Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the Banjo lesson: Basic Major Banjo Chords

I’ll show you how to play G, C, and D7, then we’ll trick your brain into playing them!


Nice addition to the site!Great for just starting out

1 Like

Thanks so much, Diane! I’ve worked hard on these :wink:

1 Like

I agree. I have been away for a bit and have just come back to the “new” site. I started doing the beginner track and have noticed new info. I started to skip some of the videos since I had already watched before but since have gone back through all of the other videos to see what new info there was. Thanks for making us left handed players feel welcome :smile:
Thanks for all your hard work. Lovin my lifetime membership!!


can’t get “train the brain” to play

HI Greg,

worked fine here.
Might want to post this in the help forum…it’s monitored by staff and you may get a quicker answer.


1 Like

Hey Greg,

I don’t know what browser you’re using, but give Chrome a try and see what happens, please.

1 Like

Works fine for me I am using Internet Explorer

I am new and am using internet explorer. Some of the lessons under beginning banjo don’t load right away until I close site and re enter. Most do work well but it is interesting that every once in awhile they don’t load. about 1 out of 10 or so. But I do get the ones that don’t initially load to play by closing and reopening to the website. Like I said I am using internet explorer and windows 10.

Try this, In Internet Explorer click on SAFETY click OFF Tracking Protection. Power Off/On your computer and try again. Make a note of any video’s you find not working and let us know.

1 Like

I don’t fully understand… If playing a chord then on the tablature I ignore the fret fingering numbers and just play that strting?

I’m sorry, @kclark140, I don’t quite understand your question. Can you give me a measure or time code in a video that pertains to your question?

In measure 6 using the C chord it says to finger the 4th string at the second fret. How can I do that if still in C chord? Is the C Chord only for the 5th measure?

HI Kevin,

Measures 4 through 8 are each a different way to play in a C chord.

Measure 7 uses the full chord position. (as shown in the diagram)…the other measures don’t use the 4th string, so Ben isn’t keeping his finger down (though he could if he chose to), because it isn’t necessary to finger a string you are not using…these are the “partial chords” Ben mentions in the lesson.

It is simply an exercise on playing the chord in different ways, meant to give you more options and more economical playing choices later.

Hope this makes sense and helps.


1 Like

The C Chord is a 3-finger chord. Have you watched the video that goes along with the tab?

I got into the habit of fingering the first position C chord using the middle, ring, and pinky fingers; rather than the index, middle, and ring. I think I started doing it since it seemed to make the transition to the D chord (or any chord in that same shape) more efficient by only having to shift up two frets and drop the index finger. I’ve been doing the same with the first position E chord. While it makes the chord transitions easier, it is a little odd in that my index is behind the nut and useless and my pinky is tied up and not available to do other things in that first position.

I am wondering if others to it this way or if it is bad form and I should stop immediately. I’m hoping it is a classic “yeah, there are pros and cons either way” situation.


Hey Chris,

Well yeah, as you said, there are always pros and cons either way. Ultimately, it comes down to what works best for you.

I’ve had more than a couple situations like this and this is how I think it out. If it’s in the tab a certain way, or if I see an instructor or other accomplished players doing it a certain way, there’s probably a good reason for it. Even though it may not feel right or comfortable, I try it their way first, you know before I develop a habit (potentially a bad habit) - I give it a fair chance. More often than not, I develop that new skill and I’m better off for it and glad I tried it, especially when learning the very next song, I discover why all the pros did it that way.

In this case, using pinky and ring finger to form that C chord, which is actually a partial C, if you ever need the full C chord, your middle finger can then easily grab that 4th string 2nd fret. Also, many tunes/licks will have you grabbing the 1st string 3rd fret for just a beat or two and your pinky is in the right place right time to catch that. It’s nice because you don’t even have to lift your ring finger from the 2nd fret, you just drop your pinky in place and then lift it.

I played when I was young and then didn’t play for decades. I just started a little over a year ago again and I remember that I first started playing this partial C with my pinky and middle fingers. I was working hard on building that bad habit and luckily I caught it in time and was able to correct it and I’m so glad I did.

Hope that helps.


Nothing “wrong” with doing it that way, but it wouldn’t work for me because so often when playing the C chord I create the suspension by playing the 3rd fret of the 1st string (F note) with my pinky.

1 Like

This should read (G note) unless you’re in a different tuning

Hmm? 1st string is a D note. 3 frets up is 3 halfsteps up which is an F.

1 Like