#1
Which is the best way, or what are some useful ways, to familiarize oneself with the guitar fretboard?

Personally I find it useful to create a map that shows you what's going on musically, as opposed to just learning the names of notes.

For example, if you are playing say a Dorian scale starting from the 3rd fret (G) on the bottom E string, where would the relative aeolians be? Or Ionians? Or whatever. That's the kind of thing that interest me.

Are there any other useful ways to get to know the fretboard? What ways have been most useful to you?
#2
Learning the order of modes would help here.
In a major key it goes:
Ionian (Major)
Dorian
Phrygian
Lydian
Mixolydian
Aeolian (Relative Minor)
Lochrian

So, when playing G Dorian, which begins on the 2nd degree of the parent scale, it's easy to tell that the relative Ionian scale would be F Major, 2 frets back in position, just as we can see that D Aeolian would be the relative Aeolian scale.
Hope that clears it up a bit, I'm not the best at teaching.
#3
I would recommend Rusty Cooley's instructional video called "Fretboard autopsy". Even if you're not a shredder it's really helpful. He talks about the modes and every position and combination you could think of
#4
Modes are not what you need. Modes are almost never what anyone needs.

Learning the major and natural minor scales, all over the fretboard and really drilling in to the theory is where you really should go with it. So learn the notes, learn the intervals, learn how the arpeggios fit together, learn about resolution, learn everything you can about those two scales and how they work and you'll never need to learn a mode in your life.

It's also worth relating all this stuff to everything else you learn, getting how all this stuff works in context is not only extremely helpful to understanding it to begin with but seeing it in real life is almost more valuable than all the study in the world.

Finally, and I can't state this enough, make sure you stay aware of how it all sounds. That's what we're really working with here and it's the most important part; all theory is just a system for describing sounds so there's no point knowing it if you can't relate it to the sounds you hear. Once you know how it relates to things you hear you can start relating it to the things you hear in your head; that is the music you want to write.
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#5
Learn how to construct scales and chords, and then work them all out up and down the fretboard.

3 note per string major/minor scales
3 and 4 string triads

By the time you can play all 12 scales in every position and every basic triad, the fretboard will be second nature.
Last edited by cdgraves at Jan 7, 2014,
#6
Zaphod,

I beg to differ. Modes are very important. Besides, what you have described (the major and natural minor scales) are modes.

Learning the notes is something that I don't consider to be that helpful. It's a bit like learning the letters of the alphabet but without knowing about grammar. The reason why people are able to play by ear, and the reason why there are so many good guitarists who don't really know that much about the names of the notes or the names of the intervals within scales, is because musicality is not about such things. I'm not saying that those things have no use, but it's far more important to know what's going on musically on the fretboard. Music is about relationships. Note names and where they are on the fretboard isn't very helpful, musically. It's just an aid.

What you say about listening to the sound of what you're playing, that I do agree with, totally. And that's what needs to be developed. Some have more of a natural aptitude for it than others, but it's well worth developing. And actually it takes you much further than merely learning the names of the notes on the fretboard. I have to say, I find that approach very amateurish, and irrelevant to musicality.

I've devised a map that shows where the modes are on the fretboard relative to each other, which I'd like to attach here but I don't know how.
Last edited by leafarmusic at Jan 8, 2014,
#7
Quote by leafarmusic
Modes are very important.


Why? If you can come up with a convincing answer as to why then I'll change my tune.

Quote by leafarmusic
Learning the notes is something that I don't consider to be that helpful. It's a bit like learning the letters of the alphabet but without knowing about grammar. The reason why people are able to play by ear, and the reason why there are so many good guitarists who don't really know that much about the names of the notes or the names of the intervals within scales, is because musicality is not about such things. I'm not saying that those things have no use, but it's far more important to know what's going on musically on the fretboard. Music is about relationships. Note names and where they are on the fretboard isn't very helpful, musically. It's just an aid.

What you say about listening to the sound of what you're playing, that I do agree with, totally. And that's what needs to be developed. Some have more of a natural aptitude for it than others, but it's well worth developing. And actually it takes you much further than merely learning the names of the notes on the fretboard. I have to say, I find that approach very amateurish, and irrelevant to musicality.


If you'll care to take a look at my post you'll see that learning the notes was one of at least 6 things I suggested TS should work on, it was something I mentioned completely in passing compared to how much I emphasized learning about sounds and other, more useful theory, you completely missed the point of my post.

Just to clarify: what I'm pushing TS to do is actually understand how and why the major scale works the way it does and how that relates to music TS already knows. Hence the emphasis on sounds, intervals, arpeggios, resolution and so on and also hence only mentioning learning the notes once.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

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#8
Modes aren't important at all. They're an evolutionary dead end as far as music is concerned. There's certainly some benefit to be had from studying them and they can be used in certain specific situations but for the most part in modern music they'vd been redundant for centuries.

Also if you're thinking that modes are anything to do with shapes on the fretboard then you unfortunately don't understand them at all. Modes have nothing to do with the physical aspects of playing the guitar, shapes or patterns. Modes are a melodic, and to a certain degree in contemporary music harmonic, concept - if you're approaching modes in anything other than terms if sound then you're unlikely to be using them at all.
Actually called Mark!

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#9
Zaphod,

When you say TS, I don't know what you mean. I don't know what that stands for.


Ok, the diagram below shows what I mean.

Brown = LOCRIAN mode
Yellow = DORIAN mode
Orange = PHRYGIAN mode
Green = MIXOLYDIAN mode
Red = AEOLIAN mode

The diagram doesn't show every single note within the modes, it only shows the beginning and end notes of the modes.

So, the diagram shows how the modes look in relation to each other. The key doesn't matter, what matters is how to go from any mode to any other relative mode in the same key.

The diagram maps out the key (whatever key you're in - which is why I haven't specified fret numbers).

Let's say that you don't know how to play the piano and you don't know anything about music. And let's say that someone plays a chord sequence such as C maj, F maj, G maj, A min, D min, E min, and they ask you to accompany them on the piano. Even though you don't really know what you're doing, as long as you stick to the white keys (aka the key of C), everything you play will sound fine because it's in key.

In other words, the visual layout of that key will be very easy to see.

This diagram is kind of like the equivalent of that, in the sense that as long as you know the pattern of where modes are in relation to each other, you will always be in key rather than hitting bum notes, and you will then be free to express yourself creatively on the guitar because you will have a palette on which to paint (play). But the bonus is that you can apply this map to any key at all.

It's a bit like memorizing the entire night sky by familiarizing yourself with where constellations are in relation to each other.

This is a map that takes a step back from individual notes and uses a holistic point of view to show where clusters of notes are in relation to each other. And it would be very easy to devise exercises to familiarize oneself with it.

Another way of looking at it is to imagine memorizing the street layout of an entire city. This is the equivalent of memorizing the locations of clusters of streets in relation to each other. Once you have memorized the street layout of a particular neighbourhood, and then another and another, you can put them together to form a full map of the whole city, and if you want to go from one neighbourhood to another, you'll know how to get there.
Attachments:
demo diagram.png
Last edited by leafarmusic at Jan 8, 2014,
#10
Oooh...I remember you now!

I'm just gonna move this to MT...
Actually called Mark!

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...it's a seagull

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#11
Quote by leafarmusic
Zaphod,

When you say TS, I don't know what you mean. I don't know what that stands for.


Thread starter.


Quote by leafarmusic
Ok, the diagram below shows what I mean.

Brown = LOCRIAN mode
Yellow = DORIAN mode
Orange = PHRYGIAN mode
Green = MIXOLYDIAN mode
Red = AEOLIAN mode

The diagram doesn't show every single note within the modes, it only shows the beginning and end notes of the modes.

So, the diagram shows how the modes look in relation to each other. The key doesn't matter, what matters is how to go from any mode to any other relative mode in the same key.

The diagram maps out the key (whatever key you're in - which is why I haven't specified fret numbers).

Let's say that you don't know how to play the piano and you don't know anything about music. And let's say that someone plays a chord sequence such as C maj, F maj, G maj, A min, D min, E min, and they ask you to accompany them on the piano. Even though you don't really know what you're doing, as long as you stick to the white keys (aka the key of C), everything you play will sound fine because it's in key.

In other words, the visual layout of that key will be very easy to see.

This diagram is kind of like the equivalent of that, in the sense that as long as you know the pattern of where modes are in relation to each other, you will always be in key rather than hitting bum notes, and you will then be free to express yourself creatively on the guitar because you will have a palette on which to paint (play). But the bonus is that you can apply this map to any key at all.

It's a bit like memorizing the entire night sky by familiarizing yourself with where constellations are in relation to each other.

This is a map that takes a step back from individual notes and uses a holistic point of view to show where clusters of notes are in relation to each other. And it would be very easy to devise exercises to familiarize oneself with it.

Another way of looking at it is to imagine memorizing the street layout of an entire city. This is the equivalent of memorizing the locations of clusters of streets in relation to each other. Once you have memorized the street layout of a particular neighbourhood, and then another and another, you can put them together to form a full map of the whole city, and if you want to go from one neighbourhood to another, you'll know how to get there.


I knew it, I knew this would be exactly what you meant. Dividing up the fretboard in to chunks has nothing to do with modes at all.

Now that this thread's been moved to MT though, I don't see the point in me sticking around; there will be people around here who can tell you why you're wrong in much more detail than I'm really able to express.

I will say this though:

It doesn't matter how you divide up the fretboard, if you're playing over a piece in a certain key then you're playing in that key, no matter how you choose to visualise the fretboard. Using mode names does nothing but confuse that point.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#12
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Thread starter.


I knew it, I knew this would be exactly what you meant. Dividing up the fretboard in to chunks has nothing to do with modes at all.

Now that this thread's been moved to MT though, I don't see the point in me sticking around; there will be people around here who can tell you why you're wrong in much more detail than I'm really able to express.

I will say this though:

It doesn't matter how you divide up the fretboard, if you're playing over a piece in a certain key then you're playing in that key, no matter how you choose to visualise the fretboard. Using mode names does nothing but confuse that point.


Using the concept of modes as a tool for fretboard familiarization can be very useful. The chunks that I've divided the fretboard into are based on modes, and it serves as a neat way of visualizing the fretboard in musical terms, whether one wants to focus on modes in a musical sense, or as just purely clusters of notes. Either way it does help a lot.
#13
Mate if you want to learn the fretboard, invest some time to study the intervals as they appear on the guitar neck.That knowledge ll make you see clearly all the chords you want,their inversions,arpeggios and whatever scale and their modes you are interested in.That ll create the map you want but it ll also help you to spend some time and know at least the positions of all the natural notes(without sharps or flats) everywhere on the neck.That ll add some important pieces to the fretboard puzzle that you def need to an extent.

So learn your theory, in order to understand how intervals serve as the building blocks of music.Treat everything as something with unique intervalic signature.Start with the major scale, harmonize it and see the chords it produces know what chord is the IV chord what is the VII play it using all sting sets etc etc etc and do that with all the modes too.If you do all that you ll see patterns emerging, how one mode differs from another one only by one note for example etc etc etc.

As for what scales and modes are useful its entirely up to the music you hear and wanna play.Obviously you have to know upside down your major scale and the natural minor since they cover alot of ground in western music but not all the ground.For example if you mention harmonic minor everybody ecpecially in the rock guitar realm thinks of YJM and they ll tell you unless you like neoclassical shredding you dont need it.But the truth is harmonic minor is used extensively to a lot of folk and world music around the world that has nothing to do with what YJM does(so its up to you and the music you hear to decide).Its all about the sound.If you like santana for example you might want to invest some time analyzing the Dorian mode since its a big part of his sound (and might never be interested in the phrygian mode for example)etc etc etc.

So everything is useful but to understand it you have to approach it as a sound first.If you can sing it from memory then you know it....and you also dont need extra shapes or patterns to memorize.So if you play for example your minor pentatonic and you want that Dorian flavor, if you studied your intervals you would know that you already play the intervals of the dorian scale except two, the second and the sixth.....add those two(especially the sixth) and people ll hear that characteristic dorian sound and you dont have to learn extra shapes, just know your intervals really well .
Last edited by Dreamdancer11 at Jan 8, 2014,
#14
Quote by Dreamdancer11
Mate if you want to learn the fretboard, invest some time to study the intervals as they appear on the guitar neck.That knowledge ll make you see clearly all the chords you want,their inversions,arpeggios and whatever scale and their modes you are interested in.That ll create the map you want but it ll also help you to spend some time and know at least the positions of all the natural notes(without sharps or flats) everywhere on the neck.That ll add some important pieces to the fretboard puzzle that you def need to an extent.

So learn your theory, in order to understand how intervals serve as the building blocks of music.Treat everything as something with unique intervalic signature.Start with the major scale, harmonize it and see the chords it produces know what chord is the IV chord what is the VII play it using all sting sets etc etc etc and do that with all the modes too.If you do all that you ll see patterns emerging, how one mode differs from another one only by one note for example etc etc etc.

As for what scales and modes are useful its entirely up to the music you hear and wanna play.Obviously you have to know upside down your major scale and the natural minor since they cover alot of ground in western music but not all the ground.For example if you mention harmonic minor everybody ecpecially in the rock guitar realm thinks of YJM and they ll tell you unless you like neoclassical shredding you dont need it.But the truth is harmonic minor is used extensively to a lot of folk and world music around the world that has nothing to do with what YJM does(so its up to you and the music you hear to decide).Its all about the sound.If you like santana for example you might want to invest some time analyzing the Dorian mode since its a big part of his sound (and might never be interested in the phrygian mode for example)etc etc etc.

So everything is useful but to understand it you have to approach it as a sound first.If you can sing it from memory then you know it....and you also dont need extra shapes or patterns to memorize.So if you play for example your minor pentatonic and you want that Dorian flavor, if you studied your intervals you would know that you already play the intervals of the dorian scale except two, the second and the sixth.....add those two(especially the sixth) and people ll hear that characteristic dorian sound and you dont have to learn extra shapes, just know your intervals really well .


This system isn't for learning intervals or how to play modes. It is for people who already know all that stuff. That's not what I'm teaching here. This system is a way of taking that knowledge to another level. In other words, it is for people who have the prerequisite knowledge to be able to make use of it.

If you were to play a dorian (for example), anywhere, any position, any key, would you then be able to instantly see where not only the other dorian patterns are (in the same key), but where other modes are too, in the same key, without having to stop and figure it out? If so, then that's to be admired, and that's what my system is there to teach.
#15
Quote by leafarmusic
This system isn't for learning intervals or how to play modes. It is for people who already know all that stuff. That's not what I'm teaching here. This system is a way of taking that knowledge to another level. In other words, it is for people who have the prerequisite knowledge to be able to make use of it.



Maybe iam missing something but i thought you were asking about how to familiarize yourself better with the guitar fretboard and not presenting your own system.If that is the case tell us specifically what system is that cause i dont see anything in your posts about it..

Scratch that...i just saw the photos
Last edited by Dreamdancer11 at Jan 8, 2014,
#16
Quote by Dreamdancer11
Maybe iam missing something but i thought you were asking about how to familiarize yourself better with the guitar fretboard and not presenting your own system.If that is the case tell us specifically what system is that cause i dont see anything in your posts about it..


I'm doing both. I'm happy to talk about my system as well as learning any other methods to familiarize oneself with the fretboard in a useful way.

If you scroll up you'll see a diagram. Let me know what you make of it and I'll explain further or answer any questions.
#17
Modes are only useful if you already understand the harmonic contexts that requires them. Which kinda presupposes familiarity with the fretboard.

For someone still learning where the notes are on the guitar, modes are an unnecessary complication.

Learning how to play the major/minor scales and basic major/min/dim/aug triads will cover every note on the fretboard.
Last edited by cdgraves at Jan 8, 2014,
#18
Wow leafarmusic you really don't know much. I'm sure you're the type of person that thinks that the main theme in Fur Elise is in "Lydian" and then moves to "Aeolian" because of that #4 to 5 trill that Beethoven plays.
Familiarize yourself with functional harmony. These are two sites that explain the basics of it:

http://www.franksinger.com/Amusic/functional_harm.htm

http://emedia.leeward.hawaii.edu/minasian/Adam.Harmony.html

Modes are limiting, and if you think that music can be broken down into shapes on guitar fretboard than you are the one who is "amateurish", to use your own words to describe learning the notes on the fretboard (which is a much much much more useful set of knowledge than "modes").