Lesson #034, Naming Notes on the Banjo II

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lesson #034, Naming Notes on the Banjo II

Hi All......

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#
A Bb B C Db D Eb E F Gb G Ab

Lets place these notes on the fingerboard. First we must go back to the tuning of the banjo. The 4th string open is a D note. The third sting open is a G note. The second string open is a B note. The first string open is another D note. The fifth string is another G note.

Looking at the numbers above..... the distance between each number and their corresponding notes beneath them are a half step apart!......... we know that the distance between each fret is a half step apart as well....... now we can run these notes up and down the staircase!

Lets start with the fourth string open... a D note. lets climb the fretboard now in half steps. The fourth string fretted at the first fret is a D# or an Eb. The fourth string fretted at the second fret is an E note. Fourth string fretted at the third fret is an F note. Fourth fretted at the fourth fret is an F# or a Gb. And this continues all the way up the fretboard with this method until you come to another D note at the twelveth fret! Thats were the octave occurs .... if you dont remember what an octave is you can go back to the prior lesson on octaves. Then the notes on the Fourth string at the tweleve fret start all over again.

We can use this system on the rest of the strings as well. Start at the third string open ... a G note. Climb the staircase in half steps.... The third string fretted at the first fret is a G# or an Ab .... the third string fretted at the the second fret is an A note.... and so on all the way up the fingerboard. Again the G note is going to happen at the twelve fret and so on.

Use this same method with the remaining strings and practice fretting all the notes on every fret and naming them as you go along. Then will be able to name all of the notes on the fingerboard!

Pretty Cool Huh!


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In 2009, at the age of 60, I decided to learn to play the 5-string banjo. I searched the internet for lessons and struck gold when I found David Cavage's free banjo lessons at Musicmoose.org. His video hosting site revver.com was having some serious problems at the time so I downloaded as many of the lessons as I could whenever they became available. Revver.com stopped operating shortly afterwards and, sadly, Musicmoose.org is no more. I contacted David early 2020 and he told me he no longer had the original master videos and feared they may have been lost forever. This amazing course of free banjo lessons, from absolute beginner to advanced player, is too good to be forgotten, so this is my attempt to get David's work back out there again so that he can teach, inspire and spread the joy of banjo pickin' to more generations of budding musicians, just like he did with me. I've rounded up all the Moose stuff I could find and put it here, so start pickin' and enjoy!-------MooseHerder.