4 String Open G Banjo On The Guitar

author: Hasher date: 12/20/2010 category: music styles

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Okay, I'll start off by showing you a little thing I noticed about the Guitar's four high strings' in standard tuning and the (4 string) Banjo's open G tuning. As you should know, the four highest string on the guitar's standard tuning: D4 - G4 - B4 - e5 And, as you may or may not know... the (4 string) Banjo open G tuning is: D4 - G4 - B4 - g5 Simply said, the two tunings are fairly the same besides the highest string, which slightly tuned differently. The Guitar's high (e) string is three half-steps, lower than the 4 string Banjo's high G string. Now, the best way to explain this is with examples, via Tab. Here are some basic Banjo chords in open G:
     G       D       Em      C
g|---0---|---4---|---2---|---2---|
B|---0---|---3---|---0---|---1---|
G|---0---|---2---|---0---|---0---|
D|---0---|---4---|---2---|---2---|
Here are those same chords on the guitar:
     G       D       Em      C
e|---3---|---2---|---0---|---0---|
B|---0---|---3---|---0---|---1---|
G|---0---|---2---|---0---|---0---|
D|---0---|---4---|---2---|---2---|
Now, Lets play a little Banjo on the Guitar... (Try to use your Thumb and three fingers on this one)
  G             D             Em            C
e|-------3-----|-------2-----|-------0-----|-------0-----|
B|-----0---0---|-----3---3---|-----0---0---|-----1---1---|
G|---0-------0-|---2-------2-|---0-------0-|---0-------0-|
D|-0-----------|-4-----------|-2-----------|-2-----------|
  G             D             C             C
e|-------3-----|-------2-----|-------0-----|-------0-----|
B|-----0---0---|-----3---3---|-----1---1---|-----1---1---|
G|---0-------0-|---2-------2-|---0-------0-|---0-------0-|
D|-0-----------|-4-----------|-2-----------|-2-----------|
Go Ahead a slap and capo on the 2nd fret and your ready to play along with Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show. Take a look here at this piece of Banjo Tablature, transcribed by Jon Dallas:
    G-5             G7M             Em              G
d-|-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-|-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-|-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-|-0-------------0-|
B-|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-|-0---0-1-3-1-0---|
G-|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-|-0-2-------------|
D-|-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-|-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-|-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-|-0---------------|
   Am                        D7
d-|-------2-------2-------2-|-------0-----0-------0-------0-|
B-|---1-------1-------1-----|---1-----1-------1-------1-----|
G-|-----2-------2-------2---|-----2-----2-------2-------2---|
D-|-2-------2-------2-------|-0-------------0-------0-------|
    Am                       D7
d-|-------2-------2-------2-|-0-|-------|
B-|---1-------1-------1-----|-1-|-------|
G-|-----2-------2-------2---|-2-|-2-0---|
D-|-2-------2-------2-------|-0-|-----4-|
Now, I simply transpose it over to guitar by Altering the High (e) string with reference to common guitar chords.
    G-5             G7M             Em              G
e-|-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-|-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-|-3-------------3-|
B-|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-|-0---0-1-3-1-0---|
G-|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-|-0-2-------------|
D-|-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-|-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-|-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-|-0---------------|
   Am                        D7
e-|-------0-------0-------0-|-------2-----2-------2-------2-|
B-|---1-------1-------1-----|---1-----1-------1-------1-----|
G-|-----2-------2-------2---|-----2-----2-------2-------2---|
D-|-2-------2-------2-------|-0-------------0-------0-------|
    Am                       D7
e-|-------0-------0-------0-|-2-|-------|
B-|---1-------1-------1-----|-1-|-------|
G-|-----2-------2-------2---|-2-|-2-0---|
D-|-2-------2-------2-------|-0-|-----4-|
Slap a capo on the 3rd fret and you're playing Paranoia in Bb Major by The Avett Brothers. I also uploaded the full song on ultimate-guitar.com. The Banjo tab can be found here. Please, feel free to take this concept in your own hands. A list of Banjo tunnings can be found here. Everything else you need to know can be found here. Good luck...
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