Here are variations on the old Bluegrass favorite, "Cripple Creek."




 Here are four chord positions that all sound like D7

Here are the notes of each inversion:

 1st form:  F#m7b5 = F# – A – C – E

 2nd form: Am6 = A – C – E – F#

 3rd form: D9 = C – E – F# – A

 4th form: D9 = E – F# – A – C


The above chords all contain the same four notes and function as D7th, but contain no “D” note. In other words, they imply a D7(9th) chord without the root. In the theoretical world of chords, the dominant seventh chord is unique. Of the four notes that comprise a D7th chord (D – F# – A – C), the notes that define its core function are the 3rd (F#) and the 7th (C). The remaining root and the fifth tones, are optional. The distance between F# and C is three two-fret skips called a “tritone” interval. So practically speaking, if you find the F# & C notes all over the banjo fretboard, you will have the core harmony of a D7th chord. Partial chords have interesting possibilities for banjo.

Learning to view the neck in partial chord fragments sets up a kind of visual guide in which identical forms serve to paint many different chords. The five note pentatonic scale and its variations provide a wealth of two and three note positions for improvisation. For more information on this and other topics, check out the “The Key To Five String Banjo


 Autumn Leaves 


Originally from the 1946 French Film "Les Portes  De La Nuit," Johnny Mercer wrote the English lyrics changing the name from "Feuilles Mortes" to "Autumn Leaves." Today it is a jazz standard. The song alternates between major and minor tonalities. It begins with a II-V7-I cadence in G followed by a minor II-V7-I in E minor.


 Autumn Leaves MP3 Sound File