Lesson #108, Relative Minor Chords

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lesson #108, Relative Minor Chords

Hi All,

Lets discuss Relative Minor Chords now. In order to fully understand the relative minor chords, you should have a good grasp on scale and chord construction. If you don't quite remember those lessons, you should go back to those beginner lessons and refresh yourself before heading into these lessons on the relative minors.

Just as the Major "scale" has its relative counterpart, that being the Natural Minor "scale",a Major "chord" has its counterpart as well, that being its Relative minor "chord". An easy way to find the relative minor of any Major chord is to find the Root of either the 4th, 3rd, or 2nd string positions. Then to find the relative minor note, all you have to do is drop back 3 frets (3 half steps).....to find the note that names the relative minor chord associated with the Major chord you are working on. You can also look to the relative minor chord by finding the sixth degree of any Major scale, this method will name the relative minor chord as well.

Lets just look at term relative or "natural" minor for a moment. I like to think about this term as in a Mother having identical twin babies. The babies are very close, hard to tell apart, but none the less, they are different. Lets say the twins grow up a bit, and the twins want to play a trick on someone, by switching themselves in whatever trick they are trying to play. We can do the same thing in music with the Major and Relative minors..............We can substitute one for the other when we want to. These substitutions will play an important roll in understanding Bluegrass, Blues, Rock, Jazz, or any other type of music you wish to pursue on the Banjo.

It would be good practice for you to find all the Brothers and Sisters of the twelve major chords. Its the Natural thing to do!

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.