Lesson #033, Naming Notes on the Banjo

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lesson #033, Naming Notes on the Banjo

Hi Everyone,

We are going to get back to the fingerboard in this lesson and name all of the notes on the fingerboard. Learning all the notes on the fingerboard is very important because of there importance to chords and scales in upcoming lessons.

There are twelve notes in music. They are....

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

If you look under the numbers 2, 5, 7, 10 and 12 you will notice two different named notes . They consist of sharps(#) and flats(b). For example.... under the number 2 you see A# and Bb. These are the exact same notes! They sound exactly the same! That holds true for the rest of the notes under 5, 7, 10 and 12 as well.
These notes are called enharmonic. The only reason these notes have two different names is for reading and writing sheet music. Thats it. They are used in sheet music to make the notes easier to look at on paper.

The important thing to remember about the system above is that there are no sharps or flats between B and C....... or between E and F.

Before we apply all of this to the fingerboard I want to liken the fingerboard to a staircase. You can climb the staircase from the nut to the 22nd fret or you can descend the staircase from the 22nd fret to the nut. Remember that the distance between each fret is a half step. We are going to climb and descend in half steps.

I will get into placing these twelve notes on the fingerboard in the next lesson.

Rock On,


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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.