Learning The Fretboard. Part III

author: Lolcohol date: 06/22/2011 category: for beginners
rating: 9.8 / votes: 11 
Greetings! In my last lesson, someone asked me why knowing any of this useful. I wrote up a rather lengthy but poorly thought through response and thought I should clarify myself in this lesson. Essentially, you don't [i]have[/i] to know your fretboard like this. Music really is about sound and you can create beautiful music without necessarily knowing exactly what you are playing. But from experience, knowing your theory helps immensely. Not all of a us are natural genius songwriters, so if you are a normal human like me, I think it is a good idea to learn as much as you can to get ahead of the competition. I'll go through some points about why this is useful. 1. Songwriting and Jamming If you know your fretboard and what you're doing, you will become more efficient at songwriting and playing with other musicians. For example, if you are playing with friends, or strangers, and you list a chord progression as: 8th fret Em7-shape barre chord, 7th fret A7-shape, 2nd fret Amaj7-shape, then 6th fret Am7 shape, then this weird chord which is like this *spend five minutes showing your friend the right fingering* and then etc., you're going to waste a lot of time and you will have no idea which chords you're playing and which key you're in. This will make finding the key and scale to use hard and make the entire process of making music more complicated. Instead, if I can say to you The chord progression is Cm7, F7, Bbmaj7, Ebmaj7, Am7b5 etc... and you know your theory and keys, you could say Cool, the piece is clearly in Bb major, I'll use this C Dorian scale over it,, it is easy! The difference between jamming with guys who know what they're doing and guys who don't is huge. Playing with guys (or ladies) who don't know their music properly is incredibly frustrating and normally ends in anger and a failed practice session. Also, knowing your fretboard and theory (which I will teach in later lessons) will help you write better solos and improvise more cleverly. If you know the chord progression and the notes in each chord, you can use this knowledge to highlight chord tones to create a better solo. Knowing these things can also help with writing more interesting and more suitable-sounding chord progressions. Instead of learning a million different chord shapes, you can learn the notes of certain chords (which I will teach), and then play with the notes to create many inversions of the chord. 2. Real work in the music business Okay, if you want to keep music as a hobby, then it is fine to not know your music theory. Maybe you just like singing along with your acoustic for the joy of it and plan to go to university to study something that will actually earn you money :P However, if you want to make a living from music, it is a good idea to not assume that you will make it as a super huge rock star who earns millions of Dollars to shred in front of a crowd. If you love music and want to make a living from it, you should make plans for the future. How are you going to make money from only knowing how to shred? What options are available? Becoming a music teacher or session musician could work. The point I am trying to make is that if you want to make money from music, you should try to learn as much as you can so that you have more doors open to opportunity. If you want to be a music teacher, you might struggle to find work if all you can do is teach a kid how to play fast. If you want to become a session musician and a piece of music is put in front of you and you can't read music and don't know how to play the chords, you won't get the job. Of course, hold onto your dream of making it as a professional performing musician (it's what I would like to do!), but just be aware that it is a hard industry to get into and if all else fails, you might need to find another way to make money with your music. That's enough of that. Sorry for the epically long intro! In this lesson, we're going to be learning the notes past the twelfth fret as well as combining the previous scales we learned. It'd be a good idea to learn these in the same way you learned the previous scales slowly, one octave at a time, while making an effort to remember the frets as notes rather than numbers. For the notes past the twelfth fret; learn them in the same manner, but a bit of math can also help here: The 17th fret is the same note (an octave higher) of the 5th fret on the same string. 17 12 = 5, right? You can find similar notes past the 12th fret in this way. Let's go. Full scales from previous lessons:
E Phrygian
 
e|-----------------------------0---------------------------
B|-----------------------0-1-3-----------------------------
G|-------------------0-2-----------------------------------
D|-------------0-2-3---------------------------------------
A|-------0-2-3---------------------------------------------
E|-0-1-3---------------------------------------------------
  
   E F G A B C D e f g a b c d e
 
F Lydian
 
e|------------------------------0-1-------------------------
B|------------------------0-1-3-----------------------------
G|-------------------0-2------------------------------------
D|-------------0-2-3----------------------------------------
A|------0-2-3-----------------------------------------------
E|-1-3------------------------------------------------------
 
   F G  A B C  D E f g a  b c d e f
 
G Mixolydian
 
e|-----------------------------3---------------------------
B|-----------------------3-5-6-----------------------------
G|-----------------2-4-5-----------------------------------
D|-----------2-3-5-----------------------------------------
A|-----2-3-5-----------------------------------------------
E|-3-5-----------------------------------------------------
 
   G A B C D E F g a b c d e f g
 
A Aeolian
 
e|------------------------------5---------------------------
B|------------------------5-6-8-----------------------------
G|------------------4-5-7-----------------------------------
D|--------------5-7-----------------------------------------
A|-------5-7-8----------------------------------------------
E|-5-7-8----------------------------------------------------
 
   A B C D E F  G a b c d e f g a
 
B Locrian
 
e|------------------------------------7---------------------
B|------------------------------8-10------------------------
G|----------------------7-9-10------------------------------
D|---------------7-9-10-------------------------------------
A|--------7-8-10--------------------------------------------
E|-7-8-10---------------------------------------------------
 
   B C D  E F G  A b c  d e f   g a   b
 
C Ionian
 
e|---------------------------------7-8---------------------
B|----------------------------8-10--------------------------
G|---------------------7-9-10-------------------------------
D|--------------7-9-10---------------------------------------
A|------7-8-10----------------------------------------------
E|-8-10-----------------------------------------------------
 
   C D  E F G   A B c  d e f  g a  b c
 
D Dorian
 
e|-----------------------------------------10-----------------
B|--------------------------------10-12-13--------------------
G|------------------------9-10-12-----------------------------
D|----------------9-10-12-------------------------------------
A|----------10-12---------------------------------------------
E|-10-12-13---------------------------------------------------
 
   D  E  F  G  A  B C  d  e f  g  a  b  c  d
There's the first set of scales. Just one handy tip: Play these scales both up and down while saying the note names aloud. It's harder to say the alphabet backwards than forward and it will better test your knowledge of the frets. Also start testing yourself in other ways - just pick a random note on the fretboard and try to remember what it is :) Okay, here are the scales beyond the dreaded 12th fret. I'll post these as full two-octave scales, but try to learn the scales one octave at a time.
E Phrygian
 
e|-------------------------------------------12-------------
B|----------------------------------12-13-15------------------
G|----------------------------12-14--------------------------
D|-------------------12-14-15---------------------------------
A|----------12-14-15------------------------------------------
E|-12-13-15---------------------------------------------------
 
   E  F  G  A  B  C  D  e  f  g  a  b  c  d  e
 
F Lydian

e|----------------------------------------12-13-----------------
B|-------------------------------12-13-15------------------------
G|-------------------------12-14--------------------------------
D|----------------12-14-15---------------------------------------
A|-------12-14-15------------------------------------------------
E|-13-15--------------------------------------------------------
   
   F  G  A  B  C  D  E  f  g  a  b  c  d  e  f
 
G Mixolydian
 
e|---------------------------------------------15--------------
B|------------------------------------15-17-18--------------------
G|--------------------------14-16-17-----------------------------
D|----------------14-15-17---------------------------------------
A|-------14-15-17------------------------------------------------
E|-15-17--------------------------------------------------------
 
   G  A  B  C  D  E  F  g   a  b  c   d  e  f  g
 
A Aeolian
 
e|-------------------------------------------17----------------
B|----------------------------------17-18-20--------------------
G|-------------------------16-17-19------------------------------
D|-------------------17-19--------------------------------------
A|----------17-19-20---------------------------------------------
E|-17-19-20------------------------------------------------------
 
   A  B  C  D  E  F  G  a  b  c  d  e  f  g  a
 
B Locrian
 
e|----------------------------------------------19-------------
B|----------------------------------------20-22-----------------
G|-------------------------------19-21-22-------------------------
D|---------------------19-21-22-----------------------------------
A|-----------19-20-22--------------------------------------------
E|-19-20-22------------------------------------------------------
 
   B  C  D   E  F  G   A  b  c   d  e  f  g  a  b
 
C Ionian
 
e|--------------------------------------------19-20-------------
B|--------------------------------------20-22--------------------
G|----------------------------19-21-22---------------------------
D|------------------19-21-22------------------------------------
A|--------19-20-22-----------------------------------------------
E|-20-22--------------------------------------------------------
 
   C  D   E  F  G   A  B  c   d  e  f   g  a   b c
 
D Dorian
 
e|------------------------------------------------22---------------
B|-------------------------------------22-24-(25)------------------
G|----------------------------21-22-24-----------------------------
D|------------------21-22-24---------------------------------------
A|------------22-24------------------------------------------------
E|-22-24-(25)------------------------------------------------------
 
   D  E   F   G  A  B  C  d   e  f  g   a  b  c   d
There you have it. Don't worry if your guitar doesn't have 24 or more frets. My Strat only has 22. What you can do instead (also to test your knowledge) is to play the scale with all the notes, but in a different shape. eg. Your guitar doesn't have 25 frets, so play the 25th fret on the E-string (the F) as fret 20 on the A string instead. Hopefully these scales will not only help with your knowledge of the fretboard, but also with playing between those skinny higher frets. Next week's lesson will introduce 3 notes-per-string scales, as well as some weird backward scales that I invented. Good luck and practice hard!
More Lolcohol lessons:
+ Learning The Fretboard. Part IV For Beginners 07/20/2011
+ Learning The Fretboard. Part II For Beginners 06/15/2011
+ Learning The Fretboard. Part I For Beginners 06/08/2011
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