Do you look at the fretboard while playing?

telemnemonics

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Yeah. I am not saying I’m any good. Just that when I was a kid there was some negative enforcement that translated to guitar and bass from violin. It’s really muscle memory I suppose. I don’t think any experienced player looks because they have to. But it’s a habit. That’s why so many folks say they look when the are playing on the couch but not when on stage.

When I’m playing guitar, if I’m not the most interesting thing in the room, I’m doing something wrong!
Look at me look at meeeeee!
 

telemnemonics

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Looks are the main reason all my fretboards are ebony. Love the contrast with light colored bodies. If I know the music that I'm playing, I generally don't look at the board, but I also play noise rock stuff a lot (young folks like to call it "shoe gaze" (whatever)), so I do look down when searching for interesting chord phrases, etc. I compare my skill to my typing. Sometimes I'll be playing for a while and realize I haven't looked at the board at all.

If I “know the music I’m playing” I feel like a fox in a bear trap and want to gnaw off my own leg in frustration. I mean specifically what I play, not the song itself.
It’s some sort of sickness and I don’t know where it came from but it’s like feeling trapped.
Of course it’s impossible to create every phrase too so playing music has a component that makes me loathe my own playing.
I’d prefer to riddle every bar with mistakes just to avoid repeating something rehearsed. Band mates don’t always appreciate this about me!
Some do though, and like that live music is a risky venture.
Without risk I literally want to escape to some nice cannery job gutting sardines.

Ever see cannery workers slicing hour after hour?
Impressive technique!
 

Killing Floor

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If I “know the music I’m playing” I feel like a fox in a bear trap and want to gnaw off my own leg in frustration. I mean specifically what I play, not the song itself.
It’s some sort of sickness and I don’t know where it came from but it’s like feeling trapped.
Of course it’s impossible to create every phrase too so playing music has a component that makes me loathe my own playing.
I’d prefer to riddle every bar with mistakes just to avoid repeating something rehearsed. Band mates don’t always appreciate this about me!
Some do though, and like that live music is a risky venture.
Without risk I literally want to escape to some nice cannery job gutting sardines.

Ever see cannery workers slicing hour after hour?
Impressive technique!
Now that’s a show! Guitars, teeth, blood, the whole package.
 

oregomike

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If I “know the music I’m playing” I feel like a fox in a bear trap and want to gnaw off my own leg in frustration. I mean specifically what I play, not the song itself.
It’s some sort of sickness and I don’t know where it came from but it’s like feeling trapped.
Of course it’s impossible to create every phrase too so playing music has a component that makes me loathe my own playing.
I’d prefer to riddle every bar with mistakes just to avoid repeating something rehearsed. Band mates don’t always appreciate this about me!
Some do though, and like that live music is a risky venture.
Without risk I literally want to escape to some nice cannery job gutting sardines.

Ever see cannery workers slicing hour after hour?
Impressive technique!
Yeah, it's a fairly constrictive feeling to me. My nature is to exude creative licence which can frustrate band mates and is why I can't work in a cover band. I'm definitely happiest stepping off the plank when live, and can explore.
 
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Kandinskyesque

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I'm a seated player most of the time, use pedals and have always been the main singer.
If I'm not looking at the fretboard, then it's my feet, so I'm seriously considering a headset mic for live work. Unless I can come up with a heads up display for my fretboard and pedals.
 

Larry F

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I mentally watch fretboard all the time when soloing. I make my fingering choices based on which string/fret produces the most effective sound. Naturally, I have to also have to visualize what I am going to play and where. I'm also able to visualize the fingerings I had used in the preceding phrase. But these notes are a little hazy and transparent and fading from memory. I'm also looking at other fingerings in my mind.

In terms of actually landing on the notes I've chosen, I feel like Neil Armstrong landing the LM on the moon. As it descends, Armstrong seems to be scouting potential landing sites, knowing that fuel is limited. That's similar to how I make my fingering choices, as I prepare to play the phrase. "Should I play this on higher or lower strings?" is an important mechanical consideration. Like Armstrong, I need to power through my options for note choices and color in fractions of a second.

Because of my neurological problems, I sometimes enter a dreamlike state, where I am presented with a nonsensical scenario in my dream-consciousness. At the same time, I remain fully awake in my non-dreamlike state. I can now tell my wife what I am seeing from the viewpoint my awake consciousness. She doesn't like when I do this, as it really creeps her out. The latest turn of events has me let my dreamlike visualizations produce musical ideas, while my awake consciousness is very limited and dim. As a result, I end the phrase and exit the dreamlike state. Then I say to myself, did I just do that?
 

ce24

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If Bonomassa can so can I….its like looking at the girl youre in bed with….ill leave it at that.lol
 

JL_LI

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I play mostly finger style so there are two things I look for. I look at the neck for position changes. Nothing sounds worse than being off half a step. I also check my right hand position to start each song. That’s usually to make sure my thumb is on the starting string. I also take a quick peek if the chord shape is complex.
Quoting myself again. Sorry about that. My first post was how it works when I’ve had a good day. Cataracts cause double vision. Last night the neck of my guitar looked like a harp. Will I need to start wearing reading glasses to play? It’s not looking good. Or would I be better off learning how to play without looking? It sucks getting old but it sucks worse dying young.
 

Blue Bill

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On stage, with an audience, I try to look at the people as much as possible. I find it off-putting to watch someone on stage, staring at their fretboard, or their shoes. For practice, and rehearsal, I guess I do stare at my fingers. From watching vids of Clapton, it seems he stares at the fretboard a lot when he solos, so that lets me off the hook a little.
 

Larry F

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I saw a youtube video not long ago that featured a sit-down guitarist, not classical, whose basic posture included his head turned directly to the fingerboard. He didn't move it at all, and just kept staring at it. It creeped me out a little. I'll look for it.
 




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