I'm a self taught guitarist that's been playing for over 10 years now and hasn't mastered scales, or even knowing notes of the fretboard like I should.

I've written a few songs here and there, had a band going for a long while, and I'm interested in music theory and even reading sheet music because my musical interests expand beyond just what the guitar can do.

I'm familiar with the notes on the fretboard but not really proficient with them. I can read tab just fine and have tabbed out several songs. I feel like i'm a toddler trying to learn how to speak, as I have all these awesome melodies and thoughts in my mind and not much knowledge in how to express them as easily as I'd like.

I'm a cognitive learner, and I've tried learning scales, theory, and notes in all sorts of ways and I end up just getting discouraged or bored or just flatout frustrated with it. My frustrations come from having all these years of experience and wanting to progress faster than painfully slow.

I'm in the need for some directional advice, just to know where I should start. I haven't really messed with my guitar in a solid 2 weeks and it's something I really want to pick up, but I want to progress and become more fluent in "speaking" (as they say).

First time post, so i'm not sure if this post is where it needs to be.

Thanks for reading

No, it was a great first post! And welcome.

Can you go over specific areas of interest? You mentioned a band. What styles/songs do you like to play, and is your band original or cover? Are you the "musician" in the group, the one that knows the most?

I think knowing the notes on the neck is very important, if you want to be able to apply anything theory-wise to the guitar, especially in real time. Sometimes the speed of recall can make an idea turn into a task, rather than something thats quickly realized and integrated into your playing.

For example if I were going to chord tone solo over an idea. I know all the notes of every chord.

Dm C Gm and say Bb and then F....

So if I want to land on some Chord tones in my lead, and make it tight, as opposed to carpetbombing a lead or a scale, then knowing the notes of chords, in real time and merging that with the knowledge of the notes on the fretboard, I can come up with some ideas pretty quickly.

But if I had to write all the triads out by counting intervals, figuring out their correct letters, and then taking that idea to the fretboard, where there's a million ways they can be played, and deciding, I could spend an hour or I can spend 3-4 minutes.

I feel that if you can access that in "real time", that is a very useful skill set, and can quickly progress on to the "next thing" while your inspiration and creativity is still fresh. But if it takes me an hour, then it's probably going to make me tired and less inspired.

So, in my opinion, if you seek to understand and apply that knowledge, knowing the fretboard is a good first port of call.


Last edited by Sean0913 at Aug 18, 2014,