#1
I've been spending some time lately really trying to memorize the notes on the fretboard. I'm making some progress and this knowledge has made some things easier but I have a question. How in the heck am supposed to be able to remember the notes right off the top of my head back to back if I was improvising a fast solo or something? It just seems like way too much to remember and be able to process on a whim even if you know what notes are where. If I knew the notes, I might could improvise a solo all over the neck, if i went extremely slowly. Will this get easier with time? Will the notes and their locations become so ingrained and so second nature that I can just jump from note to note while soloing? Thanks
#2
It will absolutely get easier over time. Just like learning the notes in open position. It took me about 6 months to be completely fluent in them, and be able to recall multiple keys: Not just the positions, but the notes. Keep at it.

My advice it to take easy sight reading stuff and try to do it in different places around the neck. It speeds up the memorization process.
#3
Well really when soloing all you need to worry about is root notes, then just know the intervals of the scale your playing. It just takes time to learn the fretboard, it helps to know the major (Ionian) sclae and its modes as well.
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#4
Quote by rockadoodle
How in the heck am supposed to be able to remember the notes right off the top of my head back to back if I was improvising a fast solo or something?


Can't help you there. I'm not sure it's really even possible. The thinking that
goes into recalling notenames isn't the same sort of thinking that goes into
improvising -- I don't think it can really happen fast enough to do in real-time
improvisation.

The main thing to understand -- from the title of your post -- fretboard navigation
is not at all the same thing as "knowing the notes". You can play all over the
neck, know the function of every note your going to play and how it will sound,
without having a single note name go through your head.
#7
Time will give you this if you persevere.

It will become an involuntary thought process.

This damn guitar thing isn't as instant as Guitar Hero suggests... blooming games..
#8
Ok, well if learning the notes on the fretboard won't allow me to recall them on the fly, will I at least start to remember what sounds are where on the neck? Over time, even if I can't name the notes i want to play for a run right on the spot, will I at least get to where I can remember where to go on the neck and get a feeling of what notes I need to play and where they are just through time, practice, and repetiton? (I realize that last sentence probably wasn't entirely grammatically correct, bear with me) Thanks
#9
Quote by rockadoodle
Ok, well if learning the notes on the fretboard won't allow me to recall them on the fly, will I at least start to remember what sounds are where on the neck? Over time, even if I can't name the notes i want to play for a run right on the spot, will I at least get to where I can remember where to go on the neck and get a feeling of what notes I need to play and where they are just through time, practice, and repetiton? (I realize that last sentence probably wasn't entirely grammatically correct, bear with me) Thanks



I imagine the answer to this question is yes.


In fact before I knew any theory at all I relied on simply memorizing what sounds came from what frets.

Keep it going...everything gets easier with time.
#10
The main thing to know for improvising are the scale degrees and chord tones.
Those pretty much have logical patterns within the scale patterns themselves.
The note names mostly are only useful if they can help you do that. I find that's
way slower than simply seeing them as subpatterns. Note names are most needed
to find and frame the key or scale you want to be in, it's more of an absolute
rather than relative process. I find I don't do that anywhere near as much.
#11
Quote by edg
The main thing to know for improvising are the scale degrees and chord tones.
Those pretty much have logical patterns within the scale patterns themselves.
The note names mostly are only useful if they can help you do that. I find that's
way slower than simply seeing them as subpatterns. Note names are most needed
to find and frame the key or scale you want to be in, it's more of an absolute
rather than relative process. I find I don't do that anywhere near as much.


By scale degrees do you mean scale intervals? Because I don't see how the intervals could help in improvisation and soloing if you can't even remember and visualize the notes on the neck on the fly.
#12
Scale degrees are just the notes in the scale and what the function of the note
is. Also the harmony is changing in time, so it follows that the function of the notes
changes to some extent based on the harmony as well.

For instance, take the typical ii7-V7-Imaj7 progression.

One thing I know is that the 1-3-5 of those chords are always going to sound
good played over the corresponding chord. If I can see the arpeggio shapes
of those chords anywhere on the neck, then I can easily find the right notes to
hit. Since the progression is all in 1 key, I know all those notes are from the same
scale. So, I can see the arpeggio shapes within the scale shapes. I can mix in some
scalar ideas and target the 1-3-5 of the I chord and I know that I can play some
interesting lines over the chords that doesn't necessarily follow the chords but it
will resolve in a place that sounds right. Furthermore I can use notes outside
the key in a similar fashion -- targeting a resolution in key.

I can do all that, and many more ideas, and not have to think of a single note name
while I'm doing it. It's all basically relating one pattern to another and knowing
what the notes in the patterns mean in relation to the key and the harmony.

Certainly the note names are helpful, especially if the harmony is complex. But,
to "navigate the fretboard" it's not essential.
#13
It's easier if you think "ok there's an A, and I'll play a C after it" and you think of the interval between the two (m3), instead of just looking around randomly on the fretboard for a C. If you know interval spacing on the guitar, it makes it much easier.
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#14
I never think about what notes im playing individually, I think of them collectively like.. I'm playing a CM9 lick right now. The only time I really think about what I'm playing is when I finish a phrase. Then I'll look for a chord tone. But I'm never like, "Oh, I'm going to do a scale run in thirds.. heres a A, C, E, G, B, D, F.." I just know what the thirds pattern is.
#15
Quote by rockadoodle
I've been spending some time lately really trying to memorize the notes on the fretboard. I'm making some progress and this knowledge has made some things easier but I have a question. How in the heck am supposed to be able to remember the notes right off the top of my head back to back if I was improvising a fast solo or something? It just seems like way too much to remember and be able to process on a whim even if you know what notes are where. If I knew the notes, I might could improvise a solo all over the neck, if i went extremely slowly. Will this get easier with time? Will the notes and their locations become so ingrained and so second nature that I can just jump from note to note while soloing? Thanks

thats why you have these scale "shapes". you need to learn them inside and out as much as learning the notes. these shapes are there to make it easier to play. now personally, i never really learned the notes. if you told me to find a note though i could now. but when i play, i never think of the notes. partly because i learned first off with the shapes and learned how to connect them all together. ill hear what i want to do in my head, like maybe bend up to a certain note, but i wont think of the note name. i just do it.

you can practice knowing where the notes are all you want but if you dont actually practice licks, scale runs, etc... then improvising is going to be really tough. you need to practice those types of things so that your hands are so used to going through them that when it comes time to solo, you just do it.
#16
You need to learn all your scale shapes so you know the next note you play will sound ok when improvising and playing fast in a particular key. Try this free tutorial software at www.yourgpp.com. let us know how you get on!
cheers!
Last edited by prsdave at Jul 15, 2008,