Should I memorize the notes of the fretboard in E standard?

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by Willyjacksonjs22-7, Jul 17, 2021.

  1. Willyjacksonjs22-7

    Willyjacksonjs22-7 Banned

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    What if you’re a player that like to play in different tunings? Are there any benefits of memorizing everything in E?
     
  2. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    I've never found it useful to memorize the fretboard in terms of where all the notes are. I think it's vastly easier to memorize patterns, scales, and intervals.
     
  3. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    You should memorize notes on the fretboard. Then you think on scales and patterns.
     
  4. Randy

    Randy Tony Lazuto?! Super Moderator

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    What you're referring to is "fretboard visualization" and it's a complex concept with a few different approaches.

    The cliff notes is that really nobody memorizes every note on the fretboard, you use "visualization" to navigate the fretboard using patterns. You only need to "know" a handful of the notes (best to start with the "white keys" on the low E) and if you find a visualization strategy that works, you can find your root, octaves and the intervals in between. At that point it's just a matter of knowing the alphabet more then knowing "all the notes".
     
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  5. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Some good posts so far.

    What is your goal?
     
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  6. Willyjacksonjs22-7

    Willyjacksonjs22-7 Banned

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    I’m trying to learn music theory but most of the songs I like are in other tunings. And sometimes I just like to stay in Eb
     
  7. Willyjacksonjs22-7

    Willyjacksonjs22-7 Banned

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    I don’t understand don’t you need to know where the notes are on the fretboard so it can be easier to look for patterns, scales and intervals etc..
     
  8. jaxadam

    jaxadam SS.org Regular

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    This by far.
     
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  9. Randy

    Randy Tony Lazuto?! Super Moderator

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    Note names don't mean much because you're always playing relative to the key you're in. If you were playing classical music from sheets in standard notation, sure.

    But pretty much all music in the rock, metal, jazz, fusion and even neo-classical genres center around having a key and playing in scales/modes relative to that key. Doesn't matter if you're in E Standard or C# Standard.

    You've got essentially every note in the musical alphabet on your low E (or B or C or whatever) so once you find that note, you are just using shapes. Change the key, change the tuning, move the shape. The names don't matter.
     
  10. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    The first thing to learn is to recognize the notes on the fretboard, where/how to find the octaves of any note. Then search for 5ths and 4ths, which are "perfect". Then, when you're comfortable with the 4ths and 5th, either in the same string as in the next or previous, you'll move on to understand where to find Major and minor 3rds, 6ths, then 7ths and 2dns (not necessarily in this order, but I'd go with 4ths and 5ths first).

    It's when you realize the relations of notes on the fretboard that patterns appear, and that's when you understand them, because some patterns change according to the used tuning. You'll find patterns looking at each string (from nut to bridge) and looking at fret positions. Patterns on each string will be repeated on every other string, but off set, meaning they are moved a few frets forward or backward. This doesn't change if you want to keep playing in the same scale trough out the neck, even if you change a string's tuning, the pattern will move forward or backward. Patterns looked at from the fret position change according to tuning, meaning that open tunings will have different patterns than standard ones or even personalized ones (one can tune in all 4ths or even 5ths to get a bigger note range from lowest to highest).

    This to say that more importante than scale patterns (to me that is, although that's still really hard to me since I'm "caged" in the scale patterns) is note-to-note relations/intervals and that depends on the tuning you have when going for string to string interaction...

    :::::

    The by fret position pattern approach has a few points that should be mentioned:
    • Learning one pattern allows one to scratch some solos.
    • Changing key = sliding the pattern a few frets forward or backward, because you'll mostly NEED TO KNOW where in the pattern are the root notes of the key you're playing in and reposition said pattern in the new desired root notes.
    • Learning about 4 or 5 different patterns on the same key opens whole the fingerboard map.
    • You'll also discover smaller patterns within a complete all strings pattern, which allows you to apply it to other positions on the fretboard that feature the same notes... you'll discover different patterns.
    • The pattern for Em is exactly the same as for Gm or Am or whatever other note, just in a different fretboard position in the nut-to-bridge relation.
    • I think it may deliver faster results than trying to recognize note relations first... but fast doesn't mean better, so if going this route, DON'T FORGET TO STUDY INTERVALS on the fretboard at the same time as you study the scale patterns.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2021
  11. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician SS.org Regular

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    The patterns are always the same, regardless of tuning. The only thing that is the key due to what the root note is. So 5th fret on the low E is an A. But the A major scale pattern just becomes a G major scale when you tune it down half a step.

    I personally just think of everything as if it’s tuned to E standard.
     
  12. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Generally speaking, when you’re improvising (which is really the only time you’d need to have the notes “memorized.” Because otherwise you can easily take a couple of seconds to figure out what the note is) you’re going to be either doing scales abs patterns, or if you’re really good, you’ll be thinking in intervals. Like, let’s say that a D chord is happening in the song. You can improvise over the D chord by playing notes in the key that the song is in, OR you can play notes in a mode that includes the D, F#, and A of the D major triad. So you could play the D Lydian scale. That scale is the same as Ionian, but with a #4. It just gives it its own “flavor.” If you’re really adept at improvising - like a lot of jazz dudes (cats?) then you might just go straight to the intervals, and throw a #4 in to give any old chord a Lydian feel. That’s above my pay grade, so I’m just assuming that’s what they do.
     
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  13. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    I barely know what my strings are tuned to.

    I'd rather have a good ear than know the notes on the guitar.

    I think when it comes to this stuff everybody is different and we should try and think for ourselves what skills/knowledge we need rather than listen to someone say "you need to know this".
     
  14. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Prioritize getting comfortable with interval patterns instead. Being able to find notes as roots and to help navigate is important, but it's far easier to remember some root starting points like 8th fret C , or A string 7th fret E etc. and know the shape of certain intervals from there, rather than trying to recall the note spelling of every scale in every key and think of each and every note of a scale as a location on the fretboard of its own. Far easier to work from the root and know where the position of thirds, fourth, fifth are relative to it and play scales that way without worrying about what the other notes in the scale are called in that moment.
     
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  15. Demiurge

    Demiurge Intrepid Jackass

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    Every single note? No. A good number of them with landmarks to anchor patterns, etc? Yes. There's a lot we can do without having to learn how to sight read, so I think it's fair that if you're playing with people and somebody says, "play a G here" that you can find it.

    Most people start out learning power chords rooted on the 5th & 6th strings so it's fairly easy to be acquainted with those. If you play in drop tuning, then you know that the D-string notes as they align with the low string in drop tuning. You can figure-out the G and B string notes on the fly tangentially by use of octave shapes. High E's same as low.
     
  16. iamaom

    iamaom SS.org Regular

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    I'm going to go against the grain here, YES, learn all the notes. If you ever play with "real" musicians and they ask you to play a D5 so they can adjust their trumpet and you say "I don't know where that is, but I can sweep pick", it's pretty fucking embarrassing and there's a good chance you'll never be invited back. Unless you only want to play with other musical illiterate rock/metal bands you gotta learn your instrument. There are less notes on guitar than piano, you only have to memorize 5 strings (low E and high E are the same), and the fretboard is symmetrical (if you learn 0-11, you know 12-24). You actually only need to memorize 55 frets, I'm sure you know more pokemon than that. It's not that hard.
     
  17. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Although I agree with your perspective, I'd say that those numbers are dependent on the tuning used and number of strings.

    There's also a point to know that figuring out a position at the nut is not necessarily the same as at the 12th or 13th fret because we can't go behind the nut but we can move from the 13th fret back to the 10th. This to say that there's an effort to join the ends of the patterns that needs to be made and will result in a "new" pattern and, more important, note relations. This figures the same regarding highest fret positions, where one can't go beyond the 24th fret but can move over the 12th coming from the 10th.. and if one is used to 22 fret guitars, a guitar with 24 frets may create confusion as may do going from 24 to 22 frets... as adding a string... or removing one.
     
  18. HungryGuitarStudent

    HungryGuitarStudent SS.org Regular

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    If your goal is to improvise solos and to be conscious of the relationship between your note choices and the underlying chords you're playing over, then someone like Tom Quayle would suggest learning note names on the fretboard and learning interval shapes. See his YT channel for a bunch of explanations on the topic of fretboard visualization.

    It's not something you learn in a week, it's a long term goal you practice every session. Obviously you don't visualize everything you play all the time (e.g. when playing fast runs), but visualizing target notes when improvising is a useful skill IMO.

    Personally, I can improvise solos semi-decently but I want to take my playing to another level (and learn skills to expand my vocabulary-musical identity), so Tom's approach is a path I'm currently on. I'll let you know in a few years how it turns out;)

    Note that Tom's approach is not the only one. Guys like Martin Miller use the caged system as a basis. I'm not going to go into a pros and cons comparison of each approach, namely because it's been done to death and I'm a noob.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2021
  19. SoundAsleep7

    SoundAsleep7 SS.org Regular

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    i don’t think you’re a nob, Tom Quayle knows the fretboard very well, good idea.
     
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  20. HungryGuitarStudent

    HungryGuitarStudent SS.org Regular

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    FYI guys, just saw that the person who started this thread is banned, might be pointless to send him suggestions hehe.

    Thanks man, but compared to Tom or Martin, I’m a small child.
     

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