Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Putting the Circle of 5ths into Practice

After watching the theory vids, and looking around YT for other explainer videos, I understand the Circle of 5ths, at least theoretically (no pun intended),

But I’d like to find a way to put the Co5 into a physical practice routine, that will teach the note relationships and ultimately, lead to helping improvisation.

I envision running through the entire Circle like a giant scale, but figuring that out note by note seems daunting. Are there any lessons/tabs that help with this?

Or - comments on whether it’s a worthwhile pursuit?

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Hey man! I think it’s important to know how the circle works, yes, but I don’t know about running through a giant scale. I’m not saying it’s bad, but I think there may be pursuits more worth our time. Make sure you know how it works, how to count down or up. Know a 5th above and a 5th below, or what the 5th is of the note/chord you’re on, and what note/chord is your note a 5th of. This will come in handy as I press more into the pentatonic mandolin stuff.

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I’ve used this Interactive Circle of Fifth’s on and off for many years it’s handy when I am trying to figure out stuff in different keys .or trying to figure out which minor chord fits an unfamiliar chord progression…


The Circle of Fifths is useful in multiple ways.

Easy way to transpose.
An Easy way to figure out which Chord

corresponds to each key signature… IE… The key of G is one sharp.
Easy way to discover related chords in every key
Easy way to discover Individual notes in every Chord in every key.
Great help when learning to play a chord instrument by ear.

FYI. I mentally reference the Circle of Fifths every time I pick up my guitar. It is the GPS of music. If you wish more info on any or all of the above, please let me know.

All the best,


If you just want to improvise over it some and get used to the use and feel of it you might check out “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down” . It is what I’d call a typical CO5th, Four chord progression…


Sorry to drag up an old thread but in regards to the CoF scale practice I was at a camp and the instructor discussed using the scales thru the circle as a warm up so…play the G, then C, then F and so forth thru either the 5ths or 4ths (in this example) progression using a metronome focusing on tone, loudness, etc. He didn’t say to become proficient at fiddle tune speed but to just run thru it as a warm up…I did that for awhile and it really made me familiar with the fretboard. Now I kind of just warm up with it - only takes a moment really - and when I come across a tune like a Rebecca that has B, F#, and E I’m able to at least know where I should be even if the break is nothing to write home about.