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Learning the Fretboard

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May 31, 2020 - 7:15:58 PM



13 posts since 5/10/2020

Hi everyone, I'm looking for any help with a method of learning the fret board. I've learned the G major and minor scales and sort of reached a point in my learning where progress is slow and hard to get motivated. Any pointers would be appreciated. Thanks

May 31, 2020 - 8:09:45 PM
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2160 posts since 5/2/2012

Not exactly what you're looking for, but check this  youtube channel out doub pearce for some music theory.  I've picked up some music theory along the way on my banjo journey, when it was necessary, but will freely admit to not working on it as much as I could/should.  Playing melodic style has "forced" me to pick up some things.  Wish I had the patience and motivation to learn more.  I picked up a resonator guitar last summer, and that has me learning scales, etc.  

May 31, 2020 - 8:44:46 PM



13 posts since 5/10/2020

Thanks mate I will check this channel out, appreciate it

May 31, 2020 - 10:55:56 PM



8905 posts since 7/1/2006

Fingerboard Studies for the 5-String Banjo

Provides a method to understand and locate chords on the fingerboard of a banjo tuned to open G..

Edited by - banjoy on 05/31/2020 22:58:58

Jun 1, 2020 - 4:37:56 AM



13 posts since 5/10/2020

Thank you mate, this is what I've been needing!

Jun 1, 2020 - 4:54:43 AM



8905 posts since 7/1/2006

You're welcome. I hear that quite a bit.

Let us know how it works for you...

Jun 1, 2020 - 5:25:04 AM
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Greg Denton


44 posts since 10/5/2014

Learning scales is a great way to get to know the fretboard. I'd recommend finding a scale pattern to match each of your 3 major chord shapes (barre, F-shape, and D-shape) so you know how the scale pattern relates to each chord. And remember, each major scale you learn is also the relative minor scale (C/Am, G/Em, D/Bm, A/F#m, etc).

Once you've gotten used to that somewhat. I'd practice pentatonic scales - just leave out the half-steps: instead of Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do, play Do-Re-Mi-So-La-Do (a minor pentatonic scale is La-Do-Re-Mi-So-La where "La" is the root).
Try that with an 'F-Shape' G chord (I), a 'barre" C chord (IV), a 'D-shape' D chord (V), and a 'D-shape' derived Em chord (vi). You'll notice that all the notes you play add up to a G major scale. If you make these changes along with a chord progression, your ear and fingers will start to become familiar with how melodies describe the different chord tones as they progress through a song.
This was a great way for me to integrate fretboard knowledge with ear training and an understanding of song structure.
There is always so much to learn - however you approach it, have a lot of fun!

Jun 1, 2020 - 7:59:31 AM

1867 posts since 2/10/2013

What playing style do you want to learn ? Playing melodic scales helps. I work on improving my fingerboard familiarity regularly. I think the most important things are -

1. Don't just memorize fingerings. When working on fingerboard familiarity, make sure you know which note(s) you are playing. Play slowly and if necessary, say the name of the note out loud.

2. You are educating your "ear" as well. Close your eyes and try to play a specific note. Also try to play the same note in different places on the fingerboard. You will gradually improve your ability to locate the note on the fingerboard. This takes time, but improvement comes faster than expected.

3. Work on the entire fingerboard - not just the first 1 to 5 frets.

Do you know the chromatic scale ? Learning this scale helps a person understand the fingerboard better. Compared to the effort it takes to learn this scale, the "payback" is enormous.

I have read different solutions to the problem. But basically, just playing a scale and teaching yourself where notes are located on the fingerboard will prepare you for figuring out different helpful things that will work for you.

Jun 1, 2020 - 8:03:16 AM

10810 posts since 2/12/2011

Frank Eastes material is very good.

Jun 1, 2020 - 12:28:24 PM
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18 posts since 1/26/2012

I don't know if this is the kind of thing you're looking for, but at one point by teacher had me go up and down the neck on each string, fret by fret, playing the note and saying it out loud, using sharp names going up and flat names going down.

It's a bit tedious, but it has made working on scales and naming chords easier.

Actually, I should probably revisit that exercise.

Jun 10, 2020 - 7:08:39 AM

1867 posts since 2/10/2013

Learning basic scale and chord theory and then applying this knowledge works. Don't just memorize things. Be aware of what you are doing. First of all, a person should know the chromatic scale. Learn that and you will know how the fingerboard is constructed. Learn how major diatonic scales are created, and figure out how to play a scale - don't just do what a tab shows. Know what and why you are doing things. Also learn how minor scales are constructed and you work learning how to play them.

So learn some theory. I am NOT saying you have to learn standard musical notation. But I will say this ability can be very useful. Here is an example. You can see which notes are played "down the neck", then play those very same notes "up the neck" to add variety to an arrangement.

So instead of watching a lot of TV, get a instructional designed to introduce someone to the music theory fundamentals. Take on just a little at a time, and make sure you really understand what you have read before starting something else. Have a notepad handy and try to apply new knowledge on paper. I spent quite a bit of time creating scales on paper before using this knowledge when playing. I have book on music theory handy and often spend 20-30 minutes reading something and then thinking about it. The more you learn, the more you realize how much more there is to learn.

Don't just memorize. Be aware of what you are doing. Figuring things out and solving problems using your own initiative provides the greatest educational benefits. Learn from others, but work to educating yourself as well.

Jun 26, 2020 - 11:58:35 PM

595 posts since 6/8/2005

There's 12 major and minor keys.

Major scales only differ from one another by one note. Use the cycle to learn them.

After about 4 sharps or flats, things can get very interesting.

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