Fretboard Basics: Fretboard 101. Part 2

author: ancientson date: 02/14/2012 category: for beginners
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This is my new series Fretboard Basics. Through this series we will learn how to navigate the fretboard, chord construction, learn the major and minor scales and basic song writing techniques. This series is a follow up to my Beginner Basics lessons and is intended for the beginner audience. Enjoy! Hello there and welcome to Part 2 of my Fretboard Basics series. I do apologize for the lag between these two lessons. I will be more consistent in the future. =-) I would like to thank all my readers for their comments, questions and ratings. This helps me as an instructor in future writings and lessons. I do listen and I do reply; keep them coming! So, what are we going to talk about now????? In this lesson we will talk about: Accidentals! How fun! But first... Some advice When I write out a lesson, I am not just teaching something off the top of my head or narrating some other instructors book. I am taking it from years of study, advice, feedback and overall experience. Each lesson in a series leads up to something. For instance, this series. It does start a little slow, but you need to know how to walk before you can run. Accidentals Remember my previous lesson, Fretboard Basics; Fretboard 101, were discussed natural notes? What are the notes in between those natural notes? First, let me recap... Using my piano reference, the white keys are all natural notes; A, B, C, D, E, F, G. So, what are the black keys? Those are your sharps or flats; Accidentals! A sharp is when you raise the a natural note a step and a flat is when you lower the natural note a step. As guitarists, we do not have the luxury of white key, black key. We do however have fret markers that guide us throughout. If you know where your natural notes are on the fretboard you will find this lesson easy, if not, then you should go back and read the previous lesson. Now there are two things to keep in mind during this lesson: 1) Do NOT worry about the sharps OR flats reference. It will become clear later. 2) Know that for the purpose of this lesson, accidentals will have two note names When we get deeper into this series, you will jump up in the air and say, Oh, I get it now!. So with all that being said, let's take a look at an example. Since the alphabet starts with the letter A, I will start with the A string to keep it all in order. First, the natural notes: Example I:
A |-----|---B---|---C---|------|---D---|------|---E---|---F---|------|---G---|
^    ^      ^       ^       ^      ^       ^      ^       ^       ^
0    1      2       3       4      5       6      7       8       9      10
Now the accidentals: Example II: *The lower case b means flat and the pound sign (#) means sharp
A |A#/Bb|-----|-----|C#/Db|-----|D#/Eb|-----|-----|F#/Gb|-----|G#/Ab|
^    ^     ^     ^     ^     ^     ^     ^      ^    ^     ^     ^
0    1     2     3     4     5     6     7      8    9     10    11
OK, confused? If this is your first time looking at this, then I am sure you are. No need to worry or be confused. We will dissect this together. We are looking at the A string with all the accidentals up to the eleventh fret. The first thing that you notice is these frets have two names. For instance the first fret; A# (A sharp) OR Bb (B flat). Why is this??? For the purpose of this lesson, I just want you to be aware of this fact. There is a method to the madness and it will be explained in part three. Learning the fretboard might seem like a daunting task, but it reality it is very easy to master. The main thing to remember in music is your A, B, C's! Finding the note It is time to work your brain! This is a great exercise I read in an article years and years ago from one of my favorite guitarist, Joe Satriani. I still use this exercise myself, show it to my students and now I am passing it on to you. I want you to find each accidental on each string. Here is how it works: Start with the low E string or your 6th string, and find A flat. Locate this note in every position on the low E String. Keep in mind, on acoustic guitar, it will be in one playable position. On the low E string this note will be on the 4th and 14th fret. Making sense??? Now, find the same note on the A string. Then on the D string, so on and so forth until you can find these notes on any string on any fret in your sleep! Remember, I only want you to find the accidentals. Now using the same concept as above, find the following accidentals: C#/Db, D#/Eb, F#/Gb, G#/Ab, A#/Bb I know that this lesson was a bit shorter, however it does include a very intense exercise that will take time. I wanted to break it up so you can concentrate on one thing at a time. Once you see the next lesson, you will then understand. Remember, practice slow, have patience and most importantly have fun! Any questions or comment feel free to email me. Peace -ancientson
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