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JasonM

Posts: 1783
Joined: Dec. 8 2005
From: Baltimore

Approaches to learning the fretboard 

For you theory guys, How would you recommend learning all the notes on the fretboard?
Do you start memorizing from the E string and work up the neck memorizing the natural notes, then to the A string and so on,
Or start with the C major scale playing the 3 notes per string patterns, and memorize that way perhaps? Or another approach, like downloading it directly to the brain?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 4 2016 23:35:19
 
rombsix

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RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to JasonM

Fretboard Warrior...

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2016 4:20:43
 
chester

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RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to JasonM

Read music and learn new pieces.

Memorizing patterns will help you with patterns (also important), not knowing what notes are where.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2016 6:28:56
 
Dudnote

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RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to JasonM

Take any 4 note chord and look for every inversion possible for it. Arpegiate each chord slowly and say / sing the note names as you go. It's harder than it sound.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2016 6:33:59
 
Dudnote

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RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to JasonM

quote:

ORIGINAL:
Or start with the C major scale playing the 3 notes per string patterns, and memorize that way perhaps?

I've been looking at this and, yes, why not start with E or A phyrigian, play them all over the neck, but sing the note names as you go to avoid the problem Chester mentions. I play those scales all the time as warm up, but adding the singing of note names is making my brain work in new ways other than just working through the geometry of the thing. If you practice that daily you would be well on your way. Varying the intervals so it's not just straight scales is going to help too.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2016 20:15:35
 
Piwin

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RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to JasonM

I think working with scales makes more sense than doing it string by string.
I started out learning the interval patterns for a scale (like wwhwwwh) off the guitar, just learning it by heart.
While doing that I'd play around the neck with certain intervals (like playing only whole steps, looking at all the possible variations to play that interval from one string to the next one, skipping strings, etc. then the same with half tone)
Once comfortable with that, I'd pick any note at random, with any finger, anywhere on the fretboard, and work how to play the scale I was trying to learn from there. It's a pain at first, but working it out on your own is always profitable in the end (like working out a piece by ear instead of dowloading the tab. always worth it in the end) I found it was a good way of not getting stuck with patterns. Though by doing it that way, you're actually reasoning in terms of scale degrees and not so much in terms of the actual notes. Though once you're comfortable with the scale degrees, adding the exact name of the note you're playing isn't difficult, provided you know the name of the root note. Working in terms of scale degrees also teaches you very easily what to call accidental notes (i.e. is it G flat of F sharp? etc.).
Also, as was mentioned previously, singing out the names of the notes always helps.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2016 22:18:00
 
JasonM

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From: Baltimore

RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to JasonM

Thanks for the suggestions and insight. fretboard warrior looks pretty handy, and I've been looking for an app for the iPad that would quiz or guide through some theory. But im conflicted with Chester's point- just learn to read notation, that way I'm given the note name and forced to find it.

However, I know people can still get boxed in even though they can read notation. You could recognize an arpeggio and just go back to playing it in the same position. I've avoided learning to read this far because I don't think it's worth my time to know.

I guess there are multiple ways and each is a pain. I do have a few books, one on theory applied to guitar. The latest one I've been working on is a jazz method called ii V I, and just builds on those chords, scales and arpeggios, which at least makes it more fun to learn. But I'm always afraid of getting boxed in to geometries like Dude Noted states. So easy to do!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2016 0:39:51
 
Dudnote

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RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to JasonM

There's an awesome little app for Android called smartChord - but better known as the guitarists Swiss Army Knife. Meteronome, tuner, scales, chords, ear training, circle of fifths, etc etc

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2016 1:37:46
 
minorthang

 

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RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to JasonM

I think Dudnote has great suggestions ,

you could also just play a simple melody like3-4 notes all over the fret board

playing 3 note chords then inverting them insay5 positions is a great way then add the fourth tone creating 7ths , b7ths , major 7, minor etc gradually over the fret board and give yourself plenty of time to do it .

in reading recognizing notation its a cool idea too music for other instruments say violin and play music you never heard before
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2016 4:55:35
 
chester

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RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to JasonM

Here's the thing - playing scales and singing/thinking about the note names is boring af. Unless you're super committed you most likely won't stick with it.

Practicing inversions is great - if you want to be able to play one chord all over the neck. I can see it now - "Hey baby check out how I play the **** out of this Fmaj7 chord". Real impressive eh?

Here's another suggestion - learn a song, then learn another way of playing it, then learn another song. After 10 songs you're going to know the fretboard a little better. After 50 songs you'll know it a lot better.

Reading music is an upfront investment that will be hard at first but help you learn new stuff down the line. You don't HAVE to do it but I guarantee you'll never regret it.

If you consider yourself a serious player, 3-note-per-string scales and drop-2 inversions are a minimum.

quote:

you could also just play a simple melody like3-4 notes all over the fret board

What's a 4-note melody? Beethoven's V - what else?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2016 6:43:59
 
Piwin

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RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to JasonM

quote:

But I'm always afraid of getting boxed in to geometries like Dude Noted states. So easy to do!


That's pretty much why I was suggesting learning the intervals / scale degrees. Somebody showed me this "3-note-per-string" pattern. It's good for right hand picado exercices but pretty limited if what your interested in is feeling "free" on the fretboard. If you're going by a theory book, don't get anything that's applied to the guitar. Get the theory down and then work out how it applies to the guitar by yourself. You really won't regret it.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2016 10:06:04
 
Ricardo

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RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to JasonM

Learn the 7 patterns 3 note per string by key signature, not by scale names. They overlap and soon the entire board is mapped out clearly. Go around the circle of 5ths this way. (Start no sharps or flats, add a sharp, add a flat, two sharps, two flats, so on...)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2016 11:23:53
 
Sr. Martins

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RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to JasonM

The diatonic modes are a very underrated way of learning the whole fretboard in a vertical and horizontal way.

It let's you avoid memorizing shapes and you'll play "from where you are at". It's kinda tricky to explain this but believe me, it's good for your ears and your understanding of the fretboard as a whole. You can derive anything you want from this apporach with minimal memorization.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2016 13:03:04
 
Dudnote

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RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to Sr. Martins

Can you give us a bit more Rui, like any routines you go through (or used to go through) that used this. Presumably to get the most out of a modal approach you want someone of something giving you chords that you play over. I suppose one option there is pre-record stuff - taylorring the complexity of the chord progression to you level. Did I catch your drift?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2016 13:58:42
 
Sr. Martins

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RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to Dudnote

quote:

Presumably to get the most out of a modal approach you want someone of something giving you chords that you play over.


No, that's not it at all. That's the modal approach as in MUSIC, not as in FRETBOARD PATTERNS. Guitar players always mix up the theory of the instrument with music theory, that's why I always encourage people to learn about other instruments, genres and eras of music.

I don't have time right now to come up with a good explanation to how this works. If Ricardo or someone else doesn't show up first, I'll give it a try next week.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2016 14:06:27
 
JasonM

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From: Baltimore

RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to Sr. Martins

I think I will stick to the 3 note per string shapes as Ricardo suggest. I started in the key of C a while back (10 years ago) and never followed through with it. Thing is, to me i get too bogged down with info if I start trying to memorize note names positions intervals finding inversions. I need structured baby steps if I'm going to stick with it
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2016 18:13:24
 
Sr. Martins

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RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to JasonM

The approach I suggested is also 3/2 notes per string. The difference is that by learning 7 basic shapes you won't ever need to "move around to the next box". You'll be able to just keep playing from wherever you are with any "starting finger".

It's also good to break out of the habit of starting with the index. Try starting with the root on the 6th string with the pinky and play "to the left".. which would be index finger on the 5th string.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2016 18:33:08
 
Dudnote

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RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to chester

quote:

ORIGINAL: chester
Practicing inversions is great - if you want to be able to play one chord all over the neck. I can see it now - "Hey baby check out how I play the **** out of this Fmaj7 chord". Real impressive eh?

There's more to learning inversions than that. For example, you can learn from tab the music of masters and never really understand what they are playing. But if you know your inversions their music is more likely to hit a chord with something familiar from your book of tricks.

Also, knowing your inversions gives you a great gateway to finding falsetta or chord progression variations. So is a useful trick to get you thinking of new variations. Which starts sounding similar to what you're saying.

And yes, the ideal is not to stagnate with exercises but get to the music. But exercises can be a useful stepping stone if not over done.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2016 19:21:33
 
Kiko_Roca

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From: Midwest, USA

RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

Original: Ricardo
Learn the 7 patterns 3 note per string by key signature, not by scale names.


I've always played by ear or read tab with the exception of the short time I spent in lessons. Can you give a little more explanation what you mean by key signature and not scale? Like for example on the picture I uploaded below (found online) do you mean learn each of these 7 patterns at the first fret and the associated key they are in, Then go by 5th above each key signature and... I think I get completely lost here. Sorry if I am just being dense.

Attachment (1)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2016 21:38:22
 
Sr. Martins

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RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to Kiko_Roca

Now that I think of it... the modal thing I mentioned is basically the same thing as learning the 7 patterns for a key signature. In the end, you'll be able to visualize how everything overlaps.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2016 21:50:55
 
El Kiko

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RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to Kiko_Roca

Now we have 2 Kiko's ..............?¿

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2016 22:02:23
 
Piwin

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RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to Dudnote

quote:

And yes, the ideal is not to stagnate with exercises but get to the music. But exercises can be a useful stepping stone if not over done.


That's kind of what I was trying to hint at: getting to the music. I started music on a wind instrument. There really weren't any "patterns" of any real use. So you just had to get down to work and learn the theory. After a while knowing the relationship between notes in any given scale or mode just becomes natural, though of course there were always some scales that were trickier just because of the fingering. When I started guitar I thought it was amazing how easy the whole pattern-approach worked out. You could basically play anything without giving any thought to the actual notes and underlying theory. Then I noticed that very often you could tell when a person's playing was being led by the patterns and not by the music. You can just hear it. And so I dropped the whole pattern approach. It can be useful, but you reach a point fairly quickly where I think it actually limits you, cages you in, more than anything else.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2016 22:04:31
 
BarkellWH

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RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to El Kiko

quote:

Now we have 2 Kiko's ..............?¿


As they used to say in the old Western films, "This town ain't big enough for the two of us."

Bill

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2016 22:11:31
 
Ricardo

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RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to Kiko_Roca

quote:

ORIGINAL: Kiko_Roca

quote:

Original: Ricardo
Learn the 7 patterns 3 note per string by key signature, not by scale names.


I've always played by ear or read tab with the exception of the short time I spent in lessons. Can you give a little more explanation what you mean by key signature and not scale? Like for example on the picture I uploaded below (found online) do you mean learn each of these 7 patterns at the first fret and the associated key they are in, Then go by 5th above each key signature and... I think I get completely lost here. Sorry if I am just being dense.


yes that is a good start, so long as you can realize it is ONE FLAT you are dealing with (Bb in this case everywhere), and you can actually begin with the ending locrian pattern in OPEN position. You can take the flat away (B naturals) and notice the relationship to the original key and how you both altered existing known patterns, AND simply changed them into patterns you learned but moved 7 frets up or 5 down. (Adding a flat, Eb would mean 5 frets up or 7 down to change).

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 7 2016 15:24:18
 
Brendan

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RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to JasonM

All these good doctors have written prescriptions for you without doing a diagnostic interview.

What do you already know? Have you learned the notes up to some point and need to fill in the remainder, or is the whole plank a blank?

What do you want to do with this knowledge? Improvise? Compose? Or just know what to do with your capo when someone shouts a key signature?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 7 2016 18:13:25
 
Piwin

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RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to JasonM

The good news is that so far as I can tell not knowing the fretboard isn't a disease or illness that requires any prescription whatsoever...ahem.

In the meantime, though what has worked best for me has been figuring most it out on my own (from non-guitar related theory books, then figuring out how I can apply it to the guitar), here's a free book I've been looking up from time to time for new ideas (it's pretty thorough as far as scales are concerned). Most of it is the usual "CAGED" approach but maybe you'll find something of interest in it.

http://ia802702.us.archive.org/22/items/ScaleAndArpeggioResourcesAGuitarEncyclopedia/Scale-and-Arpeggio-Resources--A-Guitar-Encyclopedia.pdf

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 8 2016 16:47:53
 
Kiko_Roca

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From: Midwest, USA

RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL:Ricardo
AND simply changed them into patterns you learned but moved 7 frets up or 5 down. (Adding a flat, Eb would mean 5 frets up or 7 down to change).


I understand what you mean now, thanks for the further explanation!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 9 2016 13:19:47
 
Kiko_Roca

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From: Midwest, USA

RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to El Kiko

quote:

ORIGINAL: El Kiko

Now we have 2 Kiko's ..............?¿


Mine is a nickname from High School that stuck with me. What should we do... Maybe meet for drinks in the AM and duke it out old fashion like in the evening if we can still stand?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 9 2016 13:23:36
 
El Kiko

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From: The South Ireland

RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to Kiko_Roca

Mine too was nickname i got years ago living in Montilla , Cordoba...
every one watched a mexican comedy called ..El Chavo Del Ocho ...
and decided I looked like one of the comedians on that show called KIKO ...and so it began ....

This guy ...(I got to admit i had i similar kind of hat that i could'nt wear anymore as it made my appearence worse ....)
it just kinda stuck even after all this time



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 12 2016 17:43:51
 
Leñador

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RE: Approaches to learning the fretboard (in reply to JasonM

quote:

El Chavo Del Ocho

No way you guys watched that show out there?????
Hilarious, I can now see the resemblance! lol

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 12 2016 20:19:38
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