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Old 01-16-2013, 11:19 AM   #1
donegan_zealot
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How did you learn the fretboard?

I've gotten to the point to where I am going to slow down on working on technique and start working on my theory, So I am starting with the very basic.. learning the notes on my guitar. I am pretty good at finding all my octaves.

What's the most effective way of learning the fretboard? Do I learn where all the sharps and flats are first? Should I learn horizontally or vertically up the fretboard?
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:33 AM   #2
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I like "The Guitar Fretboard Workbook." It's focus isn't on learning all the note names, but it gives you a technique for learning them.

Start by learning the various root shapes, so you can see how a note repeats. They all repeat in the same pattern. (This is the heart of the CAGED system).

Then start one note at a time. Location all the C's. Play them. Repeat this, saying the name of the note as you play it, for a couple minutes a day for a week. Then move on to the next note.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:02 PM   #3
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3 things you HAVE to just know, and from there, you can access every note on the fretboard:

The musical alphabet: A B C D E F G (A)
That there are 1/2 steps between E-F and B-C (no sharp or flat between); all else are whole steps
And the names of the open strings: E A D G B E (6 5 4 3 2 1)

Avoid sharps and flats FIRST

Start on the 6th string: E
Proceed upward on that single string, going fret to fret (or open string to fret) when you encounter E-F or B-C

All other notes: skip a fret A-B. C-D, D-E, F-G, G-A

Do this on the 6th string and the 1st string. Both are E. It's a mirror image.

E (open), F (fr1), G (fr3), A (fr5), B (fr7), C (fr8), D (fr10), E (fr12).

Proceed to the 5th string, A: ascend, alphabetically and stepwise in a similar manner

Proceed to the remaining strings.

When you're done, return to the 6th string (E) and add in sharps and flats (for clarity in this, just use sharps ascending, and flats descending) >E, F, F#, G, G#, etc... <E, Eb, D, Db, C, B, etc...

Do this on the 6th string to get the idea. The principle applies to the other strings.

Then, learn the visual relationships of octaves across the fretboard...

To assist in learning the notes on the 4th string, notice the octave from the 6th string.

For the notes on the 3rd string, notice the octaves from the 1st string.

For the notes on the 2nd string, notice the 2 octave jump from the 6th string.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:22 PM   #4
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I usually teach students in this order:

The musical alphabet
Where the half-steps occur
Notes without sharps/flats that can be reached from the open position
5th fret is the equivalent of the next open string with the B being the exception (4th fret on G)
The 7th fret is an octave above the previous open string
We then move up to the 7th fret on the A string where the same layout of notes repeats (mind the B string!) The 12th fret becomes the new "5th fret" of this position
Everything past the 12th fret repeats so we have now covered the entire fingerboard with one overarching visualization (0-5 first, 7-12 second, above 12 repeats)
I then add in the sharps and flats as we play, if an F# is present they simply move the F up one half step.

Everything after that is just drills for note recognition speed.
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:47 PM   #5
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when i teach? string by string. avoiding sharps and flats, do first position first (frets 1-4), fifth position second (frets 5-8), and ninth position last (frets 9-12). i don't usually teach by the "octave rule" (two strings up, two frets up) unless the student is having a hard time. i want my students to know the fretboard, not to have to calculate it. you need to have the information down pat if you want to make use of it in real-time. after this, then i explain flats and sharps to fill in the remainder.

keep in mind that (unlike many guitar teachers, i notice) i teach my students to read. so if you're looking to read music, i advise this method.
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:12 PM   #6
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I never actually consciously learned the fretboard. If you asked me to find a note on it, depending on the string, I might be able to do it immediately, or it might take a moment of thinking.

Still, the strings I do know well, I know because I learned the note placements by playing chords. The low E and A strings, for instance, because of the power/barre chords you can play on them. And the high E, since it's the same as the low E. So, that's three strings just by practicing chords.

I tend to find notes on the middle D, G, and B strings by knowing my intervals from the strings below them. Like, if I'm on the A string, I know that going up a string and over one fret is a major third. I may not know the note name, but I know if it belongs in the melody I'm trying to play.

As I don't improv much, and I use composition software to write out my melodies, knowing where the notes are isn't quite as important. I can find them, use that as a jumping-off point, and write out my melody. That's good enough for me.
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:37 PM   #7
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I simply wrote it out when I was young, I have quite a decent visual memory so that worked for me.
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:58 PM   #8
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:35 PM   #9
Sam Hain
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Justin Guitar has a great lesson on learning the fretboard.
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:31 AM   #10
ouchies
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I learned the standard diatonic shapes and pentatonic shapes up the neck while at the same time learning arpeggios up and down the neck.

In hindsight, I spent WAY too much time on playing the diatonic shapes up and down the neck.

The best way, for me, to learn the fretboard is to learn arpeggios and chord shapes and see how all the notes relate to the respective chord shapes/arpeggios.
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:43 AM   #11
food1010
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I learned the fretboard by learning scales, simple as.

Start with the C major scale, because it's all the natural notes. Then just go around the circle of fifths, so you're only adding one sharp or flat at a time.
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:48 AM   #12
donegan_zealot
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Thanks a lot every one, I'll probably try giving Aeolian Wolf and Vlasco's methods a try to see if one seems to be more effective since they seem the most practical.
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:35 PM   #13
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I located the C note on each string

8th fret 1st string
1st fret 2nd string
5th fret 3rd string
10th fret 4th string
3rd fret 5th string
8th fret 6th string

Did this with each note (not including the sharpes and falts)
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:16 PM   #14
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Just read a tab of whatever you want to play in the beggining. I do that, and i would concider myself atleast intermediate.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OperaIsNotMusic
Just read a tab of whatever you want to play in the beggining. I do that, and i would concider myself atleast intermediate.


Are you saying he should look at a numbered diagram of the fretboard with the notes being pointed out? Or do you mean he should just use a tab for any songs he wants to learn?

If it's the former, memorizing that seems fine. If it's the latter then that would hinder his progress more than anything. A tab every now and then is fine, but for a musician a trained ear is probably the best tool you can have, and a tab wouldn't be helpful in obtaining that tool.
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Old 01-18-2013, 10:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morphogenesis26
Are you saying he should look at a numbered diagram of the fretboard with the notes being pointed out? Or do you mean he should just use a tab for any songs he wants to learn?

If it's the former, memorizing that seems fine. If it's the latter then that would hinder his progress more than anything. A tab every now and then is fine, but for a musician a trained ear is probably the best tool you can have, and a tab wouldn't be helpful in obtaining that tool.
This. In my opinion, you should only ever use tabs as an absolute beginner or if you have an obligation to learn something that is beyond your aural ability.
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:29 AM   #17
macashmack
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Quote:
Originally Posted by food1010
This. In my opinion, you should only ever use tabs as an absolute beginner or if you have an obligation to learn something that is beyond your aural ability.


I would say use notation for that
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:28 PM   #18
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i started listening

Quote:
Originally Posted by macashmack
I would say use notation for that


oh, shit on you. i'll say it: notation just doesn't have that much use for contemporary guitarists. unless you're going into a professional session, you probably won't find notation for any given song short of (typically inaccurate) guitarpro translations.

this isn't to say you shouldn't know how to read or write music, but for guitar music, notation just isn't as prevalent as if you were to learn, say, piano or trombone.

Last edited by Hail : 01-19-2013 at 03:30 PM.
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:57 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hail
oh, shit on you. i'll say it: notation just doesn't have that much use for contemporary guitarists. unless you're going into a professional session, you probably won't find notation for any given song short of (typically inaccurate) guitarpro translations.

this isn't to say you shouldn't know how to read or write music, but for guitar music, notation just isn't as prevalent as if you were to learn, say, piano or trombone.



Agreed
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:50 PM   #20
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I think it'd be hard to develop good technique without "theory". If you're going to spend time playing, it might as well be stuff that is fundamentally musical. It's far more useful to work your technique up with scales/arps/chords because you'll actually use those when you play music. Chances are very, very slim that you'll find a gig playing 4-note chromatic patterns all night.
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