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Guitar fretboard knowledge


gcerq

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This might be a big Duh! to a lot of you but Im just realizing how important to know were all the notes lie on ALL strings.

 

I'm deeply committed to learning jazz and it's forcing me to really get to grips with my musical theory.

 

I'm taking some lessons and my teacher emphasizes a lot learning where all the notes lie on the guitar. In years gone by I just knew some basic scales, phrases, licks and merrily played along. I knew the 5th and 6th string relatively well cause that's where all the chords root notes were played but below that, forget it.

 

Now I'm practicing arpeggios on all strings (using jazz standards) intervals, etc. Currently only the 2nd string (b) is still fuzzy.

 

Well, to the point, how many of you have an absolute knowledge of the guitar fretboard? Do you think its critical and the basis for good improvisational skills or do you just rely mainly on feel and scales/shapes?

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you should know the whole neck, it really is critical. but be patient, it comes with time.

 

learning intervals inside and out will make the process a little quicker (octaves are especially useful).

 

you're on the right track by practicing arpeggios on single strings, that's a great technique.

 

but the most important thing is playing tunes, and playing tunes, and playing tunes!!!! listen to different versions of the standards you learn, especially vocalists. learn the words, i swear it makes you phrase better when you associate the melody with a singer.

 

listen. play. listen. play. repeat :D

 

man, portugal did so great in Euro'04. did you get to see any games?

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FunkJazz, just listened to a tune on your site. Cool solo! I can´t do that yet :D

 

Has you mentioned, people also refer a lot to how important learning the melody is. There's so much to absorve that I didn't have time yet to explore that in an improvizing context but I will get there! I try to practice everything using tunes rather than running up'n'down the neck and I'm really "forcing" myself to go to the note directly on the string instead of rellying on visual cues such has 8s.

 

PS: Sad thing to loose on the final but I think we did a nice Euro. Ugly but effective footbal the greeks played. Hey, Congrats to them!

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When I first take on guitar students, I have them learn the location of every note on the fingerboard. It just makes the rest so much easier. I find that with knowing this, my students can break out of position playing and understand how they're always no more than a fret away from a "right" note.

 

Also, I have them learn to play the melodies to whatever songs they love. For me, I started with the Beatles canon and then moved through Zeppelin, Cream, Hendrix, Sinatra, etc. If the student is serious enough, I have them learn the bass lines as well. It's so important to be able to grasp a song's melody and harmony.

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The more you know, the more tools you have at your disposal to create the music you want.

In practice, it's some combination of knowing which notes you're playing (and where), and going on "feel". The scales and shapes give you a jumping-off point for creating what you want - knowing the different places on the fretboard where these can be played will give you more options.

 

A good ear for hearing the intervals will be a big help in the whole process, so working on your ear-training is a good idea too. If you hear a melody in your head, and know where to put your fingers to achieve it, it won't matter if you know you're playing C# (or whatever).

May all your thoughts be random!

- Neil

www.McFaddenArts.com

www.MikesGarageRocks.com

 

 

 

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Im my case, learning Jazz has certainly broaden my musical knowledge. With so many key variations and non-diatonic progressions it's very difficult to improvise whithout having a more solid musical background...
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Originally posted by gcerq:

Well, to the point, how many of you have an absolute knowledge of the guitar fretboard? Do you think its critical and the basis for good improvisational skills or do you just rely mainly on feel and scales/shapes?

I'm in total agreement with FunkJazz & Neil. In jazz, the more ways you can look at the fingerboard, the more options you have and the more ways you can manuever through the chord changes. To me, knowing the fretboard has so many advantages and is not that hard to learn it, that there's really no good reason not to. Unless you're constantly altering the tuning of your guitar, the notes are always in the same place :) . There are 2 E strings, so by learning one, you learn both. That leaves only 4 other strings to learn, and as you mention, most players know the A string because of the root of so many barre chords, so that leaves only 3 strings to learn. Also, learning the intervals, both how to finger them and recognizing them by ear, is also essential for improvising. But as FunkJazz said, tunes, tunes, tunes! And apply what you learn to as many different tunes as you can.

 

Paul

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  • 2 weeks later...
The b string thing buged me too. I read about a approch that help me get my mind around it. There is a black hole of sorts that sucks a note out of the guitar so there is a shift from the g to the b string. First think about the problem and work on the mental shift then when that starts to make sence then move on to the advantages that the shift can give. It is only one note but that one note is what makes a guitar a guitar. It is what makes the shape of a open e chord different than the shape of a open a chord. One note. Pretty deep man! hehehehe
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I'm quite ashamed to say that I know NOTHING about the notes up the fretboard (even though I have been playin guitar for about a half a year).

 

As soon as my refinishing job is done (a week at most) I am going to start dedicating some time to this. I know it won't be hard because I have been playing piano since I was 5 (10 years). I have the whole step/half step thing down and generally speaking know the spacing of notes, I just haven't related it to the fretboard yet.

 

Is there anything specifically (scales etc) that you guys recommend I work on?

The forumite formerly known as Cooper.

 

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." John Lennon

 

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will finally know peace." Jimi Hendrix

 

"Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens." Jimi Hendrix

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Play all the notes on the guitar and say the nam :wave: es at the same time (helps if you sing them in tune). Learn the major scale. Then the modes and minor all come from that.

1st mode(1st note of major): Ionian (Major)

2nd mode(start on 2nd note of major): Dorian

3rd mode(" 3rd note of major): Phrygian

4th mode(" 4th note of major): Lydian

5th mode(" 5th note of major): Mixolydian

6th mode(" 6th note of major): Aeolian (minor)

7th mode(start on 7th note of major):Locrian

Take a piece of paper and draw a bunch of fretboards on it and learn to spell them out on paper as well as playing the modes on the guitar at least two if not three octaves. Hope that helps.

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