Plectrum Banjo Chord Chart

63 distinct movable chord shapes for the Plectrum banjo in Standard tuning CGBD.
By Andy Allinger, 2009, placed in the public domain.

Intro

The root of each chord is not specified, because it may be placed anywhere on the fretboard. The shape stays the same, while it slides up or down the frets. So, once you learn the first shape, you know how to play all the major chords. The Roman numeral with each voicing tells which note of the major scale is played on the highest string. So to play a G Major III:

  1. The notes of the chord are G, B, D
  2. The III is B, counting up the scale G=I, A=II, B=III
  3. The highest pitched string is open D. So at the 1st fret it is D#, 2nd fret E, 3rd fret F, 4th fret F#, 5th fret G, 6th fret G#, 7th fret A, 8th fret A#, 9th fret B.
  4. Place the chord shape so that the highest string is covered at the 9th fret.

For a better explanation of how to use this chart, see Bill Miller's introduction to plectrum inversions.

ChordVoicings
Major
Minor
Seventh
Diminished
Augmented
Flat Fifth
Sixth
Minor Sixth
Minor Seventh
Major-Seventh Minor Major-Seventh
Ninth Minor Ninth
Major-Ninth
Suspended Fourth
Suspended Sixth
Seventh Suspended Fourth
Add Ninth Minor Add Ninth
Eleventh
Thirteenth
Six-Nine Minor Six-Nine
unfingerable?
Seventh Sharp Ninth Seventh Flat Ninth

The numbers in the spellings of chords are notes of the major scale, counting 1=do, 2=re, 3=mi, 4=fa, 5=so, 6=la, 7=ti, 8=do, 9=re, 10=mi, 11=fa, 12=so, 13=la. Notice that you may subtract seven and it's the same note. Sharps and flats are indicated with # and b. The root of the chord is the note in its name and is the 1 to begin counting from. Notes in bold are the most important.
Be warned that the names of the chords are not logically consistent, and various abbreviations are used by different writers. Often ° is used to mean diminished, + means augmented, or it may mean sharp the following note, - means flat the following note.

Chord NameSpellingComments
Major1 3 5
Minor 1 b3 5
Diminished1 b3 b5 A dim7 can usually be played instead. Some arrangers don't distinguish between dim and dim7.
Augmented1 3 #5Because the notes in an augmented chord are each four frets apart, all voicings are the same.
Flat Fifth1 3 b5
Suspended Second 1 2 5 This is equivalent to a sus4 with the root transposed up 7 frets.
Suspended Fourth 1 4 5
Suspended Sixth 1 5 6
Sixth1 3 5 6 Equivalent to m7 with its root transposed down 3 frets.
Minor Sixth1 b3 5 6
Seventh
Formally called Dominant Seventh
1 3 5 b7An easier voicing for 7 V is the dim bIII which has three of the four notes of the 7 chord
Minor Seventh1 b3 5 b7Equivalent to a 6 with the root transposed 3 frets higher
Diminished Seventh1 b3 b5 bb7Because the notes of this chord are each 3 frets apart, any voicing is the same. The bb7 is the same as 6. Nonetheless, this chord is called a seventh.
Augmented Seventh1 3 #5 7
Seventh Suspended Fourth1 4 5 b7
Seventh Flat Fifth1 3 b5 b7
Major-Seventh1 3 5 7
Minor Major-Seventh1 b3 5 7
Add Ninth1 3 5 9
Minor Add Ninth1 b3 5 9
Add Augmented Fifth1 3 5 #5
Ninth1 3 5 b7 9 May substitute a m6 with the root transposed 7 frets higher.
Minor Ninth1 b3 5 b7 9The alternate 9 IX voicing has no 3 and so can also be used for a m9 IX
Diminished Ninth1 b3 b5 bb7 9
Major-Ninth 1 3 5 7 9
Eleventh 1 3 5 b7 9 11
or 1 3 5 b7 9 11
May substitute 7sus4 with root transposed up 7 frets
OR m7 with root transposed up 7 frets
OR add9 with root transposed down 2 frets
Thirteenth1 3 5 7 9 11 13Six-Nine chords are portions of a Thirteenth
Six-Nine1 3 5 6 9May substitute a 13 without transposing
Minor Six-Nine1 b3 5 6 9May substitute a 13 with the root transposed up 5 frets.
Seventh Sharp Ninth1 3 5 b7 #9
Seventh Flat Ninth1 3 5 b7 b9

This chart is thorough, but it is not complete, because there is always another chord.

andy@13olive.net
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