Banjo For Dummies: Book + Online Video and Audio Instruction, 2nd Edition
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The vertical lines on a banjo chord diagram represent the 4th through the 1st strings of your banjo, moving from left to right — as if you were looking down on the fingerboard of your instrument from above. The horizontal lines are the frets on your banjo, with the top line corresponding to the banjo nut. The dark circles represent fretted positions, with left-hand fingering indicated at the bottom of the diagram.

Check out the following chord diagram for the C chord, with parts labeled.

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Bill Evans is an internationally acclaimed five-string banjo player, teacher, historian, and recording artist, who has helped thousands of banjo players get the most out of their instruments. He's also performed throughout the world, and his CDs have topped both folk and bluegrass charts.

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