Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Mapping the Fretboard

As guitarists, you have many ways to learn how to do nearly anything on the guitar. Many of those ways will give you short cuts (not that it's a bad thing) that certainly solve the problem of immediacy, but often those methods lack long-term understanding of the guitar.
It is easy enough to show you where to place your hand for chords, scale, etc. but as you advance, you are going to want to have the freedom to build your own chords, find new voicing, and expand your understanding of how to build and shape scales. In order to do this, it is important to have a solid working knowledge of the landscape of the guitar fretboard. While it can seem daunting ("Geez, there are a bunch of strings and a whole mess of frets...") there is a method to the madness if we take a moment and investigate...

Here is where you can find all the natural notes on the guitar. The natural notes consist of A, B, C, D, E, F and G (No #'s and b's)

First off, the distance or interval from one fret to the next is called a semitone or half step (that is the smallest interval in Western music) . The distance between two frets is called a whole tone or whole step (basically 2 semitones or half steps).

Important questions to consider...

  • Do you notice any patterns on the fretboard when you look at all the natural notes?

  • What happens in those frets that don't have a letters or notes shown in the diagram?

As you work through the map of the neck, your first priority should be the E strings and the A string. These strings are the starting points for most of your chords and scales.

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