Old World or New, Sacred or Profane

Monday, August 27, 2007

Basic Cello Chords

[Posted a few weeks ago on Cello Chat, re-posted here for archival/later reference]

The subject of playing chords like a guitar comes up once in a while. I've started a simple chord chart that still leaves much to be desired. I lifted the diagrams from a tenor banjo site. Tenor banjo is usually (but by no means always) tuned one octave higher than cello. Unfortunately, many fingering combinations that are easy on a small fretted banjo are just not practical on cello.

I only included the most common major and minor chords, with the root as lowest note, for jams and sing-alongs. That means some are three-string chords. I also omitted 7ths because the tenor banjo fingerings a that site were mostly impractical for cello, but it should be easy to figure out how to do a 7th from the major fingering.

Note that the numbers represent frets (ours are imaginary), not fingers. Mostly it's barred finger 1, 2 for minor/3 for major, and 4.

For the 4-string chords, often you can play the 7th with finger 2 on the A-string. For the 3-string chords, you can play the 7th with finger 4 on the D-string.

4 comments:

Rich Rodriguez said...

Please consider adding my blog to your site:
http://thecellogeek.blogspot.com/

cellodonna said...

Sometimes I imagine frets rather than think in terms of position numbers.

Bobby said...

I'd like to see that chords chart you made, I never really put the chords to a name, I just remembered the positions that i like the resonating sound of.

JimBiggs said...

Hello, I'd really like to see the chord chart you posted here. For some reason, I can't view the image on my computer. Would it be possible for you to either re-post the chart or email it to me?

Thanks a lot,

Jim Biggs
jbiggs1951@yahoo.com