Not looking at the fretboard, good or bad?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Rabbitears, Jan 14, 2020 at 9:49 AM.

  1. Rabbitears

    Rabbitears Member

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    I'm currently learning the arpeggios. I'm wading through the various 7s at the moment. After checking I am understanding the intervals I am practicing each arp shape in every key.

    My question is...

    I am finding that I csn look at the diagram and play without looking at the guitar. It seems to help me get a feel for where my fingers should go and makes my ear more keen as wrong notes really stand out.
    However, I read that one shouldn't do this for some reason, I'm not sure why?

    What are people's thoughts on practicing in this way?
     
  2. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Where did you read that? Forget it. Being able to find your way by feel is where you want to get to. Provided of course you can tell by ear when you're in the wrong place!
    After all, if you have to look at your fretboard all the time, how are you going to check out the chicks in the audience? I mean, that's why you're doing all this in the first place, right? :D
     
  3. The bear

    The bear Member

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    Nonsense, there's nothing wrong about looking down on the neck from time to time. The guitar isn't easy to figure out in terms of where all the notes are, we need to rely on some visual clues. If you are going to do everything in the dark, it's just too hard. That doesn't mean that you won't use your ears.
    Reading music is the only time where you can't look down on the board much unless it's a big jump between positions or something unusual.
     
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  4. admiral sluggo

    admiral sluggo Member

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    don’t look at the guitar. don’t even think about it! (spinaltap)

    don’t worry about it! they put those fret markers on the instrument for a reason. it’s great to be able to play without looking, but watch out when you switch to a different scale instrument. then all bets are off.
     
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  5. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Of course, I do it all the time. I only meant that if you don't have to, you don't need to.
    If you know where you are, you don't need to look to check. Why would you need to look, if you know you're in position? Just to watch your fingers moving?
    Obviously, if you change position, then you probably do need to look. But you don't need to keep looking. That was the notion I picked up from what the OP said he'd read - which seemed to suggest that you should always be looking at the fretboard regardless. I guess it may have been a misunderstanding (on his part or mine).;)
     
  6. cosmic_ape

    cosmic_ape Supporting Member

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    If you ever do some sight reading, this will be revealed.
     
  7. Megatron

    Megatron Member

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    I occaisionally have newer/low intermediate students that struggle with this. Either they think rockstars don't look at the neck, or they haven't got a handle on 4 finger/4 fret and extended/open shapes. And can't watch the music stand........

    Usually it means they don't want to slow down. They want to take a photographic memory 'shot', and then butcher the scale....again.

    People should be able to glance between material and either hand as they work through new scales and shapes(arps) and hit them consistently with repetition. Always comes down to playing new material too fast.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020 at 3:29 PM
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  8. Rabbitears

    Rabbitears Member

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    I still need to look and check what I'm doing first but once I orient myself I am following the diagram with my eyes and not looking. Once I have the pattern a bit more burnt in I go back to watching my fingers so I can think about the intervals a bit better.
     
  9. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    The less you need to rely on visual and can rely on sound the better. Cause in the end once stuff is in muscle memory you just glance to have the right starting spot and the the fingers will be in place to do whatever needed.
    Holds true for pretty much all instruments.

    Plus not having glued your eyeballs to the board let's you read, sing or stare at stuff more intersting while playing.

    Long time I actually trained myself first by playing in front of a mirror, later in the dark to not look at my fingers.
     
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  10. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    That's why high end classical guitar and stringed instruments don't have fret markers I guess...
     
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  11. dpeterson

    dpeterson Member

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    Not looking is more of a performance thing... IMHO. It comes with familiarity and comfort performing. Most people when nervous will stare at their fingerboard.
     
  12. Duffy Pratt

    Duffy Pratt Member

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    Blind Blake, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie McTell, Blind Boy Fuller, Blind Joe Reynolds, Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Joe Death. Noticing a trend? Also Rev. Gary Davis, Sonny Terry, Jose Feliciano, Doc Watson, Jeff Healey. Looking at the fretboard is not essential.
     
  13. FenderBigot

    FenderBigot Supporting Member

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    I find it more impressive myself. Ymmv
     
  14. ieso

    ieso Member

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    They're all dead? :eek:
     
  15. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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  16. guitargeek6298

    guitargeek6298 Member

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    The evidence is clear: not looking at your instrument while playing leads to death.

    It's not worth the risk, OP.
     
  17. JosephZdyrski

    JosephZdyrski Member

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    awe very true....

    this is further supported by the disproportionate number of Saxophone players who have meet with mysterious and untimely deaths.
     
  18. frijoleghost

    frijoleghost Supporting Member

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    it's music - however you get where you want to be, it doesn't matter
     
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  19. Rokz

    Rokz Member

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    Then there's the curse of playing on a dark stage and not being able to see anything. :cool:
     
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  20. Guitardave

    Guitardave Supporting Member

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    Finally some practical gig advice.

    +1 on not looking unless it helps.

    But in the UK isn't the correct term "birds"?
     

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