As you can tell from my previous blogs, learning and knowing the fretboard to the best of ones ability is of the utmost importance to me as a guitarist and something I stress to all of my guitar students. How much do I stress this point? So much that last week one of my students wanted to know why is it so important to me. I thought about it for a day or two. Thats why I love teaching; it gets me to reevaluate all that I know.
The reason it is so important to me is because I feel that the more knowledge you have about your instrument and how to get around on it, the more beauty you can create with it. You will be able to summon any possible combination of notes and phrases to emote the exact feeling you are trying to convey. It is my job as a teacher to come up with interesting, unique and cool ways to master this task.
With that being said here is an interesting, unique and cool major scale exercise to help you learn and eventually master the fret board.
This exercise is based on the six notes of any major scale played in three octaves up and down the neck starting on different notes of the scale in order diatonically. This exercise is played in the key of F major. It is actually moveable but for the constraints of space we will use F major. The first six notes of the F major scale are F, G, A, Bb, C, and D respectively. We will play these notes in that order in three octaves across and up and down the neck. Once that is done we will then play the next six notes of the major scale starting on the second note. These notes would be G, A, Bb, C, D and E respectively. We will play these in three octaves across and up and down the neck also. We will follow this series and pattern until the last note of the scale. You will notice that each series has the same symmetrical finger pattern for each octave. But don’t let those similar patterns deceive you. This is a very challenging exercise for a few reasons. Firstly, the rhythm pattern is very difficult, sixtieth note triplets played at about 120 bpm. I highly recommend NOT playing with a metronome at first until you get the stretches and proper fingerings down. After that is accomplished I would then start with a metronome slowly gradually building up to a fast speed. Secondly, although the finger pattern are similar for each note group, they do change as you switch the starting note of each phrase. So you have to really think about what you are playing quickly at a fast tempo. If you really want to take this exercise to the next level, say each note as you play them. Your significant others, parents, roommates and pets may think you are crazy but hey you will be learning the fretboard in an expeditious manner and becoming the master of your chosen instrument so its all relative! After you master this exercise in F major, move it around to other major keys and when you are jamming and soloing, remember this lesson. These phrases will sound killer with an amp on 11 and a wah pedal. Just saying.
Now get out there and pick up that guitar and play, just like yesterday. As always, any feedback and comments are welcome