Standard Bluegrass Banjo Chords:

Denis LePage

String >

5

4

3

2

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fret # >

1

 

I

 

 

 

 

 

I

 

2

M

 

 

R

I

 

 

M

 

 

3

 

 

 

 

M

 

 

 

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

P

 

 

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 C chord

D Chord

D 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

I

 

I

 

 

 

 

 

2

M

 

 

M

 

 

R

M

 

 

R

3

R

 

 

P

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

F  Chord

E Chord

E minor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

I

I

I

I

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

 

 

 

 

I

 

 

 

 

4

 

 

 

M

 

 

I

I

I

I

5

 

 

 

R

 

 

P

 

 

 

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Chord

G Chord

B Chord

Note: 

I = "index finger", M = middle, R = Ring, P = Pinky,

The finger used is placed in the space to the left of the string it is depressing in the above diagrams.

The open strings form  a G chord.

The Chromatic Scale and the Major Chords

In this section you can learn how to find any major chord using the chromatic scale

and the 3 major chord formations on the banjo.

The Chromatic Scale:

Using the 3rd String  as a reference point,

I have written in the notes of the Chromatic scale on the fingerboard below.

G

(the open 3rd string)

Fret >

1

G#

 

 

For our purposes we use sharps and flats interchangeably.

2

A

 

 

Therefore

A# = B flat.

3

A#

 

 

G# = A flat

4

B

 

 

C# = D flat

5

C

 

 

and so on.

6

 

C#

 

 

7

 

D

 

 

8

 

D#

 

 

9

 

E

 

 

10

 

F

 

 

11

 

F#

 

 

12

 

G

 

 

The Major Scale:

Any Major scale can be formed by starting anywhere in the Chormatic scale and

applying the following formula:

Interval between the notes

Starting

2 frets

2 frets

1 fret

2 frets

2 frets

2 frets

1 fret

G

A

B

C

D

E

F#

G

Or starting with:

C

D

E

F

G

A

B

C

Or starting with:

A

B

C#

D

E

F#

G#

A

The Notes can be numbered:

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

1

A MAJOR CHORD is formed when notes # 1, 3 and 5  in the major scale are played together.

If you can remember:

 the chord shapes below and the chromatic scale above you can find

any major chord just by repositioning the chord shape on the neck.

Here are the 3 Major chord shapes:

String >

5

4

3

2

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fret # >

1

 

I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

M

 

 

I

 

 

I

I

I

I

3

R

 

 

P

 

M

 

 

 

 

4

 

 

 

R

 

 

P

 

 

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

F-Shape Chord

D-Shape Chord

Bar-Shape Chord

"F" at this position

"D" at this position

"A" at this positon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

I

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

M

 

 

R

 

 

 

3

 

I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

M

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

R

 

 

P

 

 

 

I

I

I

I

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"G" at this position

"C" at this position

"C" at this position

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

 

 

 

I

 

 

 

 

 

5

 

 

 

 

M

 

 

 

 

6

 

 

I

 

R

 

 

P

 

 

 

 

7

 

M

 

 

 

 

 

 

I

I

I

I

8

R

 

 

P

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"C" at this position

"E" at this position

"D" at this position

The Minor Scale:

For our puposes, the Minor Scale is the same as the Major Scales but with

the 3rd note played 1 fret flat.

Interval between the notes

Starting

2 frets

1fret

2

2 frets

2 frets

2 frets

1 fret

G

A

B

C

D

E

F#

G

Or starting with:

C

D

E

F

G

A

B

C

Or starting with:

A

B

C#

D

E

F#

G#

A

The Notes can be numbered:

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

1

A MINOR CHORD is formed when notes # 1, 3 and 5  in the minor scale are played together.

Here are the 3 Minor chord shapes:

String >

5

4

3

2

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fret # >

1

M

I

 

 

 

 

 

I

 

2

 

 

 

I

 

 

I

I

 

I

3

R

 

 

P

R

 

M

P

 

 

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fm-Shape Chord

Dm-Shape Chord

Barm-Shape Chord

"Fm" at this position

"Dm" at this position

"Am" at this positon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

M

 

I

R

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

M

I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I

 

5

R

 

 

P

 

 

 

I

I

 

I

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7