GENERAL QUESTIONS

Q: Are the chords in these guides based on theoretical chord knowledge alone, rather than actual 'hands on' experience?
A: Absolutely NOT, every chord in the Chord Bible has been created with an actual instrument on hand to check for voicing, fingering and average hand/finger span.​

 

Q: Will I need all the chords in these guides?
A: Probably not, but the whole ethos behind these guides is to provide a complete chord solution for the musician wanting to pick up virtually any songbook in the certain knowledge that he/she will find that elusive chord in the Chord Bible, from basic majors and minors up to exotic extended thirteenths. 

.Q: I'm a beginner, will The Chord Bibles be suitable for me?
A: Yes, they have a well balanced selection of easy to play chords, along with more advanced shapes for experienced musicians.

Q: Will these Chord guides help me play from any songbook?
A: Yes. You'll be able to pick up virtually any artist or compilation songbook, fakebook or Busker book with guitar or piano chords in and look up the chords you need in the Chord Bible. It really is as easy as that!

Q: What happened to Fretted Friends Music?

A: We decided a little while ago to put all of our publishing arms under the one banner to simplify things.  As result, the original website has been updated and simplified.  We still use Fretted Friends Music for our eBay presence, though.

 

INSTRUMENT SPECIFIC QUESTIONS

Banjo Family

Q: I've just bought a tenor banjo, but don't know which title I should select, Irish tuning or Standard Jazz tuning?
A: Generally the Irish tenor banjo is more suited to folk music, whereas the standard tenor banjo is tuned up a fourth for jazz and general popular music.  Selecting the right gauge strings for the right tuning is important, so please consult your local music shop or online dealer.

 

Q: What's the difference between the different banjos?
A: The plectrum banjo has 22 frets and is generally played with a guitar-style plectrum. The tuning is CGBD. The 5-string or bluegrass 'G' banjo is played with finger and thumb picks and is usually tuned gDGBD, although other configurations are used as well. The scale length is very similar to the plectrum.  The tenor banjo has around 17 frets and has a much shorter scale length. The standard jazz tuning is CDGA, with a popular lower pitched Irish tuning of GDAE. Finally, the other main type of banjo is the 6-string guitar banjo which has the scale length of a guitar, together with an identical tuning of EADGBE.

Q: Why does the Bluegrass Banjo Chord Bible seem to feature 4-string chordboxes instead of 5-string?

A: The 5th string isn't normally fretted during chord playing, being generally used as a drone string during picking.  But we do feature a section in the book for 5-string chording in the form of moveable chord shapes. The 5th string is generally tuned to 'G', identical to fretting the fretting the 1st string (D) on the 5th fret.  If you wish to change key from 'G', you'll need to purchase a 5th string capo which is attached to the side of the neck on a sliding bar arrangement. Alternatively, some players achieve the same result by hammering model railroad/railway spikes into the fretboard and hooking the string around these at given intervals up the fingerboard (generally the 7th fret, transposing it up to 'A').  Either job is best undertaken by a professional luthier or banjo technician, unless you're confident with such work.

 

Bouzouki & Cittern Family
 

Q: How can you tell if your cittern is long or short scale?
A: The guidelines are a little blurred in this area, but you can roughly class instruments with a scale of between
21" and 23" as shortscale and anything up to 25½" as longscale.

Q: What's the difference between the Irish and Greek Bouzoukis?
A: The scale length is very similar, but the tuning is totally different. The Greek bouzouki is tuned CFAD. The Greek version also has a bowl or rounded back, whereas its Irish counterpart is flat.

Q: What is the difference between the Tetrachordo and Trichordo Greek bouzoukis?The Tetrachordo has 4 double courses of strings tuned to CFAD (and the subject of our Chord Bible), whereas the Trichordo has three double courses of strings tuned to DAD or EBE.

Q: I'm new to the Irish Bouzouki. Which book and tuning should I chose?
A: GDAD is the choice of musicians wanting more of a modal tuning for traditional Irish, British and European folk music. Whereas GDAE is ideal if you're looking for a very chord-friendly approach for many types of music.  It's also ideal if you already play the mandolin, mandola, octave mandolin or mandocello as again it's in fifths tuning.  Both tunings are very versatile and it's hard to go wrong with either.

Q: What's the difference between the Portuguese Coimbra and Lisboa  guitars and how do I know which one I have?
Firstly, recognition of the two instruments is very easy. The most obvious difference to the naked eye is in the headstock design.  The Lisboa (or Lisbon guitar) has a violin-style scroll at the top, whereas the Coimbra has a teardrop or diamond-shaped design.  The Lisboa is also tuned a whole tone higher than the Coimbra and has more of a ringing tone to it, in contrast with the Coimbra's deeper more resonant sound.  The fingerboard is also generally a little narrower and has a shorter scale length. 

 

Charango Family

Q: What's the difference between a walaycho, hualaycho and maulincho?

A: These are all alternative names for the same instrument found in different Andean regions of South America.

Q: Are charangos still made from the shell of an armadillo?

A:  Most modern charangos are now built from local woods, but shaped to resemble an armadillo's shell.  Arguably, the use of tone woods produces a much better result than the shell, which is fortunate for the armadillo!

 

Guitar & Lute Family

Q: What's the difference between the bajo sexto and the bajo quinto?
A: The sexto has one additional course of strings, tuned to a low E.  Whereas the quinto only has five courses of strings, with its lowest being A.  The quinto also tends to have a slimmer neck.  The quinto came about after some bajo players wanted an instrument with a less muddied bass sound on the lower courses. Arguably, the quinto is a slightly easier instrument to play.

Q: How does the Left-Handed Chord Bible differ from it's right-handed counterpart?
A: It's identical in every way, except all the chord windows and diagrams are designed specifically for a left-hander.

Q: Which Tenor Guitar Chord Bible should I buy?
A: The Chicago tuning version is ideal for anyone not wanting to have to re-learn chord shapes when transitioning from the guitar (the same first 4 strings DGBE).  The Standard/Irish Tuning version features CGDA and GDAE tuning.  The latter of which is used more in folk music.  All three tunings are popular within the tenor guitar world.

Q: I have a 7-course renaissance lute.  Does this guide cover that instrument?A: Yes. The Renaissance Lute Chord Bible covers instruments ranging from 6-10 courses.

 

Q: Why does the book only seem to cover 6-course instruments?A: The chord boxes represented throughout this guide feature the first 6 courses used on any renaissance lute inGCFADG tuning.  Additional courses of strings on 7 to 10-course instruments are generally plucked open and notfretted. The only exception in the book are the slash chords, which encompass a few lower courses (7 and 8),where no other viable fingering position is available.

 

Q: Would The Renaissance Lute Chord Bible be suitable for a guitar tuned as a lute?A: Yes. There's a section on how to tune your guitar as a lute in both 'true' and transposed lute tunings.

 

Mandolin Family

Q: Is there a difference between the Mandola and Tenor Mandola?
A: No difference at all, it's just different terminology used in North American (Mandola) and Europe (Tenor Mandola).  The Octave Mandola (or Octave Mandolin in North America) is a whole different instrument which is tuned an octave below the regular mandolin. We publish Chord Bibles for both the Mandola and Octave Mandolin.

Q: What's the difference between the different types of mandolin?
A: The F-Style and A-Style pioneered by Gibson are best suited to bluegrass and country music because of their short sustaining qualities. The Celtic or Folk Flatback as the name suggests is ideal for general folk music where a longer sustain is the requirement.  The Neopolitan bowl or Roundback tends to take care of the classical repetoire.  Then you have Electric or Semi-Acoustic models which have found a home in rock/pop and recording setups. Some electrics also feature single courses rather than double courses of strings.  All however, tend to use standard GDAE tuning featured in our Chord Bible.

 

Ukulele Family

Q: What's the difference between an American (Martin) tiple and a Colombian tiple?
A: The American or 'Martin' tiple has 10-strings and is tuned ADF#B.  The Colombian tiple has 12-strings and is traditionally tuned CEAD or DGBE (modern tuning).  The Colombian tiple is a larger instrument and belongs to the guitar family, whereas the American tiple is a member of the ukulele family.

Q: Which Ukulele Chord Bible should I choose - the C6 (standard C tuning) or the D6 (alternative D tuning)?
A: Most of today's players tend to opt for the C6 (C tuning), so if you're likely to be playing along with other ukulele
players this tuning might be the best option.  The D6 (D tuning) was used a lot in the earlier years of the last
century. You're likely to see many old songbooks and sheet music arranged for the D tuning.  A lot of modern
players also prefer the extra string tension the D brings.  In the end, it's personal choice, but it's best to learn one and to stick to it if you're a beginner.  For the more experienced uke players, it's not uncommon to use both tunings according to the arrangement.

 

Q: Where does your ukulele chord dictionary differ from other similar books on market today?
A: The first difference is the most obvious. The Ukulele Chord Bible has at least 1,000 more chords than the
most comprehensive book up to this date. The second is the inclusion of a big selection of slash chords and
moveable chord shapes - additional material not available in other publications.

 

Q: What is reentrant tuning?

A: It’s a tuning that doesn’t run in a regular high to low sequence. With most fretted instruments the highest notes are generally furthest away from the player’s chin, with each subsequent string lowering in tone. In the case of the guitar, the lowest sounding string, the ‘E’ is nearest to the player’s chin. With the ukulele, its most popular tuning breaks with this formula and instead of the 4th and final string (‘G’) getting lower, it raises up to a high ‘G’ instead. This is reentrant tuning. Some players prefer a more regular method of tuning, though and lower the ‘G’ instead. The mnemonic, ‘my dog has fleas’ is a great way of remembering how to tune the ukulele using reentrant tuning. The ukulele isn’t the only instrument to deploy reentrant tuning. Other examples include the bluegrass 5-string banjo and the charango.

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