What is a Chord?
A chord is simply several notes played together at the same time that sound good. Usually you need three notes to make a chord although you can have more and it’s also possible to make a chord with just two notes.
How to Play a Chord?
On the banjo (or any stringed instrument) you make a chord by playing several strings at the same time. On the five string banjo it’s very easy to make a chord because the instrument is tuned to an ‘Open G chord,’ which means you don’t have to do anything with the left hand, you get a chord automatically.
Which Chords to Learn?
The most important chords to learn are C and D. Learning to play these two simple chords will enable you to play many many songs (remember you get a G chord automatically, so with C and D you will have three). You can learn more chords in the Member’s Area.
It’s not hard to play a chord on the banjo, however it will take some practice to be able to change between chords smoothly and quickly. In most types of music the chords change fairly frequently throughout the song, so it’s important to be able to change chords easily.
You don’t necessarily need to play all the notes in a chord at the same time, that’s up to you.
Types of Chord
The most common type of chord is called a ‘Major chord’ so you might hear someone talk about ‘G major’ or ‘D major.’ There are also many other types of chords including ‘Minor’ chords, ‘Seventh’ chords and so on. When you are playing Country or Bluegrass music you will mostly be playing major chords. In fact major chords are the most important type. Normally you don’t need to say ‘Major,’ If you just say ‘G’ or ‘D’ that automatically means G major or D major.