Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the Banjo lesson: Fretboard Geography- Part 2

Part 2 of the Fretboard Geography course with Alan Munde!

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I appreciate you and Mr. Munde putting this series together. These exercises and the study of the fret board are helping tremendously. I find it much easier and faster to go up the neck than to come back down, but I’m working on it. This kind of information makes things so logical which I like. Thanks for the attention to detail.


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I was stuck on the beginner track for several months, and I wasn’t progressing as well as I would have liked. I decided to check out this lesson and it helped tremendously! It made playing much more logical and I feel like I know where to go on the fretboard if I feel like doing some basic improvisations now.

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This lesson has been an eye opener if not a Revelation, as Alan explains why he calls the different shapes 1,2, & 3 because of the string and root note it really made things clear. So while I’m still learning to make these shapes and change while keeping time, some times I can just do the walk down on a certain string and still play along with the rhythm.
I hope this makes sense as I move from taking things out of my head and putting them down on paper(or computer).
any way thanks for the great lessons.

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I really like this lesson. It is forcing me to figure out how to apply various backup techniques to songs. One thing I am not sure about though. When Alan says it does not matter which chords you are playing when going from one to the next, but where you end up. When I am walking chords like that, do I need to time it to where the walking is complete at the same time of the chord transition? In other words lets say there are 3 measures (12 beats) where it is G G C. I can play a G in the first measure, then use Am, Bm, in the second measure, and then hit C exactly at the beginning of the second measure. OR can I play G for 7 beats and then Am, Bm and play C for the second or third beat of the third measure? Seems like that might not sound right but I wanted to know what my limits are for good music. :slight_smile:

You’re first example is more correct. You’re leading into the C

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It depends on the song but arriving at the chord before or after the rest of the band is a way to play some really cool stuff. I do it all the time, as it creates tension that gets resolved. However, you don’t want to draw it out too long and/or leave too much tension or it sounds like a mistake. And if the song is very “straight” sounding, you might not want to do it at all.

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I have no idea how to understand what this lesson is talking about. Is there a cord chart somewhere so I can at least know what fingers to use so I do the cords properly? This seasons of lessons have me extremely lost and confused

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I’m going to give this a try. Alan and @BanjoBen are discussing chord progressions in the key of G, starting at the Y position (Ben) or position 1 (Alan).
The notes in the G scale are. G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G.
The Chords of the Key of G are. G, Am, Bm, C, D, Em, F#dim, G
The cool thing is there are only three chord shapes. (this holds true for all 3 starting positions)
1 shape for G, C, D. 1 shape for Am, Bm, Em. and then F#dim.

In this series of lessons, three starting position chord shapes are covered. I just discovered these lessons in the past week. They have tied together chord progressions I have partially learned over the years. It also ties together the NNS discussion we had a camp.

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Hey Jake! Did you download the tabs beneath the video?

Hey all - I am working on transposing these g runs to d or e. I keep running out of fret board.

Anyone have some constructive advice on making these transitions in the key of d or e.

Understanding how to do it in say the key of A is easy enough as I just offset things by one fret - it makes it easy to understand. But how do this chord movements in D or E is giving me some trouble. I can get bits and part.

Thanks in advance.



Hi, and welcome to the forum!

Anytime you get to a point where you can’t go higher, keep in mind that the next chord can be played in a lower spot on the neck.

for example: if you are running through a D exercise and want to make it up to the tonic D but run out of neck after the G you could play the A in a lower position (it could even be below where you started) that would allow you to continue to climb the D target.

You just have to keep track of what you are using for the root note of each chord, then find the one you want lower on the neck and continue as you would if you played the entire exercise.

Another method would be to change shapes so you can start lower on the neck, but this is much more advanced because you would probably have to change not only the chord shapes but also picking patterns.

Hope this helps



Yep, great advice!

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A little bit - I’m tabbing things out. Going from any d position to a G position is very intuitive. But going to from the root chord of D to A is confusing me. I’m sure it’s right in front of me. Any one have a quick tab of those transitions? D to A - any position (X, Y or bar)?

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From a D to an A would be a five fret drop in the same position.

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D to A is the same interval as G to D, does that help?


Just another thought:
I only used those chords as an example.

You could use the same idea with any chord in the scale.

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I messed around with it over the weekend and got the riddle solved. Working in the key of E and D in the Y position causes mental issues as you can really only work so far down the neck till you are out of space - then you have to return to your starting chord and work backwards. It was helpful to remember (for the Y position) that the very first E chord on the banjo - that contains open notes on string one is actually the tail end of a Y position E .

Working on some stuff for the “Long Black Veil” in the Key of E - any ideas on this would be greatly appreciated. Mine is very basic.