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Concerning knowing the notes on the fretboard



  • Good tip
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • tacosandbeertacosandbeer ✭✭
    Posts: 47
    A couple of exercise I use to give students - playing scales on one string up and down the fretboard, on one string. You can do a circle of fifth type of thing, a thirds type of thing, whatever. but that's one exercise that helped many of them.

    And that link Eddy posted - the fretboard, vertically, has a few spots with no flats/sharps (open, 5th, 10th, and 12th fret), a place with one sharp (7th fret - F# on the 2nd string), place with one flat (3rd fret - Bb on the 3rd string), two sharps (2nd fret - F# on the 1st and 6th string, and C# on the 2nd string), two flats (8th fret - Bb on the 4th string, Eb on the 3rd string), etc....

    There are some that may point out that the one sharp location, F#, can be looked at as a place with one flat, Gb (and the same can be said about the other examples). This perspective is not for you.

    Just my two cents based on things that have helped former students navigate/learn the fretboard.

    "Without music, life would be a mistake." --Friedrich Nietzsche
  • VgtralVgtral New
    edited January 2014 Posts: 1
    Not long ago I made a file to help with the fretboard notes.

    The top image is inspired by Musical Colors and the bottom image is from the Spiral Galaxy Guitar Method.

    Cheers, Mike

  • JonJon melbourne, australiaProdigy Dupont MD50B, '79 Favino
    Posts: 391
    Yes, lots of good advice here. Two things to add - firstly, if you really want to learn the note names (if that's important to you) learn to sight read proper notation. There's tonnes of material out there - try Bach's violin and flute pieces, or start with sight reading melodies to tunes. Choose to do it on the parts of the guitar you are less familiar with.

    Secondly, in my opinion - and this maybe somewhat controversial - knowing the names of the notes (A,Bb, C# etc) is fundamentally not important at all unless you a) need or want to be able to sight read traditionally notated music or b) want a quick non aural way to tell someone you're playing with what a set of notes are. In terms of actual performance and study, it is way, way more important to understand the functions of notes, i.e. to be able to see - and more importantly to hear - any given note on the fretboard as the root note, the b9, #11, 13, 5, 3, whatever, of any other note that it might be played in context with. To know all the possibilities of how a note may be used, and to hear those sounds in your head and understand their implications is a far more useful skill than being able to say that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, its an A.
  • Jon....Good points but if one is looking at going anywhere other than the amateur/ weekend warrior route...both of which are good ways to go IMO....reading is almost an essential now.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • JonJon melbourne, australiaProdigy Dupont MD50B, '79 Favino
    Posts: 391
    Jazzaferri wrote: »
    Jon....Good points but if one is looking at going anywhere other than the amateur/ weekend warrior route...both of which are good ways to go IMO....reading is almost an essential now.

    I agree, sort of, and of course it's a good thing to know as much as possible about music from every angle, but then I think of the times I need to read music now, and they're almost all non-performance times - teaching, playing the odd bit of classical music at home. In terms of the music I play and practice - gypsy and modern jazz - it's now almost all aural, improvisation, and memory focussed, and unless you have absolute pitch, the important thing is to be able to hear and see function in the context of chords and keys.
  • Joli GadjoJoli Gadjo Cardiff, UK✭✭✭✭ Derecho, Bumgarner - VSOP, AJL
    Posts: 542
    Sight reading is probably the best exercise: take a tune you already know and sight read it like you never read it before.
    On the other hand, everything being transposable on the guitar, if you know your arpeggios and where are your intervals, b9, #5 etc... you probably don't need to think what note you're playing... I know where they are, but I'll have to think an extra second to think what note it is... Can you spare a second at 230bpm?
    - JG
  • Al WatskyAl Watsky New JerseyVirtuoso
    Posts: 440
    The most effective method I know of has to do with an arpeggio study combined with an approach note exercise developed by Charles Banacos a very famous Jazz and Improvisation educator who was located in Mass. USA.
    It involves taking all the chord types through all 15 keys, including enharmonics , through all inversions using a set of approach notes such as double chromatic from above , Double from below, single chromatic above, below and etc. I'm pretty sure its copy written material, but should be available on the net.
    This is the method guys like Mike Stern and countless others have used to learn the fingerboard. It takes about 6 months to go through the series once. Its often said that if you get through it one time you will never have to do so again.
    I learned this from Bruce Arnold a well known educator here in NYC who studied with C. Banacos for 12 years and who doubtless has published on this topic in one or more of his excellent series of instructional books.
    I studied with Bruce and taught this method myself for years.
    Its doable , effective and very thorough .
    Google it, if you come up blank I'll try to steer you in the right direction.
  • dfassodfasso Northern California
    Posts: 12
    Healthy competition can be helpful with tedious activities. Challenge a friend to a "Great Note Off" 30 days from now. You will take turns naming or pointing to a string and fret and the challenger must correctly name the note. Have some incentive not to lose - that'll get you going!
  • pickitjohnpickitjohn South Texas Corpus, San Antonio, AustinVirtuoso Patenotte 260
    edited January 2014 Posts: 936
    Seems to me at 64 years young after falling asleep, or loosing interest in the Theory stuff having tried numerous times, it just hurts my head.

    However being able to play, or discover the sound in my head, and developing an EAR for the tunes I find enjoyable.

    Was Django or the many Gypsies playing up on all this stuff? I don't think so.
    Whatever it is that He had, that's what I think is important. He understood
    interval's and the relationship the chords had to each other. Could he tell you the proper chord name? I wonder. I'm sure he could show you what he did but to spell out the formula, that can only be guessed.

    I often wish I could tell someone what I'm playing, it's better now then ever, however. the sounds are just more important to me.

    I wish everyone well with their musical path. If this becomes your focus and helps make better music great.

    Anyway I do hunt and find many links to help and here is one that cleared the fretboard up a little for me.

    Visualize the neck of the guitar as if it were a piano

    sorry I could not get the PDF to load, I'll try and take a picture later

    pick on

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