by David Bandrowski
One of the easiest things about playing the banjo is it’s open tuning. By strumming the banjo with all of the strings open, you play a G chord. Hence, a C chord would be a bar across all of the strings at the 5th fret, a D chord would bar at the 7th, and so on.
To start out with, standard banjo tuning is tuned to an open G chord (chord diagram to the left). The notes are a high G on the short 5th string, then D, G, B on the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd strings (the same as guitar), and a D on the 1st string instead of an E.
The 2nd, 3rd, & 4th strings of a 5-string banjo (when tuned in standard tuning) are tuned the same as guitar.
The 1st string on a banjo is a D as opposed to an E on a guitar. You can use your guitar shapes on the banjo, but just be sure to move the note on the 1st string up a whole step (2 frets).
Look at the chord shapes below and notice that the only difference is the 1st string is moved up a whole step (2 frets).
D Chord on 5 String Banjo
D Chord On Top 4 Strings Of A Guitar
A Chord on 5 String Banjo
A Chord On Top 4 Strings Of A Guitar
F Chord on 5 String Banjo
F Chord On Top 4 Strings Of A Guitar
C Chord on 5 String Banjo
C Chord On Top 4 Strings Of A Guitar