Sight reading helping fretboard knowledge?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by cantstoplt021, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. cantstoplt021

    cantstoplt021 Member

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    I've heard many a person say that sight reading improves your fretboard knowledge and it makes sense. You need to know the notes on the fretboard without looking in order to sight read. I've been thinking that I maybe need to dedicate more time to reading then I currently do. I've been doing.... 10 minutes a day on single note stuff and 10 minutes a day of chord chart reading (with different inversions) I'm trying to plan my practice time out and I'm thinking maybe I should dedicate more time to reading? After all the things I need to do to reach the next level with my playing are 1) have a better command of the fretboard 2) connect my hands to my ears better. Sight reading seems like a good way to do this. I'd have to take some time away from other stuff, but instead of playing scales on a single string (which i do for 10 minutes each day) I could read on that single string for 10 extra minutes. Might be more beneficial? I dunno. I currently split my fretboard section up with 10 minutes of triad stuff, 10 minutes of single string stuff and 10 minutes of major scale stuff/arpeggio stuff. Maybe I should just read for that whole time instead? What works better?

    Anyway is sight reading a good/great way to learn the fretboard? I know all the notes on the fretboard, but I dont know them cold.

    Bonus question: does anyone think in notes when they play guitar instead of patterns and shapes? If you want to play in C major you just know where all the natural notes are and you're free to play around all over the neck with no cares about positions?
     
  2. harmonicator

    harmonicator Member

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    You're on the right track.

    I would try to get as much bang for your practice buck as possible. What songs do you want to play? Classic rock, jazz, classical pieces, pop tunes? After all, playing music is all about performing songs, even if only for yourself. Once you're up to speed with reading a little, start reading tunes you want to learn...then abandon the page for deeper analysis. Commit the songs to memory.

    Personally, I'm better with interval recognition (3rd, b7th, #9, etc), than note names. I should be better at knowing the names, especially in odd positions.
     
  3. cantstoplt021

    cantstoplt021 Member

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    A little bit of everything I guess. I'm currently a music major studying jazz and I'd like to be able to play that for now. I'll probably move on to other styles once I graduate but for now let's just say jazz.
     
  4. harmonicator

    harmonicator Member

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    Well, if you're studying jazz you might want to get ahold of a real book, some omnibooks, transcription books of your favorite players. I just saw they're putting out a Joe Pass omnibook soon. Big band charts. Start looking at notes, even without the instrument. Ask a fellow student or instructor if you encounter rhythms that stump you.

    The more you do it, the faster you'll recognize phrases, positions, notes, all that.

    Reading is like doing mental pullups. The only way to get stronger is to keep doing it till you get better.

    Who is your favorite jazz guitarist? No doubt there is transcription book on them, or by them.

    -and writing music will help your reading. just do dictation with simple melodies to start, then transcribe lines you like and write them down. reverse-reading.
     
  5. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    When you get sight-reading down you won't be thinking about the fretboard, you'll know it.
     
  6. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    Please don't confuse reading music with sight-reading.

    Reading music is what you do in the luxury of your dorm or whatever.

    Sight-reading is what you do when your bandleader/music director dumps sheet music in front of you at the gig or rehearsal - music you've never seen before in your life.

    Yes, reading music will improve your fretboard knowledge.
     
  7. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    Good points and there is a symbiotic relationship going on there.
     
  8. cantstoplt021

    cantstoplt021 Member

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    I guess I mean sight reading from practice books that have music I've never seen before. I'm not doing it on the band stand so it's alright if I mess up, but still I'd like to be able to sight read well.

    So would you guys recommend reading 10 minutes a day while spending 30 minutes doing fretboard stuff (triads, scales, arpeggios, single string stuff) or just reading music for 30-40 minutes a day or maybe half and half? Trying to figure out the best way to break my time up. My goal is to have a much better handle on the fretboard than I do now
     
  9. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    I teach advanced reading at Musicians Institute and had a hand in a complete rewrite of the new reading curriculum. I mention this only to say - I'm a 100% committed believer in the idea that reading ability and fingerboard knowledge often increase hand-in-hand. I've seen it hundreds of times a year, over and over.

    The only advice I'll offer unsolicited is this: if you're new at this, start simple. Even if it's just nursery rhymes, read them in as many positions as range will allow, as slow as you need to but absolutely in some kind of steady tempo.

    When faced with the seemingly insurmountable, we start with the possible and work our way up from there.

    Best of luck to you!
     
  10. harmonicator

    harmonicator Member

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    I guess I glazed over the "sight" part of reading music in question.

    You will not be able to sight reading at any level until you know the notes on the fretboard, usually in positions going up and down the neck.

    Your reading practice will definitely help you understand the notes and positions.

    Being able to competently read and perform any music previously unseen requires being literate.

    The advice to start simple with a comfortable tempo is very smart. Embrace mistakes. Being afraid of mistakes is 10X worse than making them. Have faith you'll get better.
     
  11. Aaron Mayo

    Aaron Mayo Member

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    I'm not a great sight-reader (I work at it every day) but I do know that reading with another human, or better yet with other humans onstage for other humans accelerated the whole thing for me. At the very least, get another musician to play through tunes you don't know.
     
  12. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    You probably need to just work on reading music on the guitar in general - and not worry about sight-reading right now - and use that to help you learn the fretboard.

    You can't sight-read effectively if you don't know the fretboard very well. That's a next-level skill after just basic music reading on the guitar. And don't forget that when you read music you are reading the rhythm too, not just the pitches. You could try sight-singing unfamiliar music to yourself - make that a separate practice from your guitar practice. That might help you progress a bit faster to the goal of attaining true sight-reading skill. That should help your pursuit of the piano too.

    I can't comment on your practice routine, sorry. That's probably your teacher(s)' job.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
  13. cantstoplt021

    cantstoplt021 Member

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    So would you recommend spending more time on reading at the expense of time spent doing things like taking triads through the circle of fifths, major scales, arpeggios, etc. Or less time reading and more time doing those things listed above?
     
  14. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    Why is everything always one thing or the other? Ever hear of multitasking?
     
  15. Wellreel

    Wellreel Member

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  16. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    When I first started working on reading seriously, my teacher gave me 2 sheets of staff with random notes on them...no bar lines, no time, i.e. not quarters 8th triplet etc. Just the notes on the staff.

    Then he assigned the tasks below (and to be honest, I did already know the notes on the neck)

    • Play them at tempo, gradually increasing tempo, in every possibly position SAYING each note as you play it.
    • Go back and sequentially add sharps and flats and play them again in all keys
    • Once in a while play the sheet backwards so you know you're not playing from memory.
    • Turn it upside down and play it forwards and backwards.
    • Add bars and timing....8ths, triplets, 16th etc.
    • If you're REALLY motivated and have the need, change to bass clef and repeat.

    Come back in a few months when you're done. [​IMG]
     
  17. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    I was going to say the Cello Suites, but they're written in bass clef. Two Part Inventions are also more accessible - just read the treble part and ignore the bass part ;). BTW, you could always transpose the bass part up an octave on an as-needed basis.

    Barry Galbraith has a book on Two Part Inventions with playalong if you want to see how he arranged it for two guitars ( as opposed to one piano ).
    http://www.amazon.com/Barry-Galbraith-Play-A-Long-With-Bach/dp/1562240412
     
  18. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    Yes, Galbraith is great plus you can play with the second part (or first) on the CD.
     
  19. Wellreel

    Wellreel Member

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