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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Learn the fretboard notes?

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chas5131 - Posted - 05/19/2018:  13:10:03

Gollee, a guy can learn a lot in this forum.
Will have to build my own mouse organ to work on new pieces.

Question: Would it be worthwhile to learn the notes of the 5 string when in standard gDGBD tuning?
I am attempting to play from a book of Bach pieces which is in tabs.
I play piano and fiddle among other things that I read music for.
Learning to play the second fret on the third string seems to be more complex than simply playing the a note.
Then again it may cause further confusion when I start re-tuning for each tune.
On the other hand, maybe I should simply learn to play tabs. I am already playing tabs for clawhammer.
So confused.

Texasbanjo - Posted - 05/19/2018:  13:24:07

Once you get used to tab, it really is easier than musical notation at least for the banjo. Why? Because there are so many places on each string that you can find the same note, so tab actually makes it easy for you to know where to fret to get that particular note and the next note without having to hunt for it or make long stretches to get the next note.

For instance, if tuned in open G: D B, G, D, g (5th string), you can find the G note on the 3rd string open, 5th string open, 5th fret, 4th string, 5th fret 1st string, 9th string 2nd fret and so on (gee, I hope I got all those right, I don't have my banjo in front of me). Same for all the other notes: they can be found various places all over the strings. Note: 1st and 4th strings are the same but an octave higher) so if you know one, you know the other.)

While there's nothing wrong with learning the entire fretboard, it might be easier to think of each string as a chromatic scale; i.e., if you start on the 1st string open (D) and move it up a fret, you have a D#, move it up another fret and you have E, continue moving up 1 fret: F, F#, G, G# and so on. You'll soon figure out there are 2 frets between each whole note except for E-F and B-C.

There are many and varied ways to learn the fretboard. Personally, I don't think it necessary to know what note is on each string and each fret. However, I play by ear and my fingers just seem to know which notes are the right ones.

Just my take, for what it's worth.

Tractor1 - Posted - 05/19/2018:  14:12:40

as one that never retunes I learned all the notes on the fretboard from earl's book in the 70s and have also found it very useful .It mentally helps me in transferring phrasing ideas from other instruments or literature ,such as song books ,tune books ,instructions on chord .It has assisted me a lot.There are only twelve notes as you know.
One cool thing is when building a chord that is more than three notes. In G tuning which is gives you a straight first third fifth, it is very easy to visualize any additions or alterations.
this is the way I see it,but many great players don't do it that way

monstertone - Posted - 05/19/2018:  15:16:01

This is an old story, recycled a few times. Once upon a time, there was a young bluegrass banjo player who wished to pursue a college degree in music. The requirements were, you had to be able to read music & you had to play an instrument. The aspiring student entered the first day of class, banjo in hand & was promptly told that would not do because classical music cannot be played on a five string banjo. Undeterred, the student challenged the teacher give him some sheet music & a week to learn it, standard tuning, no capo. The following week, Pat Cloud was admitted to the class.    

So yes, knowing the fret board helps.

chas5131 - Posted - 05/19/2018:  15:24:34

Think I will like Pat Cloud's website.
Will be mapping the fretboard.


hoodoo - Posted - 06/04/2018:  12:23:21

Many early banjo pieces were composed in standard notation. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it can be learned.

Full disclosure, although I'm getting better at reading music, I still think that tablature is easier to follow. 

Edited by - hoodoo on 06/04/2018 12:29:01

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