Trying to memorize every single note on the fretboard, first consider this...

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by fretflip, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    This is a very good idea. You're raising some interesting pedagogical notions: solfege instead of scale degrees for ear training, with a movable do, rather than fixed do. I'm guessing that you know something about this already. If not, maybe wiki is a good place to start.

    Everyone who learns movable do solfege agrees that it has magical effect on the ear.
     
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  2. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I will reference my original post in this thread. Post #6.
    The thrust of that post is to "use whatever method you like - they're all basically the same. Just relate it to actual music".

    I know probably two hundred guitar players. Most all of them good enough to make a living doing music. Every one of them (and I'll include myself here) learned the fretboard in a slightly different way but the one thing that they/we all have in common is that we did it in the service of making music. What do I mean by that? Fair question. You learn a song. As an example lets say "Respect" (in C), but the singer and leader of the band wants to do the Otis Redding version ... in Otis' key (D). Are you gonna freak out? No, it's just up two frets. So the 'method' or the lesson (if there really is one) is to make sure that you know the names of the chords you're playing in both the keys (and maybe their relationship to each other but honestly I don't think that's important at this stage) and then make a point of figuring out Respect in at least three more keys. Do that with a handful of songs. You will learn the fingerboard.

    *Why did I pick Respect? It uses all barre type chords if you're playing it with a band and at least approximating the traditional arrangement.
     
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  3. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Ken speaks the truth. I'm deeply grateful to have come up in a time where gigs were frequent, especially if you could cover different styles and read. I would often have some flash, dilemma, slipup, magical moment or whatever, then explore it in the woodshed the next day. That night I could take it out for a dry run. I can't adequately express how damn much fun that was. Of course, when I wasn't feeling studious, I would likely be feeling other things.
     
  4. Recce

    Recce Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I agree. Like the name of the open low E is Bob. These are good things to know.

    Actually, if you know low E and A you then know everything but the B string. Count down two frets and go down two strings and that’s the same note.
     
  5. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Afflicted

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    Well, all kinds of approaches work for different people with different brains. I find it easy to locate notes on the fretboard, but, well, so what? For me, it's the relationship between notes -- intervals, and since the guitar is readily polyphonic, harmony -- that seems to engage me most and best. I think I rely much more on muscle memory of intervals and note combinations than any conscious thinking in real time. Now and then I find myself looking for a particular note to orient myself a bit, but that is simple and hardly requires thought. So sure, I guess I learned the fretboard, but the point of doing that conscious learning (for me) was to get beyond it, not to really use it, through thinking. Interesting.
     
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  6. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Now that's exactly it.
    You wanna really play - ? You have to be past knowing where the notes are.

    It doesn't matter what method you use: intervallic, visual, moveable or fixed Do, my sister Thelma or orange. If you put the time in, they all work just fine.
     
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  7. fretflip

    fretflip TDPRI Member Vendor Member

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    Sounds really nice, I would like reading it and I'm sure the rest of the forum members would like it as well, so please post it in the forum.
     
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  8. fretflip

    fretflip TDPRI Member Vendor Member

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    Agree, and as jrblue said, to play "beyond the notes" can be described as having the intervals in your muscle memory. I know that there are guitar players that do have the intervals in their muscle memory but does not know about scale degrees or intervals at all, that is all fine, but to teach, especially improvisation, I find introducing scale degrees essential.
     
  9. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    Knowing the name of the note you are playing is one of the most useless skills there is in the real world of playing guitar. You need to know what key you're in and what intervals sound like, but very, very rarely, or NEVER, does someone tell you to point at a note on the fretboard as fast as you can based on a note name; that's just in academia. Even when reading classical guitar music note for note, I don't read note names. I just know my key and visually read intervals off the tonic, or in relation to other lines and spaces. I think in intervals, not in notes – always have from my first day of playing music over 30 years ago, when my day taught me what a 1, 4, 5, and octave were, and how the tactile, visual, and sonic relationships were the same anywhere on the neck. Other than knowing what key I'm in, I quite literally NEVER ever THINK of the name of the note I'm playing.

    That doesn't mean I don't know it, though. Give me a second and I can tell you what it is. But it's at the very bottom of my priorities list when playing. Rhythm and feel are at the top.
     
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  10. fretflip

    fretflip TDPRI Member Vendor Member

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    Thank you! This is pretty much exactly my point! I'm very glad you brought my attention to the concept of Movable- and Fixed-Do, happily read that wiki (never heard of tonic sol-fa) I pretty much agree with what they say about the pedagogical advantage of Movable-Do, and about Fixed-Do for sight reading.

    For anyone interested read this wiki page, when comparing the two types of solfège they write this:
    The question of which system to use is a controversial subject among music educators in schools in the United States.
    Pretty much the essence of this current post :) I say use both systems for intended purpose.

    Again, thank you Larry and the rest of the contributors in this post for scrambling my small bubble to the better!
     
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  11. P Thought

    P Thought Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I've never noticed that. o_O
     
  12. fretflip

    fretflip TDPRI Member Vendor Member

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    Depends on the study :) The major keys are in the top, Spotify made a study a few years ago then G did beat C though.

    Check out Spotify's study here.

    E is convenient for guitar, but not piano.
    C is convenient for piano, but not guitar.

    G is convenient for both guitar and piano.
     
  13. ASATKat

    ASATKat Friend of Leo's

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    Classical - semitone
    Jazz - 1/2 step

    First day of jazz composition and arranging the instructor says "throw all that classical stuff you learned out the window, we're going to work with the essential music language of today".
     
  14. ASATKat

    ASATKat Friend of Leo's

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    That's a lot of stories, now forget it all and go play your guitar.
     
  15. Misty Mountain

    Misty Mountain Tele-Meister

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    Funny, I had the opportunity to sit in on a master class with Robben Ford and he specifically spoke of the piano keyboard as a way to visualize the fretboard. He talked about starting with the white keys and then working from there.

    I figured, geez, it’s Robben Ford. He MUST know something about how to learn guitar! I tried it and it has worked for me.

    Maybe I am a piano player trapped in a guitar player’s body!
     
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  16. ASATKat

    ASATKat Friend of Leo's

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    You want to learn the neck? Buy The Real Book and learn chords in real music, music with changes and and wonderful melodies, learn 100 tunes that you could play by reading the charts, you don't need to memorize, just become familiar with the songs.

    My guess would be the songs All The Things You Are and Autumn Leaves would be some of the most popular starting songs.

    Read these charts and you'll never look at the guitar the same way again, where the fretboard takes a backseat to the song, the song/melody/chords is the prize.
     
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  17. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Is this a command? I already play guitar all day and night, as a means of relief, distraction, and a search for expression. What is it that you want me to do?

    My stories were to illustrate that notes, feelings, images, people, etc. are in essence the same thing. Some people have a mental hangup about knowing note names, so I tried to give them an alternative to that, one which preserves musical feeling and expression. I also wanted to illustrate how musical thought can be expressed in a forum thread, but in doing so, wind up with a complex set of relations and conditions that appear might appear to be ungraspable for readers who struggle with following along as I discussed notes and the emotions that they bring forth. When talking or writing about the note structures of music, it can seem to flow when the listeners can follow along without struggling to find notes. But it is when the reader cannot follow the discussion of notes and emotions, that it seem impenetrable to some. I'm up past my bedtime, and my writing shows it. At any rate, it is the feelings associated with the notes that I am interested in talking about. To others, it may appear as if the subject of note relations is inherently complex and filled with conditions. But when someone can follow along in my writing without stumbling or employing tried and true mnemonic tricks, then it should only take 20-30 seconds to understand what I am saying, and how my examples are organized and for what purpose. If I were to sit with a student, with guitars in hand, I could get the whole point across in less than a minute. I hope that readers don't get hung up on the notes and fingerboard to such a degree that they lose sight of the purpose of the discussion. At this point, readers sometimes blame the writer for being wordy and overly complex in their argument and examples, which is too bad, because it gives the false impression that good music, and the expression of it, is necessarily complex and full of new terminology and concepts.

    But enough of this for now. I play on average 4-6 hours a day and don't feel that anything else that I might do at home conflicts with that. If I feel like learning something about so-called sporadic simple groups in mathematics, then why not pursue that for fun? I don't think that practice, education, and study contribute to creative problems. Rather, they are related and have structures that are interesting to explore in a musical setting. What's the concept, zero sum? If I want to study more math, a zero sum approach would require me to cut back on the guitar study, giving me more time in which to explore the ways that a church service is based around musical interludes. I love everything about this life.
     
  18. ASATKat

    ASATKat Friend of Leo's

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    We're talking about memorizing the fretboard. I didn't see the direct connection of you loving life and the fretboard.
    That caused me to lose the point about the fretboard you were making through analogies. But I'm sure there is someone who will be motivated by you. Me, all I need is the cold, hard data, I've done best in my 55 yrs of playing with just the facts, the simple direct path.

    I'm very happy you love life though, that's way better than learning the fretboard.
     
  19. smsuryan

    smsuryan Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    The best/most practical way I've learned notes on a fretboard is from studying classical and jazz sheet music, rather than some kooky exercise. As an above poster stated, he doesn't think of the notes as he plays them. Maybe advanced brains like Pat Martino can do this, but not to mere mortals like myself.
    I think of intervallic relationships when playing. While classical has helped me learn fretboard notes, it also helps to understand intervals, inversions and ways to improvise, rather than learning notes and shapes.
    When I first started learning Carcassi, for example, I would work on just one measure at a time and it seemed to take forever. But it had a snowball effect and after some time the dots start to connect. Also, as I stated above, its practical. To see progress in your playing while learning is much more interesting and motivating than the drudgery of a memorization exercise.
     
  20. fretflip

    fretflip TDPRI Member Vendor Member

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    A pretty cool thing to visualize regarding piano vs guitar is that the white keys from piano will form the major scale and all its modes on the fretboard and also the black keys will form the major pentatonic including its modes. See this chart for reference.
     
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