Do You KNOW The Fretboard?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Texicaster, Oct 6, 2019.

  1. JohnsonNavinR

    JohnsonNavinR TDPRI Member

    Age:
    119
    Posts:
    5
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2019
    Location:
    St. Louis
    Every fret/note cold. Used the Joe Satriani method, one note, every string, in order. One a day takes like 2 minutes.

    Start with the natural notes, a b c d e f g. All sharps/flats are next door. Use a chart if necessary.
     
    Jesse414, JayFreddy and Texicaster like this.
  2. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,076
    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    portland, or
    Knowledge of the fretboard and theory is recommended ... But ... If you are really playing music ... You're not thinking about it ...
     
    Mr. Neutron, Jesse414 and schmee like this.
  3. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Meister

    Age:
    39
    Posts:
    346
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2019
    Location:
    Paris, France
    Because I like modal music, I rely more on intervals shapes and patterns than on notes themselves. The fundamental is my starting point, then I can improvise with intervals and triads.

    I was never able to memorise each note on each scale and find these notes quickly on the fretboard...

    Also I find the English notation A B C etc. so much easier and more practical. But since I'm French, I always had to use the names of the notes (Do Ré Mi etc.), and I have difficulty in instantly know the interval between two notes, especially when descending.
    After 30 years playing the guitar, I admit I am a bit ashamed of that, but after all I do quite well with my method, so I guess I've found what works for me.
     
    bgmacaw likes this.
  4. 57fenderstrat

    57fenderstrat Tele-Meister

    Age:
    28
    Posts:
    314
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2019
    Location:
    Binghamton NY
    I agree with this. although it is important to know where notes are , it’s more important to just know how those notes are functioning over the chord you are playing over and the key you are in. It’s more important to know how to build different intervals off of the note your currently on and what sounds they will make when you do it.

    Like when someone like Larry Carlton is playing he’s not thinking of note names, I would imagine hes thinking things like a major arpeggio built off the second note makes this sound when I play it over the I chord. Or I can add this note into this chord for this color. Etc.

    knowing the fret that gives you the note C is important but the most important thing to know is how the function and sound of that same C note will be different in each key or situation.
     
  5. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    609
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2019
    Location:
    Scootchin' Over
    Getting to know the fretboard notes as a form of recall, like recalling things for an SAT test, is not really my goal. I want to know the fretboard well enough to play my guitar. That means I can find the tonics for keys that work for songs, give names to the tones along parts of the neck that I like as well as find scale patterns for them, hear the intervals and know their distances up and down and across the neck, etc. . . This means I use patterns and certain notes I know backwards and forwards to do things on my guitar.

    It's a time saver for me. I don't have to constantly look up notes when I'm searching for a major or minor or whatever. I use my note memorization to make music I want to hear and to find musical flavors, like modes or relative minors, that I'm not familiar with. I don't recall things well unless I find a context for them. That's probably the most difficult part of memorizing the fretboard--finding a musical context for specific notes. I've done that enough now that some notes are just old friends, like the G on the 3rd fret sixth string. I gravitate to that note. It's often the first note I play when I pick up a new guitar. I can hear it in my head as the first bent note of Dave Dudley's "Six Days On The Road".
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
  6. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,234
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2017
    Location:
    York PA
    25 years bass then guitar switch...walking the bass..taught me octave intervals...i know the board from that..the xtra b & e are finally sinking in...think maybe the root is my main thing..from there its navigation to accomplish what i want to, in context to whats going on musically in the passage..
     
  7. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Holic

    Age:
    59
    Posts:
    732
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2008
    Location:
    Buffalo
    I do know the fret board but I don't think about it often. I studied guitar with the Berklee Method decades ago and it taught ascending and descending patterns of scales and that is how I learned. There are times that I wished I would have kept reading but I do rely on much of that training to this day. No matter how you learn music and theory it is a wise investment.
     
  8. rolandson

    rolandson Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    228
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2017
    Location:
    Cascadia
    If, I think, one is also reading along in notation, a worthy exercise.
    But, might I suggest an alternative...

    Simple scales. Start with...C major scale, then D, etc... The major scale trains the ear to recognize the sounds/intervals/spacing of the majors.

    Then move to the minors.

    These are the notes that one uses to generate chords anyway, so why not use them to advantage?

    But any regular exercise, as long as one is looking at the standard notation / score / sheet music, whatever you want to call it, will be beneficial.
     
  9. dan1952

    dan1952 Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    4,224
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2004
    Location:
    Anderson, IN
    I know the fretboard. I learned it by learning to play simple melodies at first, starting at random places on the neck. Playing Happy Birthday or Mary Had A Little Lamb, etc., then moving on to more complicated songs. Once you've learned to play Scrapple from the Apple starting at any place on the fretboard, you've got the fretboard learned!
     
    Harry Styron and JayFreddy like this.
  10. jman72

    jman72 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,108
    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2013
    Location:
    Central Florida
    I've tried to learn it by heart several times. I end up making some progress, but always lose interest. This thread will likely jump start my latest attempt until I lose interest once again.
     
  11. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,908
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    Hudson Valley, NY
    I don't really see how instantly being able to name every note on every fret is really all that helpful in a typical rock-country-folk context where nothing is ever written down in detail, you grab the melody more-or-less by ear, keys are always changing, etc. I do more-or-less know the notes by name, but I don't call on that (too much) on the fly; what needs to be in muscle memory is "where is the b5 over the 1 cord in this position" "where is my IV chord notes in this position" "etc. - more relative knowledge (to the surrounding notes) than absolute knowledge. After all, de-tune by 1/2 step and all your "note names" are wrong - do you re-learn the whole thing? No, you do the same thing you did before which is play mostly-chord-tones over the changes.

    I grew up in a family of piano players -mom, brother and sister could name every note on the piano and sight read any piece of music, but their theory knowledge was zero and therefore, nobody had an inkling how to improvise any kind of part.
     
  12. blueruins

    blueruins TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    78
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Location:
    Honokaa, Hawaii
    I have recently acquired this goal and it has opened up a new world for me.

    I used a few methods: one of which was to create a list of all 12 notes in a completely random order. My list had 6 random assortments of the 12 notes so that I would never get used to the pattern.

    I then would play these notes on each string. And then between 2 strings groups. Eventually one note per string across the entire neck.

    The other method was away from the guitar I bought an app (sorry I can’t recall the name but there are many) that drilled note names of the fretboard. I think the app was the biggest help.

    It was a very laborious process for me and it took the better part of two years due to my lack of discipline.

    One of the things I like to do now is to think of chord names as their arpeggios...so if I see a E Major chord I will just think of it as an E, G#,B chord

    This really helps me with improvising because I can use each of the chord tones as landmarks and fill in the blanks between them with passing tones as desired.

    Beneficial with rhythm playing as well to alter the chord on the fly and add a 4th, 2nd etc..

    Patterns work great but knowing the notes cold gives you more freedom.
     
  13. CDox

    CDox TDPRI Member

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    52
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2019
    Location:
    Florida
    Yes
     
    grooveiron and rolandson like this.
  14. rolandson

    rolandson Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    228
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2017
    Location:
    Cascadia
    "Knowledge Is Good" Emil Faber

     
  15. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,338
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2009
    Location:
    South Australia
    Been playing since 1969 and the notes have sunk into my head over the years. Wish I sounded better even though some people think i do. It's a life long quest.
    I learned the notes by analysing all the notes, chords and relationships as i learned songs over the years. Buegrass is also a good way to learn. If you watch "wings of Pegasus" on Youtube Phil has a great respect for Bluegrass and Country as it requires absolute accuracy.
     
  16. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    54
    Posts:
    8,659
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Dallas TX USA
    Of course.

    7 notes per string, times 5 strings (the high and low Es are the same note names) equals 35 notes.

    Then the pattern repeats above the 12th fret.

    A total of 35 notes. Duh.

    We expect 11 year olds to memorize 144 pairs of numbers (12 x 12) and most of them do.

    Add the sharps and flats afterwards.

    I don't understand how so many people can make something so simple seem so hard...

    The CAGED forms are a useful shortcut for memorizing the octave forms.

    Honestly, if you've been playing for more than a year and you don't know the notes on your neck, you're not trying very hard.

    I disagree with @rolandson that relative pitch and intervals are "enough"... Maybe I misunderstood what you meant?

    Different keys have different colors. Playing "Happy Birthday" in Bb sounds/feels more "moody" than playing it in D major.

    They feel/sound different to me... I have yet to find a method to effectively teach this "feeling" to others.

    Rick Beato has a YouTube video where he talks about it being impossible for adults to learn perfect pitch.

    I do not have perfect pitch, but I suspect the "feeling/color" I detect from different keys is a leftover from my childhood brain.

    Learn the notes on your guitar neck. They've been there for a thousand years before you got here. They're not going anywhere. They will be here for a thousand years after we're gone.

    It's only 35 notes.

    Your guitar neck... Yours.
     
    ndcaster and Pixie-Bob like this.
  17. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    23,957
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Location:
    Osaka, Japan
    I don't worry about the names of the notes beyond what it takes to find the relevant chord. I know the CAGED chords (and lotsa jazzy variants), and I know the functions of each chord tone in those voicings, and the fingerings of major/dominant/minor scales associated with those chords, and I know, for example, how the IV and V chord tones overlay the I chord. So I can easily find the 6th interval of any chord with the root on the 6th, 5th or 4th string, and I know that's a chord tone (a 3rd) in the IV chord of the key of the original chord, but if you ask me to find the Fsharp on the 2nd string, that's gonna take a sec. lol

    I studied jazz for a couple years, and while I became pretty fluent in comping and in playing fills and extensions based off the chords, I never got all that far in sight reading of melodic lines (that's what horn players are for, isn't it?) :D
     
    JayFreddy likes this.
  18. rolandson

    rolandson Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    228
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2017
    Location:
    Cascadia
    Yes, perhaps I wasn't clear.

    I am advocating against root memorization. I am advocating in favor of learning to read music using arpeggios derived, first from chording already known, and then moving into the realm of whatever is unfamiliar.

    This presumes that the individual will ultimately develop a thorough mental picture of the notes of the neck through the natural learning process.

    Sort of scales without the rigor. It's all about learning to read, because I am convinced that learning the language is the quickest way to become fluent.
     
  19. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,908
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    Hudson Valley, NY
    I am often puzzled when people urge the necessity of learning to read standard notation for guitarists. In my musical life, I almost never encounter sheet music of any kind. I truly don't know what sheet music I would read, if I did have the ability. If I learned to do it, I don't know how I would "stay fluent" because, again, I just have nothing to read. The vast majority of my learning new songs involves:
    1. Pick a tune, figure out what key the singer (usually me) wants to change it to
    2. Quick net search for existing chord charts on the usual tab sites
    3. Close listening and playing along to the song to establish correctness or not of the tabs.
    4. Picking up lead lines / intros / melodies by ear, or improvising my own.

    I don't even know what else I could do. I assume the jazz and classical worlds are different than mine, otherwise people wouldn't continually insist that reading music is essential to "knowing the language" - which is a strange claim to make considering the number of guitar and other virtuosos with zero training or reading ability (Hendrix on down).
     
    JayFreddy and ArcticWhite like this.
  20. ArcticWhite

    ArcticWhite Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    506
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Location:
    Portland Oregon
    I think you might as well ask, "jazz, classical, rock or blues?"

    As has been noted several times, there are plenty of renowned players who don't read music, and almost certainly don't know - or care to know - the names of every fretboard note.

    Obviously, there are more of these in the blues/rock world than in the jazz or classical arena, but even within those there are exceptions. Django, Wes?

    At any rate, notes are great, but rhythm and time are what get you there..

     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.