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Instantly know the fretboard


(@incognito167)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 110
Topic starter  

Sorry if you are reading this hoping for some kind of secret tip.

Are any of these websites claiming to have "instant methods" of fretboard mastery any good, or is the reality of it that you just have to learn it "the old-fashioned way?"

I'm quite happy to do it the blood, sweat and tears way, but i just don't want o be sitting here memorising using brute force, when the world is passing me by using a more efficient method.

Thanks.
Mart.


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 Nils
(@nils)
Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 2896
 

I don't remember anyone ever jumping on here and saying how great these "instant methods" are but I also don't remember anyone say they are bad either. Each one is just a different gimmick to help you learn and if it is the right one for you then it will work.

In reality it isn't extremely difficult to learn the fretboard either just difficult to remember it when you need it. If you memorize the 5th and 6th strings you have learned a significant amount of the tool you need and a solid basis for learning the other 4.

If you are not opposed to exercising your "money back guarantee" give one a try and maybe you can critique it for us.

Nils' Page - Guitar Information and other Stuff
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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4933
 

One of the problem with 'instant' methods is that they skip right over stuff you need later on. For example, guitarists who learn scales by fingering patterns have a much harder time relating them to chords than guitarists who learned to build scales 'by note'

So... any shortcut to learning the neck that avoids teaching the note names in any position shortchanges you in the long run.

There are only three and a half approaches to learning (really learning) the fingerboard:

1) Learn to read music in standard notation. As you move up in positions, you'll automatically be learning the notes in those positions. Advantage: you'll be learning how they fit into chords, scales, intervals, etc. Disadvantage: to really learn to read in all keys and positions is going to take a while - about 4+ years on average.

2) Learn by octaves. This one requires the 'brute force' memorization of at least one string (the sixth) and preferably two (adding the fifth string). Then, from any spot on one of those strings, you can locate the same note on the others:

- from the sixth string, the same note will be on the first string, two octaves higher
- from the sixth string, two frets 'up' the fourth string is the same note, one octave higher
- from the fourth string, three frets 'up' the second string is the same note, one octave higher
- from the sixth string, three frets 'down' the third string is the same note, one octave higher
- from the third string, two frets 'down' on the fifth string is the same note, one octave lower
-from the fifth string, two frets 'down' on the second string is the same note, one octave higher

If you use this method, memorize the 6th/1st string notes, then use them to memorize the fourth string. When you've got that down, move on to another. Eventually you'll know them all.

Advantage: you'll be able to transpose by octaves at will, which is pretty useful. Disadvantage: You don't see how the notes fit into other structures, like scales.

3) By anchor point. This involves memorizing the note names in specific positions: open/12th = EADGBE... fifth = ADGCEA. Memorize those two, then memorize the distances between those anchors and other notes. If you know that G is two frets below A, you know the fifth string G is on the 10th fret (two frets below an anchor point)

Advantage: you'll get a good grasp of interval relationships on single strings - very useful for changing positions and landing phrases on target notes. Disadvantage: It probably takes more effort than the octave method, and it also skips over structures.

3-1/2) There's also a partial method - learning by chord root. If you know where the roots are as you learn chords, you eventually get the 4th, 5th, and 6th string notes. People learning the neck this way tend to be weak on the 2nd & 3rd strings, because the notes are usually duplicated (A C-form chord has roots on the 5th and 2nd; they'll focus on the 5th and ignore the other). On the plus side, they may be better prepared for chord extensions and alterations, because they're already thinking of note positions by chord.

Any way you slice it, it's work. You can do that work 'organically' by learning to read or by learning chord roots... or you can hit it head on by octaves or anchors. Any of them CAN lead you to fretboard understanding - I've used all of them in various teaching situations - so pick the one you're most comfortable with, but be prepared to put in the effort.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


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 Nils
(@nils)
Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 2896
 

Good writeup.

I was quite happy when I learned all of the notes on all 6 strings from the 1st to the 12th now I have to start over and do it with feeling.

Nils' Page - Guitar Information and other Stuff
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(@josephlefty)
Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 375
 

Something that has helped with with learning most of the notes on the fretboard on sight is 'Absolute Fretboard Trainer'.

There is a free download available on the net that will allow limited use to try it out. I liked it enough to buy the full version.

I don't use it at home..........I loaded it on the pc's at work for breaktime and getting to work a few minutes early and just clicking away at the fretboard while others are wasting time playing solotaire and other card games.

The best thing about the program is it knows your mistakes and keeps bringing those notes up until you know them cold. You can work on any amount of frets you like. 3 at a time is a good place to start.

Not a substitute for reading theory or a substitute for anything else, just something to keep moving forward when you can't have a book or guitar in your hands.

I find it helpful or I wouldn't recommend it. And it will do it LEFTY too! :D

If it was easy it wouldn't be worth doing.


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(@josephlefty)
Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 375
 

Thanks NoteBoat....your post was another cut and paste. :D

If it was easy it wouldn't be worth doing.


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(@anonymous)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 8306
 

For me,
learning the fretboard came from begginer books that teach one string at a time in the first position (open through 4th fret) and had you play a couple of songs with these notes as you learn them.
Before long I not only knew every note below the 5th fret from low E to A on the high E string but I could sight read and play any of these notes without a second thought.
The next step was moving farther up the neck, out of neccesity. (some songs had "slurs" (hammer ons, pull offs and slides) that were between 2 notes that, in the first position, were on different strings. Moving up the neck put them both on the same string)
It was fairly easy to move up for a couple of reasons.
1. having already learned all the notes I had a solid grasp of the intervals so extending them up wasn't hard.
2. I also found that most of the notes fell the same way from the 5th fret to the 9th fret as from the open strings to the 4th fret except I had to shift up one string (ie.. the low E string from the 5th fret to the 9th fret is the same as the A string from open to the 4th fret) (the notable exception is the G string)
The advantage of learning this way?
I now know all the notes on the fretboard and can translate them to musical notation at will.


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(@mulletgut)
Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 23
 

Thanks NoteBoat....your post was another cut and paste. :D

Ditto man!! :D :D

If it's free its for me........... and I'll take three!


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(@musenfreund)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5134
 

You can also try Fretboard Warrior. It makes learning the notes into a game and is a free download.

Well we all shine on--like the moon and the stars and the sun.
-- John Lennon


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(@incognito167)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 110
Topic starter  

Thanks guys.

You pretty much confirmed what i thought, and i'm happy to put the effort in.

Understanding intervals and theory coupled with some brute force memory seems to be the best way to do it.

I'd better get cracking!

Thanks.
Mart.


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(@folkgreen)
Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 13
 

try http://www.dontfret.com

i think it could be a great help for some.


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 Anonymous
(@Anonymous)
Guest
Joined: 1 second ago
Posts: 0
 

You can also use this free one at the Ricci Adams' Music Theory Site. They have a Guitar Trainer that works well.


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