start playing trad jazz. The first band I played with handed me a set list of forty tunes with the (horn) keys, a week after I bought my tenor. I studied the songs, discovered they only used three keys, and most of it was I-IV-V. So I learned to play Eb, Ab, Bb; F,Bb,C; and Bb, Eb, and F in two or three positions. Only five chords. That got me through my first gig two weeks later.

Music uses patterns, and there are a handful of chord patterns commonly used in trad jazz. Learn it in one key, in two or three positions, then learn how to move it around.

After playing guitar for fifty years I found tenor in standard CGDA to be a very elegant and logical tuning. A little basic music theory is a huge help too.

Steven

Edited by - stevo58 on 06/08/2022 18:49:01

Jun 8, 2022 - 7:16:03 PM
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381 posts since 11/9/2021

CGDA - viola tuning.

Jun 8, 2022 - 8:44:27 PM

sethb

USA

654 posts since 2/16/2005

In my opinion and my own experience, it's more important to learn the basic fingerings for the chords (the finger patterns), and not worry initially about which notes are in the chords.  As has been said above, it also might be best to learn the chords in their natural groups, like C, F, G7, rather than trying to learn all the major chords and then all the minor chords, etc.  This way, you can play some songs right away.  Make sure each string sounds clearly and cleanly as you play each chord, and that none of your fingers are muffling or damping any strings.  After you learn most of the basic fingerings near the nut, work on changing from one chord to another quickly and accurately.  This will take some time and patience until you develop the muscle memory and dexterity needed to accomplish this.  But as they say, "Rome wasn't built in a day!"

After you've reached those goals, you can start working your way up the neck with chord inversions, which will give you many more options for selecting and fingering chords -- and you still won't necessarily need to know which notes are in which chords.  Only when you begin learning how to play chord melody, by putting the melody note on the 4th string (that is, putting the melody note as the top note of the chord, similar to what pianists do with their right hand), do you need to start worrying about the notes in chords. 

If it's a banjo you're playing, get yourself a very basic Mel Bay chord book, for either tenor or plectrum banjo.  If you're using a CGBD tuning, a 5-string banjo chord book is also OK for plectrum banjo chords, just ignore the 5th string notation.  DON'T buy one of those "1,001 Chords for Tenor Banjo" books, which will only confuse, overwhelm and/or depress you.  Just worry about learning the major, minor and seventh chords to start with -- that's 36 chords and more than enough to get you going playing songs, although there are really only about six basic finger patterns to learn in order to make all of those chords.  Later on, you can add some 6th, 9th and diminished or augmented chords.  These Mel Bay books will also show you the groups of basic chords, with a fingering diagram for each chord as well as a picture of what your fingers should look like when fingering the chord. Make your fingers look like his fingers if at all possible, it's very important!  Any music store should carry these Mey Bay books, and they're also available from Amazon for about $10-15.  

Good luck to you, and please let us know how you're coming along.  SETH  

Edited by - sethb on 06/08/2022 20:54:49

Jun 9, 2022 - 6:34:20 AM

465 posts since 10/8/2018

A little ear training is all you need, my friend.

Why not start by learning to play a bunch of three-chord songs in an easy key, like C or G?

Just hum the tune quietly to yourself and try to find the chord on your banjo that best matches.

Here’s a list of a hundred you can try…

flipandzeke.com/100-songs-you-...e-chords/

You will find if you keep at it for a while that your ear will tell you which chord is right and which is wrong…


Good luck,

Will

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Jun 9, 2022 - 6:59:07 AM
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2839 posts since 5/2/2012
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A few months ago I took out my bass guitar, one of my failed attempts at learning a stringed instrument after I retired. The bass is tuned in 5ths, just like a tenor banjo. This time I put my music theory knowledge to use and discovered the patterns, like others have suggested for the tenor.

You almost never ever play chords on a bass. Rather, you play scales or argpeggios. The notes of the chord(s) are in the scales/arpeggios. But in this conversation, what is important is that when I learned a pattern for a major scale, I found that it is a "movable" shape. So if you learn the C major scale, you just slide down 2 frets, use the same fingering pattern and you have a D major scale. Learn the major chord shape/pattern, then, and you can move them up (or down).

So far I've just learned the major and minor chord patterns, but I anticipate learning other scales (and eventually inversions) will be much the same -- learn the patterns.

Edited by - thisoldman on 06/09/2022 07:13:53

Jun 9, 2022 - 2:23:45 PM

5121 posts since 4/7/2008

I think it’s important to understand the chord you are learning before you try to learn it. Let’s say you are trying to learn a certain C7 form. Well, right away you know it’s a dominant chord that usually leads to F, F7, or Fm. The notes of that chord are C, E, G, & Bb. If you have to eliminate one (or two) of the notes of that chord, the C or G are usually the best choices. Now, with a basic understanding of the notes on the neck, I’ll be able to understand the new C7, and consequently that new shape will stick with me.

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