Learning the Fretboard

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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For discussion of studies, scales, arpeggios and theory.
tamfam
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Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:29 pm

Re: Learning the Fretboard

Post by tamfam » Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:40 am

Google "fretboard trainer" app and download it. It is essentially a game in which you have to identify 20 random notes from their positions on the fretboard. It's a memorization tool. It's helped me.

Smudger5150
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Re: Learning the Fretboard

Post by Smudger5150 » Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:46 pm

SunnyDee wrote:
Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:26 am
It's funny to me that when classical players say "learning the fretboard," they mean learning to match notes on a score to the fretboard. When non-classical players say "learning the fretboard," it has nothing to do with sheet music, it's just memorizing where notes and patterns of notes are on the fretboard in standard tuning.
Yes. And it's interesting to me the different approaches people on the forum have to this. Especially when some people focus on memorising pieces without knowing sheet music too well.

I must admit that when working on my Classical Guitar music as opposed to playing tab or song accompaniment (chords, fingerpicking etc) that I like to focus on how I can relate Sheet music to the places on the guitar....and I don't really care what the note names are what key or scale they are in when I do that!! (I know that's not ideal but bear with me...)

And the converse of that is that when I've been to open mic/folk/acoustic/guitar clubs etc where people usually play a song and very occasionally an instrumental or classical piece is played, then, there is a the occasional solo or jam session where someone gets everyone else, or maybe the odd 1 or 2 players, to improvise a solo (such as jam in the key of G or whatever) and a blues or similar-type of solo is played midway through the song. In those situations, I want to focus purely on the fretboard from the perspective of knowing scales and how they relate to keys, completely separate from sheet music. Or put it another way, moving more into improvisation territory.
And I wouldn't be surprised if some or many of these type of players can't read sheet music.

So yes, I think the tendency is for the majority of CG players (if they're like me!) to think fretboard learning relates to sheet music. (Wait for the flood of responses to the contrary...).
I've always associated CG playing with being able to play from sheet music amongst other things to the extent that I shie away from tab versions of classical guitar music. I know that's not necessary (and I have broken that rule once or twice) but for me, it's something about the discipline of doing it from sheet music and the achievement.
However, I must say that I don't agree with the approach of reading sheet music and not knowing the notes on the guitar or how they relate to scales, I merely stated it like that to emphasise how one could get into that frame of mind. I am actually improving my sheet music AND knowledge of the fretboard by knowing the names of the notes. And I'm hoping to relate it scale forms via the CAGED approach so I can cross the bridge between both worlds.

PS:-Btw - I've nothing against someone not learning to read music - I've seen some great players who can't
"Music washes away the dust of every day life." Art Blakey

"If I don’t practice for a day, I know it. If I don’t practice for two days, the critics know it. And if I don’t practice for three days, the public knows it." Louis Armstrong

kmurdick
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Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:48 pm

Re: Learning the Fretboard

Post by kmurdick » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:29 pm

Has it ever occurred to anyone that if any of these ideas (other than learning the fingerboard the same way you learned the first position) actually worked, that you wouldn't have this topic pop up all the time with a zillion replies?

CactusWren
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Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2016 5:50 pm

Re: Learning the Fretboard

Post by CactusWren » Thu Aug 03, 2017 1:27 am

If you happen to have Sagreras' Method Book 1-3 lying around, he introduces upper positions in an extremely progressive manner. If you happen to like his clever, tuneful little romantic etudes, you will find your pathway to the rest of the fingerboard quite charming.

CactusWren
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Re: Learning the Fretboard

Post by CactusWren » Thu Aug 03, 2017 1:31 am

kmurdick wrote:
Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:29 pm
Has it ever occurred to anyone that if any of these ideas (other than learning the fingerboard the same way you learned the first position) actually worked, that you wouldn't have this topic pop up all the time with a zillion replies?
That doesn't follow. Most methods work, if followed conscientiously with regular practice. It is a hobby, so most people do not pursue their goals with rigor and are looking for nonexistent magic bullets. Beginners without teachers are going to ask the typical beginner questions despite the fact that solutions exist and are known to all advanced players.

Jeffrey Armbruster
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Location: Berkeley, California

Re: Learning the Fretboard

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:14 am

I keep finding relatively easy pieces without a lot of complex chords that take me progressively up the fret board. I like getting the gratification of actually playing music while simultaneously learning the fret board. Granted, I may be over relying on my ears and intuition this way. But I keep checking sequences of notes in higher positions against the same notes in the first position. Over time I think that I'll simply know where to go with my fingers when reading a score. I've progressed some this way already.
Paul Weaver spruce 2014
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creamburmese
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Location: Maryland

Re: Learning the Fretboard

Post by creamburmese » Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:19 pm

I'm probably a quarter of the way through learning the fretboard in a useful way - ie not being able to find notes or name them (that, I can do), but having the note/string relationships mapped to my fingers. I tried the simple melodies in higher positions method, but it was too frustrating and I didn't stick with it long enough for it to become easy. Currently making a lot more progress with my teacher, essentially using the Shearer method mentioned by kmurdick - first random notes on string 1, then string 2, then strings 1 and 2, then position playing on strings one and two, repeat for 3 and 4 etc.

kmurdick
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Re: Learning the Fretboard

Post by kmurdick » Sun Aug 06, 2017 1:38 pm

Catus-wren, I disagree. IMHO, most guitarists never learn the fingerboard because they approach it using charts and all manner of silly tricks. You need to learn the fingerboard in a logical manner and there there is a paucity of organized material out there. It's also about ten times more difficult to learn the upper positions as it is to learn the first position. The other problem is that the various positions keep shifting under your fingers as you play.

CactusWren
Posts: 72
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2016 5:50 pm

Re: Learning the Fretboard

Post by CactusWren » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:51 pm

kmurdick wrote:
Sun Aug 06, 2017 1:38 pm
Catus-wren, I disagree. IMHO, most guitarists never learn the fingerboard because they approach it using charts and all manner of silly tricks. You need to learn the fingerboard in a logical manner and there there is a paucity of organized material out there. It's also about ten times more difficult to learn the upper positions as it is to learn the first position. The other problem is that the various positions keep shifting under your fingers as you play.
Hmm, I learned it with that chart that used to come with the chord chart in most sing and strum books. After that, I just played music. It wasn't particularly organized, but I never felt it was holding me back. If I needed to read things cold, for real, then I guess I'd feel the need to get more systematic about it.

Seems to me advanced guitarists read well enough to learn the music and give concerts.

kmurdick
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Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:48 pm

Re: Learning the Fretboard

Post by kmurdick » Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:36 am

Any way will work eventually, but visualization techniques are fast, efficient and complete. Learning a string at time and then playing position studies on the strings learned is the most logical approach. Also, you don't need to be an advanced guitarist to master the fingerboard.

Michael7
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Location: Lichfield

Re: Learning the Fretboard

Post by Michael7 » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:40 am

How do folk get over the problem when sight reading that it is just so easy (regardless of any suggested fingering in the score) to find the notes in their more familiar positions and to do that in order to keep up momentum and musical sense. Is it just a question of self discipline?

kmurdick
Posts: 504
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:48 pm

Re: Learning the Fretboard

Post by kmurdick » Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:28 pm

Micheal7: In my view, most people never become good sight readers on the guitar. Yes, you can always improve your sight reading, but you have to ask yourself if it is worth it. For most, learning to be a good sight reader on the guitar is an enormous task tantamount to learning another instrument. Your time would probably be better spent working on your technique - getting that last 20% is a killer.

pasigenyo
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Location: Novato, CA

Re: Learning the Fretboard

Post by pasigenyo » Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:28 pm

My only resource when I learned to play classical guitar was Fred Noad's Solo Guitar Playing Vol. 1.
He approached learning the fretboard by breaking it up into positions.
For example, first position means those notes from open string to fifth fret.
Then he introduced a bunch of lessons and pieces that are played only within that position.
After mastering those notes, the lesson moves to the third position (I don't remember exactly) so those are the notes from the third fret + five frets. You then play lessons/pieces within that range...it goes on until you master the notes in the higher registers.
That was very effective for me because it focused my attention on small parts of the fretboard (with different key signatures and meters, of course). Later on, he introduced pieces that straddle multiple positions and that was like the "test of fire" to make sure you have mastered all notes up and down the fretboard, as well as able to make position changes quickly and seamlessly.

Sight-reading is a whole other exercise which can only be reinforced and improved by constant reading of scores, with or without a guitar in hand. Hope this helps.
Last edited by pasigenyo on Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

errrtoffie
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Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:34 am

Re: Learning the Fretboard

Post by errrtoffie » Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:23 pm

I asked my friend to that problem before I asked him "how you memorizied fretboard " and then he said " I dont know I just doing some adlib and sight reading . "

Michael7
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2017 2:43 pm
Location: Lichfield

Re: Learning the Fretboard

Post by Michael7 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:25 pm

Thank you for these most constructive (and heartening!) comments. I did try "progressive reading for guitarists" by Stephen Dodgson and Hector Quine but I just found it too dry for my tastes (I do like a good tune!)

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