Best practice for memorizing all fretboard notes?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by GibsonGeek, Jul 17, 2020.

  1. dlguitar64

    dlguitar64 Member

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    One string at a time. Go up in the key of C, go down in the key of G,
    go back up in the key of D, go down in the key of A, etc
     
  2. Bosko

    Bosko Member

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    There's only 12 notes, start with an octave on each string. Skip one E string, not much difference between the G, A and B strings, or the D and E strings.
     
  3. ChipOnly

    ChipOnly Supporting Member

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    I tell my students that there's 12 notes on the fretboard and 12 months in a year - make the rest of July "E month" and move on to another note in August, and in a year, you'll be done ;)

    Of course the joke there is that it really shouldn't take you 30 days to memorize a couple note positions per string.

    I think it definitely helps to keep the "landmarks" in mind - 5th, 7th, 12th fret - and grasping sharps/flats, where they are and where they are not is crucial for really getting it down.

    It just takes time. If you ask any kid at the mall where the ______ at the _______ store is, chances are they can take you right there. A function of having spent all that time walking around it.
     
  4. lindyrg550

    lindyrg550 Member

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    Applying octave shapes to each note with a metronome running worked wonders for me.
     
  5. MGT

    MGT Member

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    Do you practice/play scales now? If so then say the notes in the scale as you do so.

    As others have mentioned, start playing triads and their inversions (across different string sets). If you're a rock/blues player then do I IV V progressions with the triads in different places on the neck.
     
  6. fetchingEllie

    fetchingEllie Supporting Member

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    no shortcuts it's just repetition. Reading music and playing in position helps. I don't know how anyone plays the guitar without knowing the notes. I'm just not as talented as people who do it all by "feel". I need to know the notes.
     
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  7. Bryan T

    Bryan T guitar owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I had students do it with a metronome. “Play all the C’s on the neck. 1 2 3 4.”
     
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  8. Rob G

    Rob G Member

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    Years ago I worked at a music academy and there were a couple of classically trained pianists who could sight read like monsters.

    One of them came into my teaching room once and said that a student had asked her what notes were in an Am7 chord and she asked if I could explain it to her!!

    I couldn't believe that through her studies it never came up to study chord theory but they bypassed it completely and just read classical pieces.
     
  9. Beto

    Beto Supporting Member

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    This is something I'm still working on.

    What I've been doing:

    - Learn the names of the natural and accidental notes (the chromatic scale), including the enharmonic notes.

    - Learn the structure of major and minor diatonic scales.

    - Learn how diatonic triad and tetrad chords are formed.

    - Choose some simple songs, with simple harmonies. Start with the most 'friendly' keys - i.e. those where many chords in the first position of the neck can be played as open chords (which is already the case for most of the pop/rock songs). Play the chords in different regions of the neck. Use some chord inversions to stress some notes that are less familiar/harder to memorize. Take also simple chord progressions on those keys and practice improvising using their respective diatonic scales (not all notes will sound good over all chords, but this is not the main point here), as well as chord tones.

    - After being able to see clearly all the notes used in all chords of the tune and the scale notes of the key, start transposing it to different keys. It might be interesting to follow the cycle of 5ths so that sharp notes are added progressively, and then doing the same following the cycle of 4ths to add flat notes (it has been helpful for me, because what I realized is that I can easily recognize some notes on the fretboard by one of their names, but not as their enharmonic counterparts: for example, I can clearly see F#, G# or Bb, but I have to stop and think for a moment to recognize Gb, Ab or A#.
     
  10. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

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    I can play much better in F# than in Gb and who plays in A# instead of Bb??:confused:
     
  11. Neer

    Neer Supporting Member

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    Memorize all the notes on one string (E is a good place to start since there are 2). The sequence of notes repeats, just like the alphabet starting on different letters. Call the accidentals sharps going up and flats on the way down. Eventually, as you learn the scales, you will learn the proper name of the notes in context.
     
  12. Beto

    Beto Supporting Member

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    When you're playing the V or V7 chord (or improvising over it) in the key of B major or B minor.

    Or when you are playing an F# or an F#7 chord (or improvising over one of them), which can be used as a secondary dominant or as a subV in many different keys.

    ;)
     
  13. 8nthatK

    8nthatK Supporting Member

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    I’d recommend an app. I dig ‘Tenuto’ as an example.
    It can be done without a guitar in hand, which is a plus.

    I found it to translate extremely well to an actual guitar without issue.
    It has exercises for intervals and sight reading as well.

    I use it all the time when waiting on a meal, meetings etc. it really allows maximizing my time when I can’t have an instrument in hand.

    My sight reading and note recognization is immediate and without pause now.

     
  14. hcole

    hcole Supporting Member

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    If you're learning how to play a 'C' chord in the various positions, just learn where the root of each of those chord shapes are and you now know where all the 'C' notes are on the fretboard. The third and fourth shape (G and E) have 3 occurrences of the root, the rest have two. Once you know the 5 shapes and the location of the roots it becomes a matter of repetition.
     
  15. T681

    T681 Member

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    I learned my notes by learning all the major chords and where the root note was for each. When you play a chord, find the octaves and you've got them memorized in no time.
     
  16. Ejay

    Ejay Member

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    Exercises to learn this are a waste of time and boring as hell.
    Simply keep practice musical stuff...and sing the notes along with it while you do so. Then the knife cuts in 3 ways...vocabulary, training ear, and learn the fretboard. That’s 3 times the leverage from the same practice time.
     
  17. drfrankencopter

    drfrankencopter Member

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    Many bassists and guitarists who've never tried to read music from a staff...and they still claim that it's A# even after you explain it to them. Ask them where the B# is on their instrument? If they get through that, then get into C,F, and G double sharp :eek:!
     
  18. dsw67

    dsw67 Supporting Member

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    I use flash cards. Been teaching to my students for years with great success.
     
  19. wddonalds

    wddonalds Member

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    Learning to read helped me massively (not a great reader by any means but I can get by). My favourite book was Arnie Berle’s “New Guitar Techniques For Sight Reading”. It differs from a lot of other texts in that it eschews the positional approach taken by other books and focuses on one string at a time.
     
  20. somecafone

    somecafone Member

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    That seems useful.

    What I did years ago, when I first started to get a handle on playing and without benefit of teacher at the time, was start with the A notes.
    Open strings, frets 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 17 (and yes, others) takes you all over the fretboard.
     

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