The chord diagrams I have made for banjo also have the notes written in at the top of the strings; don’t worry too much about the actual notes – I’ve added them in for interest and so you can see what notes are in each chord.
On a stringed instrument such as a banjo (or guitar or ukulele), you make the notes by pressing the strings down behind the frets, to ‘shorten’ the string and make the sound higher.
A chord is just a set of notes played together to make a certain sound; each chord has a name - G, D7, (D7th) Em (E minor) etc. Chord formations are a way of making those notes to form the chord on the fingerboard.
The chord diagrams (sometimes called Tabs) show you a suggested way to make the chord with your left hand. You need to press down each string where shown, close behind the fret (it's especially important on a banjo to get close behind the fret, as the frets are quite far apart and the note won't sound good if you are too far away - you may need to really stretch out your fingers for the harder chords!).
The diagrams give suggested fingering for the chord (so the 1 in the circle is your index finger, 2 is middle finger, 3 is ring finger and 4 is little finger). Form the chord with your left hand and strum slowly across all the strings with your right hand, checking that each strings ring clearly. Adjust your left hand fingers if necessary.
The Chords on this Site:
I have put the chords in levels so that you can start with a couple of easy chords and play some songs straight away, then gradually add more chords as you progress.
There are many ways of making the chords on a banjo, but I have included mainly the “first position” chords which use the first few frets, and I’ve tried to avoid chords that need too much stretching to reach all the notes.
I have concentrated on a selection of chords that can be used for a range of songs. There are many other chords to learn as you expand your range, but these will get you started.
The Song Sheets
These are in .PDF format; you can download them onto your computer or tablet and read them direct or print them. The chords are printed above the words (lyrics) so you can see when to change chords. I have done the chords in blue so they show up, but they are fine to print or copy in black and white too.
The songs sheets all have chord diagrams at the side, and they should also have the timing for the song (e.g. 4/4 - ONE, 2,3,4 etc.) and the starting note (to start singing).