My Trumpet to Banjo blog
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Tenor banjo chord
My proudest achievement! A useful and very extensive list of tenor banjo chords, in an efficient text-based format. (If you count transpositions, it contains well over 5,500 chords in just two pages!) I am always updating it, so if you have any suggestions, please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(nut position) for tenor banjo
I have seen several fingering systems in use for playing extended scales, but for now I am only going to limit myself to nut position scales, i.e. scales that stay as close to the nut as possible. Your left hand only moves toward the bridge when necessary for the highest notes. This document has fingering charts for 17 two-octave scales in nut position, plus three exercises to practice them (two scale exercises and one arpeggio exercise).
I am well aware that there are other scale-fingering systems, often superior to the scales in the above nut position sheet. In case you're interested in comparing systems, Ive also made a triple scale exercise sheet, with three different fingering systems in all keys. The first system is adapted from Mel Bay's Complete Tenor Banjo Method, and is similar to the nut position scales mentioned above. The second is adapted from Tim Allans Notebook (a book which I have found wonderfully informative). The third is a two-octave scale in a fixed position, using all four strings.
One-octave major scales
(5 versions) for tenor banjo
One of the things that confuses me about the tenor banjo is that you have SO MANY fingering possibilities for single-note melodies (including scales and improvisation). You can play high up on the neck (near the bridge), or stay close to the nut, or start near the nut and shift up towards the bridge. Too many choices! So I have simplified things, at least for present. This practice sheet is for scales of just ONE octave, in 5 versions: (1) nut position, i.e. as close to the nut as possible, usually with some open strings; (2) fingering the first tonic note with the forefinger; (3) starting with the pinkie; (4) starting with the ring finger; and (5) starting with the middle finger. Of these, I am currently only practicing numbers (1), (2) and (3). The other two seem to fall less naturally under my fingers.
A set of exercises for practicing common chord changes. At the moment, it only has a couple of pages of exercises, but more will be added with time.
Chord-melody practice sheet
(major chords with 1-3-5-8 in the melody)
Two-, three- and four-note chords with do-mi-sol-do in the soprano.
Chord-melody practice sheet
(major chords with 1-8, 3-10 and 5-12 in the melody)
Two-, three- and four-note chords with do-do, mi-mi and sol-sol in the soprano.
Finger-independence exercise (1): Moving from string
This exercise is designed to help practice moving a single finger between strings, completely independent of the other fingers.
Finger-independence exercise (2): Find the string
As a relative beginner, I often find myself putting my fingers down on the wrong string, even if I have other fingers already in place on the fingerboard. This exercise was designed to help improve my sense of exactly WHERE the strings are.
Finger-independence exercise (3): Chord
An exercise intended to help cement a new (or old) chord in your motor memory. It can also help strengthen your fingers. This exercise is by no means original with me I think Ive seen it described in a number of different books, websites, etc.
Here is a chord chart I made for myself to help me learn melody chords (notes associated with chords). It is presented in both regular notation and tablature. It is very incomplete, but I like the format. Maybe someday Ill add to it....
Three-note chord practice sheet
I wanted to learn the common three-note chords (on strings 2, 3 and 4), so I made this sheet to help me practice. It has also helped me to learn the names of the notes in the higher positions on the second string.
Traditional cello positions, as applied to the tenor banjo
On the violoncello, they think of positions instead of frets. I sometimes find it useful to think this way on the banjo too.
Two-, three- and four-note chord practice sheet
Kind of like the Three-note chord practice sheet, but with 2-, 3- and 4-note chords.