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Learning the fretboard

(14 posts)
  1. hoops
    Member

    What are some methods you guys found to be useful when memorizing the notes of the fretboard? I've been practicing 7th chord inversions on every string grouping and that seems to help a lot.

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  2. Find different ways to play 1&2 octaves of any note you choose . Pick chords you know and run them diatonically up the same string set for a given scale . Choose a note and build any and all intervals in either direction of the note ( as subject/ object vice versa ) and find the different string sets that any given interval can be played.

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  3. Pauli Poulsen
    Member

    For me it helped to go through all 12 notes one by one on each string in as many octaves as possible.

    So I would start with C, play it on the low E string 8th fret then 20th fret, A string 3rd fret then 15th fret, D string... etc, up to the high E string and back down. Do it as quick as you can, it should only take a few seconds. Then do the next note - I like to go in cycles of 4ths/5ths, so F, low string 1st fret then 13th fret, A string 8th fret then 20th fret, etc. etc.. Do this for all 12 notes once a day.

    I found this helped me learn where each note is on the fretboard individually without having to gauge from other notes that I'm more familiar with.

  4. hoops
    Member

    Thanks guys, I love this forum. People here rule.

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  5. Through another thread here I'm reminded of how great Ted Greene was/is!!
    Be patient with the style of his narratives ( as he has the tendency to sometimes make things feel overly detailed- with ornamented and confusing language... almost to an exacting degree that he finds the information, points and concepts utterly CRUCIAL to internalize !!) ; his handwriting and his sometimes untidy graphs.
    Perhaps you'll find these links, the generous amount of information on his site and ALL his exhaustively thorough and comprehensive books very useful.

    http://www.tedgreene.com/images/lessons/fundamentals/LearningNamesOfNotesOnFingerboardPage1.pdf

    http://www.tedgreene.com/images/lessons/fundamentals/LearningNamesOfNotesOnFingerboardPage2.pdf

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  6. TruthHertz
    Member

    I'm a big advocate of applied musicality. All the other suggestions are really great, I'll just throw in a two cents contribution, just my opinion.
    As a visual aid, make two charts, one of the notes on the fingerboard by note names, one by note number. Don't download it from a pdf or get it on line, just make 6 lines on a paper, put frets on it for two octaves and fill in the names. Note patterns you see and keep this by you on your music stand.

    On your second blank fingerboard chart put the numeric notes, 1, b2, 2 (9), #2 (-3), whatever you want to call them. Again note any patterns you see and keep this by your music stand. These are things to help you see the big picture as you're learning the details. This one is not in any key, it's just tonics and intervallic relationships, so it's literally a sliding scale in two octaves.

    Keep these by you until you don't need to look at them. But as you're learning and internalizing, LOOK at them. They'll open up your vision of the fingerboard around the small area you're concentrated in, and it's the hope you'll start to see relationships.

    Here's the really useful part. Take a song you know, one you like and can play in one way by memory. Take that song and phrase by phrase, find another place to play that phrase, then return to the familiar place. I assume you have a pretty good idea of where some notes are to begin with; I assume you have tunes you play without music. Use the places you know to find that same "music" in places you haven't gone before. You'll begin to see areas, not as uncharted wilderness, but as variations of the familiar. That's the way I see it in a playing situation, knowing where relationships, linear and intervallic, are all over.

    Try the same thing on one string, play a familiar phrase of a song in an unfamiliar way, along one string. But be careful not to do it blindly, that's why those charts may be a good thing to keep on the periphery during this process. Note the notes but hear the music.
    Use the music to teach your fingers. Use your ear to teach your eye.

    That's my small way of thinking of it.

    Hey, if you haven't yet, take a glance at Mick Goodrick's Advancing Guitarist, he has a nice way of looking at the combination of linear and position playing, and this fluency, once internalized, informs the knowledge of where the notes are.

    I hope this helps.
    David

  7. gleepglop
    Member

    Memorize the position of the EF and BC half step pairs on each string, then go through the strings one by one learning the natural notes on each string. You don't have to learn the positions of the black notes, you just have to learn to "see" the fingerboard like a piano.

    Here's a blog with a diagram of what I'm talking about:
    http://www.learnjazzstandards.com/uncategorized/learning-the-notes-on-the-guitar-fretboard/

    I found an even nicer diagram somewhere (I have it on my computer) but I can't for the life of me figure out where I got it from.

  8. guitar1025
    Member

    On your second blank fingerboard chart put the numeric notes, 1, b2, 2 (9), #2 (-3), whatever you want to call them. Again note any patterns you see and keep this by your music stand. These are things to help you see the big picture as you're learning the details. This one is not in any key, it's just tonics and intervallic relationships, so it's literally a sliding scale in two octaves.

    So what would this be relative to? In other words "b2, 2(9)" of what???

  9. TruthHertz
    Member

    On your second blank fingerboard chart put the numeric notes, 1, b2, 2 (9), #2 (-3), whatever you want to call them. Again note any patterns you see and keep this by your music stand. These are things to help you see the big picture as you're learning the details. This one is not in any key, it's just tonics and intervallic relationships, so it's literally a sliding scale in two octaves.
    So what would this be relative to? In other words "b2, 2(9)" of what???

    Of a tonic. Y' know the 1. With this conception of the fingerboard you see a relative orientation. of the notes, and as you change tonal centres during the course of the changes, your tonic area changes. If you're playing How High The Moon, your 1 is going to be G, until it becomes the 1 or G minor or the II-7 of F. Then it becomes F, but can you see that when your tonal centre shifts, the position shifts on the fingerboard but the location of the intervals is the same?
    That's why this view is not location absolute.
    What is the use of this picture? Well, if you're playing something with the root on the 5th string and you're playing position, you should be able to visualize at a moment's thought the other places you can play the same thing, and where to find them on any string. This "big picture" allows you to do that. Read a piece of music and play it somewhere you're comfortable. In general, you will likely be able to find it at least one other place. That place is on the big map, and where you'd find those notes is there. Fluency in knowing the locations of the other tonics and the notes around and between those tonics will allow you to better hear what you're playing rather than just playing the dots.
    Don't think of knowing the notes as just knowing where to find a note arbitrarily, look at it as knowing where the melodic materials are.

    Can you see this? If not, I can explain it further, I just don't want to state the obvious if that's not what you're asking for.

    Also, in really getting to know where the notes are, get a book of atonal melodies, like Modus Novus. Learn to sing the examples, and then learn to play them with the melodies in your ear. This is REALLY useful in avoiding genre specific cliche patterns. It may seem like an oblique or more difficult path, but if you're going to become a player, it's one really powerful tool in learning to look at all notes and intervals as NOT being intimidating in any way.

    It's kind of hard to really say what you might want to spend time on since I don't know where you are in your ear and musical development. Hey, tell me a little about what you're working on, what you like to listen to, what you do on the instrument, I can't really tell.
    But these are things I'd work on with my students right from the start. In the long run, it strengthens the relationship between the eye, ear and fingers.
    David

  10. guitar1025
    Member

    David,

    So based on this, you'd make a diagram for each "1?"

    I'm very interested in this approach. I feel like I already know the fretboard pretty well, but this seems like it can go a long way to really squaring all three things up, just like you said.

    If there are any materials you have you'd be willing to share, I would be forever grateful. [email protected]

    Thanks

  11. TruthHertz
    Member

    Hey there 1025, no need to make new ones, one two octave map of the fingerboard has everything you need. Remember everything repeats exactly at the 12th fret, and your diagram is open ended, meaning it's not there to tell you what fret you're located on, but where everything is. So if you're in the key of G, your 1 (tonic) on the 1st and 6th string would be recognized as the 3rd fret. If you were working in the key of C though, that same chart you'd look at the same spot as being the 8th fret. and so on. It's really nice because once you see the picture, you know where everything else is, and combined with the knowledge you have of the other map, the note name one, you can simply make a small mental adjustment and every key is exactly the same!
    David

  12. A guy working at a guitar shop a long time ago told me about his days at MI and that he had classes with Scott Henderson who ( when he wasn't mocking kids for tapping ) would in the middle of a lecture just point at someone and exclaim " you: 3rd string 15th fret , what note is it "? ... Maybe just sneak up on yourself like that occasionally ?

  13. guitar1025
    Member

    A guy working at a guitar shop a long time ago told me about his days at MI and that he had classes with Scott Henderson who ( when he wasn't mocking kids for tapping ) would in the middle of a lecture just point at someone and exclaim " you: 3rd string 15th fret , what note is it "? ... Maybe just sneak up on yourself like that occasionally ?

    Ha, that's awesome floatingbridge.

    As I said, I know my fretboard pretty well in terms of what notes are where (even away from the guitar). I just feel like the approach truthhertz is talking about is going to help me better to visualize the relationships between notes.

    So if you're in the key of G, your 1 (tonic) on the 1st and 6th string would be recognized as the 3rd fret. If you were working in the key of C though, that same chart you'd look at the same spot as being the 8th fret. and so on.

    I think I get it now; do it once and then just shift it around as needed. Makes sense. I will give it a try

    Thanks again!

  14. TruthHertz
    Member

    So if you're in the key of G, your 1 (tonic) on the 1st and 6th string would be recognized as the 3rd fret. If you were working in the key of C though, that same chart you'd look at the same spot as being the 8th fret. and so on.
    I think I get it now; do it once and then just shift it around as needed. Makes sense. I will give it a try

    Yes. yes! And don't forget to use the big picture knowledge with actual music. Play a phrase in one position, be aware of what you've played. Look up another place where that can be answered, and shift your awareness to a new location. Soon you won't need the chart anymore, but your basic awareness of the notes will be one you can shift and move to make music. That is one way to learn the notes on the fingerboard all over as something that is three dimensional. For me, this is practicing the actual process of freedom around the fretboard with absolute and relative awareness, and that's the goal I had in mind when I did this.
    Again, I'm aware that everyone has different ways of processing information; this is only one way that worked for me in the long run.
    Hey, have fun when you practice... rhythmicize, sing, create. You'll learn it faster.
    Good luck
    David


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