A selection of Frequently Asked 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 Bibles 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 the books 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 your Chord Bibles be suitable for me?
A: Yes. Each chord bible has a well balanced selection of easy to play chords, along with more advanced shapes for experienced musicians.

Q: Does having so many chords make the books a more daunting prospect for beginners?
A: Not at all. The content is very straightforward and logical, with the most frequently used chord types easily available.

Q: I'm interested in your Chord Bibles, but you don't seem to have a book for my particular instrument. What are your plans with regard to this?
A: Keep a keen eye open for new Chord Bibles on FFM. A number of other guides are in preparation or are planned for the future.  Feel free to ask us for details.

Q: Do you have left-handed versions of your books available?
A: Not at the moment, but it's a fairly simple process to print out a few blank chord boxes and reverse the fingering positions yourself.  Take a look on our 'Freebies' page for The Musician's Workbook Volume 1.  This is in both A4 and US Letter sizes and contains many different chordboxes, staves and tab blanks for this very purpose.

Q: Where do your Chord Bible chord dictionaries differ from other similar books on the market today?
A: The first difference is the most obvious. Our Chord Bibles have at least 1,000 more chords than the most comprehensive books 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. Lastly, Fretted Friends/Cabot Books publishes guides on fretted instruments NEVER covered before by any other publisher!

Q: Are your books ISBN (International Standard Book Number) registered?
A: Yes.

Q: Will the Chord Bibles 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's the difference between the 'Long & Tall' Chord Dictionaries (Tres Cubano) and Chord Bibles?
A: Firstly, the most obvious difference is the shape. The 'Long & Tall' Series is designed to be slipped into an instrument case or pocket, making it ideal for travelling around with. Whereas the Chord Bible Series is in standard A4 book size which opens easily into an A3 spread for lying flat or sitting up on a music stand. The second difference is the Chord Bible Series features a huge number of different chord variations, ranging from the standard voicings to exotic extended 13ths. The Long & Tall' Series is by no means lacking in this department either, with its selection of at least 35 different chord types.

Q: How can you publish guides like as these, when the major publishing groups don't?
A: Cabot Books being a specialist publisher, concentrates on a specific niche in the market, whereas huge companies like Hal Leonard, Mel Bay or Music Sales Ltd like to concentrate on titles that will sell in multiples of 10,000+.

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: Why does the Bluegrass Banjo 5-String 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 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 fretboard (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.

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: Which banjo types do you publish Chord Bible guides for?
A: The Tenor Banjo in CGDA 'jazz' tuning, the lower pitched Irish Tenor Banjo in GDAE, the 5-String Bluegrass 'G tuning' in gDGBD and the Plectrum Banjo in CGBD.

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 correct tuning for the Irish Bouzouki?
A: The most popular tunings are GDAD (or Irish tuning) and GDAE (or Mandolin style 5ths tuning). The modal tunings, ADAD and GDGD are also used by some musicians.

Q: I've heard the Irish Bouzouki is classed as a member of the Mandolin family. What other instruments does this group comprise?
A: The Mandolin, Mandola (or Tenor Mandola), Octave Mandolin (or Octave Mandola), Mandocello, Irish Bouzouki and Celtic Cittern.Closely related instruments include: The Waldzither, Bandurria, Laud, Portuguese Guitarra, Halszither and English Guittar.

Q: Do you do a book for the Trichordo 6-string/3-course Greek Bouzouki?
A: Not at the moment, but this title will be available in the future. Please contact us for further details.

Q: What's the difference between the Brazilian and Portuguese cavaquinho?
A: Physically, the Brazilian instrument is a little larger, resembling a very small folk guitar and features around 19 frets. The Portuguese cavaquinho is very akin to it's close cousin, the soprano ukulele and generally has 12 frets finishing at the point where the neck joins the body. Tuning-wise, the Brazilian version almost always uses the DGBD configuration, whereas the Portuguese model uses this and a number of other tunings.  But as a general rule DGBD is considered standard tuning.  Another variation used on the Portuguese cavaquinho are watch-key style machine heads, instead of regular tuners, although both types remain popular.  In Brazil the cavaquinho is sometimes referred to as the cavaco, a popular colloquial name for the little instrument.

Q: Do you do a Chord Bible for any other members of the Charango family of instruments?
A: Not at the moment, but we are planning a guide for the Ronroco.  For the uniniated, the ronroco is basically a baritone charango pitched an octave lower than its smaller sibling.  Other members of the family include the Walaycho (or Hualaycho, Waylacho or Maulincho), Charangon and Chillador.

Q: What's the difference between a Venezuelan cuatro and a Puerto Rican cuatro?
A: The Venezuelan cuatro is guitar shaped and his 4 nylon strings tuned ADF#B (low to high). The Puerto Rican cuatro is violin shaped and has has 10 metal strings divided up into 5 pairs (or courses). It's tuned BEADG (low to high). The two instruments have very little in common with each other. 

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 this chord dictionary.

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

Q: I see the Mandocello and Tenor Mandola Chord Bibles have the same tuning. Are the chords identical?
A: No, because the scale lengths differ a great deal, it's not possible to use the same chords or fingering on both instruments. So if you play the mandocello, we'd strongly suggest you order the correct book for your instrument. This applies to any of the Chord Bible titles - you should always select your purchase by instrument and not by tuning alone.

Q: I've heard it's possible to convert a standard folk or acoustic guitar into a Tres. Is this true?
A: Yes. A lot of people have done this quite successfully.  We would advise you to seek specialist advice over this minor luthery job if you have little or no previous experience with this kind of work, though. It will involve re-slotting the nut, saddle and possibly drilling new holes for the bridge string pins.  A classical or Spanish guitar is unsuitablefor this conversion as it was never designed to accommodate the extra tension needed for steel strings.

Q: Do you do a Ukulele Chord Bible in D6 (ADF#B) or Baritone (DGBE) tuning?
A: Yes we currently publish a companion Chord Bible on the Baritone Uke (standard DGBE tuning). A D6 Soprano Chord Bible will be available in the near future.

Q: Is The Baritone Ukulele Chord Bible just a tranposed standard ukulele book?
A: No. It's been written with the longer scale in mind, so all the chords are reachable with an averaged sized hand. A directly transposed guide would make many of the chords unplayable because of the longer required finger stretch.

Copyright Fretted Friends Music © 2008
30 Henley Grove, Henleaze, Bristol, BS9 4EG, United Kingdom.