#1
So, something that I've been wondering about is practicing chords and scales without looking. I'm relatively new to playing and I've taken a notice to the fact that I'm not able to play the scales and chords I already know without staring down my fretboard and my picking hand to make sure things are aligned.

Is it a good habbit to try getting used to playing without looking at either? At the moment, I can't really do it at all. Will playing the frets and strings you want without looking come with time, or do you have to specifically practice it? Also, if there are others that still look, do you still look mostly at your fretting hand or your picking hand? How long did it take before you stopped looking ?

I honestly find that I'm looking more at my picking hand to make sure I'm hitting the right strings, or, when I'm running up and down scales I'm looking at the frets as I move from one note to the next.

Just curious to know others views on this.
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#2
It will come when whatever you are playing is really familiar. You may know it, but you have not developed the muscle memory yet. Be patient, it won't take too long, but even experience players look down on occasion, Hendrix did.
#3
Quote by JWW83
Is it a good habbit to try getting used to playing without looking at either? At the moment, I can't really do it at all. Will playing the frets and strings you want without looking come with time, or do you have to specifically practice it? Also, if there are others that still look, do you still look mostly at your fretting hand or your picking hand? How long did it take before you stopped looking ?

Playing without looking at the guitar will just come with time as you learn the fretboard and riffs "by heart". Not that it really matters though. My fave band's lead guitarist is very good and he still looks at the board a lot of the time, so it's a pretty individual thing. Of course it helps if you want to headbang a lot
#4
Yeah, at some point it will just happen. It just takes time to move your fingers from one chorded position to another in the beginning, but soon you'll be able to do it without thought. It does take practice. And yes, you will still occasionally look down at the fretboard (some of it instinctively) but mostly for chords that have a more difficult fingering.
#5
just start off by trying to stop looking at your picking hand. the strings dont move anywhere, and your hand should stay in the same general area, and this allows you to focus more on your fret hand anyway. you're going to hit some wrong notes at first, but thats normal. just give it time.
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#6
As you gain experience, you'll be able to play mostly without looking. It definitely takes some time. Not something worth practicing though, as it happens naturally.
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#7
It kind of comes with time, especially if you play in a certain key a lot. I can fiddle around in E pentatonic or E mixolydian pretty easily without looking. i never specifically practiced it, like above it has to do with muscle memory and just being used to playing it often. Chords are a bit easier especially when you're doing basic open chords which I use quite often when I have to sing a song.
#8
Alright, thanks for all the feedback! I'm teaching myself to play so small habbits like that I wonder about since I have no one to tell me otherwise. It makes sense though. Guess I just need to do repetitions until my brain melts.
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#9
I look at my picking hand a lot more than my fretting hand too, and I'm starting to find I look down less and less - I've just reached the 6 month mark, so haven't been playing long either. If I'm playing something new I'm either staring at my fingers or the music though lol
#10
I can play without looking at my fingering for chords, but I do need to see when I play solo.
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#11
sometimes it's all depending if im improvising and i can't really figure out what key i'm in
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#12
You just kinda learn the stuff so much that you don't have to look. After about 2 weeks of playing the song 'Blood Bound' i was able to play it (for the most part) with my eyes shut. Muscle memory is a beautiful thing.
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#13
On your fretting hand, use a reference finger to just chill on the pick guard. Good way to learn muscle memory because you will know which string you are on by how much your pinky is curled.
#14
Quote by cdr_salamander
On your fretting hand, use a reference finger to just chill on the pick guard. Good way to learn muscle memory because you will know which string you are on by how much your pinky is curled.


1. Fretting hand shouldn't be anywhere near the pick guard.
2. That would be you're picking hand.
3. Anchoring is bad, why anchor and play if you can train yourself to unlimit, gain the muscle memory of the strings in a better fashion, and not limit yourself? I see no point to anchoring AT ALL. Anything you can do with it, you can do better without it.

Being able to play without seeing, like 99.99% of everything on guitar, comes with practice. The more you play and get comfortable with your guitar, the easier it becomes. You get muscle memory, things become easier, etc.

That's the same reason why you should start out SLOW when you first practice something, to get the proper muscle memory. You slowly get faster and faster, not because your 'getting better' (par se) but because of the muscle memory of the movement. You're "getting better" because your brain has developed and memorized the pattern.

Play a song a few times, you won't play it very well with your eyes shut unless you are VERY comfortable with your guitar already.

Play a song hundreds of times, it should be MUCH easier to play without looking.

I normally learn new songs by reading the tab/sheet as I play, not by looking at my hands. But thats because -I'm comfortable with where my strings and frets are- but (I do) make mistakes now and then.

But I've only ever been off by 1 string or 1 fret... but that gets weeded out with.. you guessed it.. more practice




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#15
And, in my experience - this depends on the guitar.

Does the guitar suit you, can you get a feel for it easily? A guitar that you have a good feel for will, in my opinion, act as if it is talking back to you. It'll work with you and everything feels like it comes together easier.


It's also good for training your ears to try not to look. If it sounds off - chances are, your off. See if you can correct without looking. but don't make a strain out of it.
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#16
Quote by idahoimmortal
And, in my experience - this depends on the guitar.

Does the guitar suit you, can you get a feel for it easily? A guitar that you have a good feel for will, in my opinion, act as if it is talking back to you. It'll work with you and everything feels like it comes together easier.

I have a feel for my Fender and my Yamaha. If I try to play without looking on my Kramer, I **** up a lot more. So I agree with this from personal experience.


It's also good for training your ears to try not to look. If it sounds off - chances are, your off. See if you can correct without looking. but don't make a strain out of it.

As obvious as this may be to some, for others its not. I know people who can't tell if they were flat or sharp when they missed a note.


+1 as well. my comments in red.




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#17
Quote by Invokke_Havokk
+1 as well. my comments in red.

I agree with you at the second part - but in all honesty, with effort put forward into listening to their own playing, especially on a piece they already know, most people can quickly notice an error. Especially on a chord, or a riff using a lot of open notes.
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#18
Quote by idahoimmortal
I agree with you at the second part - but in all honesty, with effort put forward into listening to their own playing, especially on a piece they already know, most people can quickly notice an error. Especially on a chord, or a riff using a lot of open notes.


Well...with effort and practice, yes. But they need at least a semi-trained ear.

I remember when I was first beginning, I could barely tell the difference between F# and F. Now I'm like "**** I was off by a fret", sometimes just before I hit the note...




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#19
Quote by Invokke_Havokk
Well...with effort and practice, yes. But they need at least a semi-trained ear.

I remember when I was first beginning, I could barely tell the difference between F# and F. Now I'm like "**** I was off by a fret", sometimes just before I hit the note...



Haha. I always the kind to play something over and over again... To my family's disliking. But it did help in getting my ears accustomed really fast. Not to the point where I could tune by ear - but I could tell if I was playing my stuff wrong.
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#20
look at Jimmy Page, he almost never looks when he plays...
i can't quite do it yet tough. especially when it comes to moving up and down the fretboard... then its really tough
#21
Quote by LedFender
look at Jimmy Page, he almost never looks when he plays...
i can't quite do it yet tough. especially when it comes to moving up and down the fretboard... then its really tough

Yeah Buckethead doesn't look either.
#22
Quote by tenfold
Yeah Buckethead doesn't look either.

And the difference is?

Jimmy Page is good.
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