PREFACE TO “REVISION” and “TEST” :
You will have done a considerable amount of preparatory work on the foundations supporting one Octave and a half – between the Bass “E” and the Middle “A”;
you will also have played and be familiar with many notes right up to the twelfth fret of the top “E” string which you were not aiming to memorise, but it is hoped that, by now, you will have learnt the notes between the bass “E” and the Middle “A”, in their various positions in their natural state; you will also sometimes have come across some sharpened or flattened notes;
therefore, on seeing any of the eleven notes between the Bass “E” and Middle “A”, you would be able to locate them in their respective places on the fingerboard; so, for instance, on seeing a Middle “A” on the stave, three strings would immediately spring to mind, together with three relevant frets, being strings ③, ④, ⑤, and frets 2, 7, and 12! You have also understood – and to a certain degree, absorbed – that a given fret, say Fret 7, does not necessarily mean Position VII … so, a Middle “A” on ④, even though it will always be at fret 7, can be played from Positions IV, V, VI, or VII; this being one aspect of mastering the fingerboard which takes longest to absorb until it has become second nature; there is no point getting frustrated: things will fall into place but, as with everything else, the time needed will vary depending on individual ability and circumstances, available time or will to practice being one of them – never forget that the recitalists you see sight-reading on concert platforms have been working anything up to eight hours a day for the best part of, possibly, fifteen years, and a great deal of that time will have been spent playing while reading the music.
Naturally, reaction speed when sight-reading will also rest on individual absorption capacity which can vary hugely, is not under one’s control, and must be allowed to run its course freely. Some allowance must also be made for the fact that, so far, most of the work has been done “longitudinally”, and that your knowledge will be greatly reinforced when more “lateral” work starts (i.e. across the width of the fingerboard as opposed to along its length) with the study of intervals and, later, harmony.
This set’s revision material on CGT covers all the notes that have been studied so far and starts with a “Test” which will help you decide if there are any notes in need of more work.
I am reminded of a fine guitarist who calls himself a “fingerboard nerd” and can, for a party trick, in the way that some like to regurgitate the elements of the periodic table, rattle off statistics regarding all the notes to be found on the guitar (I am suggesting you should emulate this); one names a note at random and, by instant return, he gives you its vital statistics as if it were a phone number (he does this at the most staggering speed); so, if given “Middle G#”, the instantaneous reply bounces back at you: 3/1-4/6-5/11 … which stands for “string 3 Fret 1 – String 4 Fret 6 – String 5 Fret 11. In view of the unbelievable immediacy of response, it takes the participants an inordinate amount of time to verify its accuracy and the discrepancy is quite amusing. Whether or not this somewhat dubious skill is responsible cannot be ascertained but this guitarist is an uncannily good sight-reader!
See “Test” and “Revision” on the Classical Guitar Technique Forum