- Find a strategy that simplifies the task of learning the fretboard, and stick with it.
- Learn as many of the most important notes as you can
- Learn how the "mathematics of the fretboard" results in some easy-to-remember patterns.
- Use it or lose it! Practice! You don't even need a guitar to do this. You can just visualize the keyboard even when you're lying in bed at night. Just keep working on it.
Now, in the next series of posts I want to expand on these points and add a few techniques I've found helpful. But before I do I want to emphasize that it is useful to learn how to read traditional music.
I know, I know. Guitar players usually think playing from formal music is totally impractical. And in many cases I completely agree! But the truth is, learning the positions of, say, C, at various places on the neck is of limited value if you can't relate it to formal music notation.
And from the learning-the-fretboard perspective knowing "how to read" opens up practice and learning possibilities that you just won't have if you can't read music.
For instance, let's say you want to use some simple melodies as exercises to help you learn note positions. There area number of these simple melodies right here.
Take the melody of Ode to Joy for example. You can play the exact same tune at different places on the neck. This is absolutely the best way to learn note positions on the fretboard.
If you are a complete newbie when it comes to reading music, and if you are interested in learning, here are some blog posts that will help you learn music reading.
So much for that!
In the next few posts I will touch on the learning-the-fretboard strategy points I've outlined above, starting with: Learning the Most Important Notes.