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Thread: Know your neck

  1. #1
    A♥ hoards guitars A♥ rugerpc's Avatar
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    Know your neck

    It's a simple goal, really.

    There are tons of excellent guitar players who play efficiently, melodically and with great innovation when it comes to using the whole neck of the guitar. Not all of them know what notes they are playing.

    But I want to go from looking at the neck of my guitars as decreasingly wide spaces punctuated here and there with birds to seeing, no, knowing every fretted note.

    I'm on a campaign now to know my neck.

    Have you done it? Was it a conscious effort or did it just happen over time? Did you set out to learn it as a goal with exercises or did you just one day realize that you weren't thinking about where the G#s is are the fourth string?
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    Still a Junior Member Albrecht Smuten's Avatar
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    Second post and derail already, but you reminded me the time I was truly wondering, why does the guitar have so many frets, when all the chords are played on the first three
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  3. #3
    Goatee Practitioner Danerada's Avatar
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  4. #4
    Senior Member swede71's Avatar
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    I do it all the time.Heres an exercise for you.Always good to have some harmonic content when gettin to know the neck.This is an A major triad in different inversion.Try it in all keys and say the name of the notes to yourself.´Next step is minor version.I find simple triads perfect to learning the neck.In this exercise u also get the chance to practise hybrid picking.
    E╓─────────────────┬──5────────9─────┬───12──────1 7───┬─┐
    B╟────────────5────┼───────────5──────┼──10──────1 4───┼─┤
    G╟──6──────────────┼──6─────────────┼───────────── ────┼─┤
    D╟────────────7────┼───────────7─────┼───11──────1 4───┼─┤
    A╟──7─────────4────┼──7──────────────┼──────────── ─────┼─┤
    E╙──5──────────────┴─────────────────┴──────────── ─────┴─┘

    PS.This is a true temperament neck
    Last edited by swede71; 12-17-2012 at 10:02 AM.
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  5. #5
    When I got into playing bass, I got bass lessons from one of the guys who played on a lot of Motown records, and was also a music professor at a university. He was into jazz theory and improvisational technique, and insisted that I call out every note on the fingerboard as I played it. So I had no choice - the other thing he had me do was write out what I was playing in music notation (not tab).

    To read music and play it means you have to understand what's on the fingerboard.

    But here's the thing: that was 15 years ago. If you were to hand me a bass today and ask me to play a C# on the G string, I could do it, but there would be an unmusical pause while I remembered where it was.

    So yes, it helped me learn to play bass and come up with bass lines for my work. On the other hand, I can't reel off the notes on the fretboard quickly any more, so it's something that you have to exercise your brain with constantly to stay sharp if that's what you want to do.

  6. #6
    Reading and playing classical guitar..........when your eyes never leave the page to see where your fingers are, then you know you are on to something.

  7. #7
    Senior Member veinbuster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHARISMAFIRE View Post
    Reading and playing classical guitar..........when your eyes never leave the page to see where your fingers are, then you know you are on to something.
    This works for me up to about the 5th position. I am a little less comfortable with the instant transcription from the staff to the fingerboard further up the neck - partly because most of the classical I have doesn't need to go higher and partly because I get lost in how many tiny lines above the staff there are.

    For non-classical, I am more concerned about knowing the relative position of notes in the key I am playing in than the name of the note; e.g. 9th is here and here, 2nd octave starts here. I drew charts to help get comfortable with the relationship.

    My next mission is to get a solid grip on chromatic chord progessions. I can find them, but I'd like them to be at my fingertips.

  8. #8
    A♥ hoards guitars A♥ rugerpc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albrecht Smuten View Post
    Second post and derail already, but you reminded me the time I was truly wondering, why does the guitar have so many frets, when all the chords are played on the first three
    Yeah - I was there at one point too!
    Thbbbbbt...
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  9. #9
    A♥ hoards guitars A♥ rugerpc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swede71 View Post
    I do it all the time.Heres an exercise for you.Always good to have some harmonic content when gettin to know the neck.This is an A major triad in different inversion.Try it in all keys and say the name of the notes to yourself.´Next step is minor version.I find simple triads perfect to learning the neck.In this exercise u also get the chance to practise hybrid picking.
    E╓─────────────────┬──5────────9─────┬───12──────1 7───┬─┐
    B╟────────────5────┼───────────5──────┼──10──────1 4───┼─┤
    G╟──6──────────────┼──6─────────────┼───────────── ────┼─┤
    D╟────────────7────┼───────────7─────┼───11──────1 4───┼─┤
    A╟──7─────────4────┼──7──────────────┼──────────── ─────┼─┤
    E╙──5──────────────┴─────────────────┴──────────── ─────┴─┘

    PS.This is a true temperament neck

    Cool! I was just doing something similar last night!
    Thbbbbbt...
    Check it out: Phillybri used to have a band: Resonance But he's soooo over them now!

    ˇsɹǝqɯǝɯ uɐıןɐɹʇsnɐ oןןǝɥ

  10. #10
    Reading music and sight reading helped me learn it. Knowing how to spell out your chords/arpeggios also.
    The right notes come if you know that stuff. Not relying on tab also helped me learn where the notes are.

    I like to play scales one note per string in all keys to test myself.

    I'm not a tab guy and this isn't true tab, but made this in the key of C Major.
    The choices are great, there are many more than shown here. Don't double up a string and try to go "up" the fretboard to find your new note.
    Start with the bottom example and work towards the top.
    Follow the C Major scale in order C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C. I designated where the 5th, 9th and 12th fret are.
    Progress to two octaves after you are comfortable with one octave. The top example is two octaves.


    I forgot the D on the two octave one so you will jump from D 10th fret on your low E string to E 2nd fret on your D string.
    Gives me an idea for a new exercise, to jump two strings for each note.



    After comfy with C Major then go to G, F, D, Bb, A, Eb, etc...............
    Last edited by t.shamone; 12-17-2012 at 02:03 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    I only know where all the E's, A's, and D's are. What? I was the lead guitarist for a metal band, all the songs were in those keys and I liked to do a lot of unison bends(still do).

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