The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > PLAY and Write

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #61  
Old 06-23-2017, 02:50 PM
Toby Walker's Avatar
Toby Walker Toby Walker is offline
AGF Sponsor
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Stationary home in NJ. Mobile home on any given highway.
Posts: 8,724
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by funkapus View Post
Toby, I hope you won't mind my picking your brain on this. This is a topic I really struggle with; and while there are chunks of this thread that I understand technically, deep understanding (in a way that actually impacts what I can play) has been very elusive. So I'll start with the simplest question I can think of:

When you say above that you think there are easier methods for learning the fingerboard, what do you mean by "learning the fingerboard"? What does "learning the fretboard" really mean? When one has done that (and I understand that it's probably not best thought of as a binary, learned/not-learned thing, but rather an ever-deepening understanding, but for the purposes of this discussion...), what does one now know that one didn't before, and what is one capable of that one wasn't before?

Here are some things that I can think of that one might mean by "learning the fingerboard":

1. knowing the names of the notes on the fretboard, so that I know that a specific string/fret position is a Bb, and that I know where all the As are, and so on;

2. knowing the fingering shapes for the five major chords and how to put them down to get the major chords you want (which seems to be the first thing stuff based on CAGED wants to teach you), and similarly for major dom7 chords; and having this *internalized*, so I can just do it when I need to, without having to consciously think "OK, I want to play a G7 up the neck, so if I use a C7 shape my 2nd-thru-5th strings are on the 8th-thru-10th frets," because by the time I've thought all that out the moment I needed the chord has passed;

3. #2, but for other chords than majors and dom7 chords (and if I understand it, this seems to be what the original poster was/is working on);

4. understanding that the major chord shapes are just subsets of major scale patterns, and presumably the same thing can be said of other chords (minor, diminshed, suspended, etc.), and knowing those pattersn, and having this *internalized* so that it's possible to easily improvise around the chord shape using notes in the scale patterns;

5. knowing positional relationships, so that if I'm at some location on the fretboard, I know what positions relative to that position will give me an octave up/down, or a third/fifth/seventh/whatever that's above or below the note I'm on (is this what practicing arpeggios helps you learn?);

6. internalizing #5 above, making it instinctive/thoughtless, so that if I just played a note, and I hear/feel the next note I want in my head, I can automatically go to the location relative to where I am to produce that note;

7. going even further on internalizing those positional relationships to include harmony as well, so that if I hear a harmonic relationship in my head I can fret and play the right notes, essentially constructing the chords (or at least intervals) I need on the fly.

8. doubtless other stuff I'm not even thinking of right now, or have never thought of.

Is this stuff what you mean when you refer to learning the fretboard? Is there other stuff you mean that I haven't touched on?

The only part of these that seems straightforward to me is #1 and to an extent #2 -- they seem like simple memorization tasks, and indeed I've made some progress on them from that approach. The others, I don't know. Most of the CAGED-related material I've come across presents information without giving me much guidance about how to really effectively learn it, internalize it, make it a thoughtless part of my playing in the way that I no longer *think* about how to make a D-major shape with my fingers. For the major chord shapes up the neck (#2), I've been trying to learn this by going to blues jams where there's enough people playing that I'm not going to mess anyone else up, and doing very simplistic fingerpicking somewhere other than first position, switching between the shapes/positions on each chorus. The realization that the intervals between chords will correspond to the intervals between shapes -- so if the tune's in E, and I'm picking it in A position around the 7th-9th frets, then my A and B7 will look like the D and E7 shapes because those have the same relationships to the A shape as the first position A and B7 do to the E -- that realization has helped. But that's all I've been able to figure out on my own as to what the process should be for learning any of this, and instructional materials seem to provide me lots of interesting information without much guidance as to how to internalize/make instinctive that information.
I learned the fingerboard from trial and error... plenty of errors.

In the beginning, everything was done by ear. This was even before I knew what the notes on the guitar were. One of my first heroes was B.B. King, so I started by listening to and trying to copy some of his licks. During this time I hadn't a clue as to what to do with them, but I was developing my ear and technique to a remarkable degree. It was only until I sat down with someone else who played a few chords that I began to see which of those licks fit with the chords my friend was playing. At that point, I realized that one of the notes I was playing sounded 'stronger' than the rest, and after counting my way up the fingerboard from the open string, I deducted the name of that note matched the chord. After reading about a thing called 'root notes,' I figured correctly that must be what I discovered, which was a very big deal for me.

By that time I had amassed dozens of these licks and were now able to see how they fit together in various songs. I also figured out that those movable chords I had been learning - again, by ear - must have root notes and sure enough, I was right. The next discovery was learning that if a barre chord's name could change as it moved up the neck, the same thing could apply to these phrases that I had learned. Another major discovery. I was 15 by then and playing the guitar for about a year, teaching myself as I went along.

Somewhere I read that B.B. King played scales so I began to teach myself those starting with the Major Scale. Once I figured out one in a close position, starting with a root note, it was easy enough to move that up the fingerboard to play in different keys. I also remember figuring out that I could come up with a few different fingerings for the scales, starting on root notes on the different strings. Still, I had no idea how to use these scales.. yet.

Then I heard Carlos Santana and started adding other notes that sounded more in line with his style. As I played along with his albums, I figured out that he was in a minor key and that the notes I was adding must be somehow related to that key and after a lot of trial and error, discovered my first Minor scale. I also was amazed that this A Minor scale looked EXACTLY like my C Major scale, and it worked perfectly in an A Minor blues. Now, because I learned my Major scale fingerings, I could now play in Minor keys all over the neck. Another discovery!! Oh, and the Major Scales I had figured out worked perfectly in the Country music I was also learning.

Somewhere around this time I became interested in jazz, so at that point I figured it would beneficial to pick up a book or two. One was all about music theory as it applied to the guitar. It was here I first learned about chord inversions, which as it turned out I was already playing all over the place. I just had no clue that they were called inversions! I also learned harmonizing scales and creating chords from them, which explained why that Minor Scale worked so well with the Santana sound... it was something called the Aeolian Mode!!! Fancy that! And those improvisations that I had been learning from artists like Jerry Garcia and Dickey Betts... they were using these things called the Mixolydian Mode and the Ionian Mode, stuff that I had been playing the heck out of just by starting at different points along those Major scales that I taught myself.

What I'm saying here, in a long winded fashion, is that all of my knowledge of the fingerboard came from PLAYING and TRIAL and ERROR. As I was earning my living on the bandstand since I was 17, I had to get the songs and styles into my head and fingers right then and there, as there was no time to over think this stuff. It was only later that I learned the technical names for what I was playing.

However, as I'm always striving to learn, I did start picking up as many books as I could in order to add to the foundation that I had built up. It was only until several years ago that I heard about the CAGED system, and I learned that from watching Ernie Hawkins ( a wonderful fingerpicker ) talk about how he related it to playing the music of Reverend Gary Davis - which I was already playing. Ernie related it to a very straightforward way of playing the guitar in the ragtime/old-timey way of chord melody, which Davis was famous for.

Up until my learning the CAGED system, I had taught improvisation by means of licks as they related to their root notes and how they could be moved all over the fingerboard. It wasn't much of a leap to relate those licks to the five basic CAGED positions along the neck.

So that's how I did it. I hope that answers your question.
Reply With Quote
  #62  
Old 06-23-2017, 04:31 PM
TBman's Avatar
TBman TBman is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Northern NJ
Posts: 24,931
Default

The whole caged thing appeals to the geeky guitar guy in me, but in reality give, me a few basic chords, some different inversions up the neck and some double stops and I'm a happy guy. There's so much stuff to play without ever even thinking of seeing a diminished chord, lol.
__________________
Barry

Originals:
Dark Air *** The Stone Path


Covers:
Star of the County Down

The Foggy Dew

Ciuil Amuigh

Avalon L2-320C, Larrivee OM-05, Guild D-120c, Gibson J-45, Martin D-16GT and others
Reply With Quote
  #63  
Old 06-23-2017, 09:00 PM
SunnyDee SunnyDee is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 1,030
Default

Great discussion.
__________________
"Militantly left-handed."

Lefty Acoustics

Martin 00-15M
Taylor 320e Baritone

Cheap Righty Classical (played upside down ala Elizabeth Cotten)

Last edited by SunnyDee; 06-23-2017 at 10:06 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #64  
Old 06-27-2017, 09:48 AM
archerscreek archerscreek is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 707
Default

Twenty plus years ago I had your mindset. I set out to learn all of the fancy chord shapes and to be able to play them in any key all over the fretboard. The approach turned out to be a waste of time. First, most of the shapes simply don't sound good, at least to my ear and especially in the full voicing. Second, I found the approach slowed me down when it came to improvising.

So then I ditched that approach and set out to memorize the fretboard apart from chord shapes. I learned where each note was located, learned every position for my scales and how each position was connected to adjacent positions, and I kept working at it until everything became second nature. I started to visualize the fretboard in terms of root notes and numbers and from there built a vocabulary of double stops, triads, inversions, octaves, and chords that sounded good. This turned out to be a much better approach.

Frankly, I think learning chords before one learns the scales they are built from is putting the cart before the horse. I guarantee that if you learned your scales first and did so in terms of root notes and numbers, your chord vocabulary would grow much quicker and would be a lot more useful to you. If you are frustrated things are moving too slowly, maybe it's time for a different approach.
Reply With Quote
  #65  
Old 06-27-2017, 10:34 AM
Wyllys Wyllys is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Earth, mostly
Posts: 1,208
Default

Approaching the task by learning everything up front as a system may be intellectually interesting, but the practical, effective way seems to be learn one song at a time, contrast and compare things as your repetoire grows and compile your own personal "system" over time.

One thing at a time rather than everything at once...
__________________
Harmony Sovereign H-1203
"You're making the wrong mistakes."
...T. Monk

Theory is the post mortem of Music.
Reply With Quote
  #66  
Old 06-27-2017, 10:51 AM
TBman's Avatar
TBman TBman is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Northern NJ
Posts: 24,931
Default

The only problem my mind has with caged is the "c" shape and "d" are really the same with the "d" shape just being the lazy way, lol.
__________________
Barry

Originals:
Dark Air *** The Stone Path


Covers:
Star of the County Down

The Foggy Dew

Ciuil Amuigh

Avalon L2-320C, Larrivee OM-05, Guild D-120c, Gibson J-45, Martin D-16GT and others
Reply With Quote
  #67  
Old 06-27-2017, 12:04 PM
SunnyDee SunnyDee is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 1,030
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyllys View Post
Approaching the task by learning everything up front as a system may be intellectually interesting, but the practical, effective way seems to be learn one song at a time, contrast and compare things as your repetoire grows and compile your own personal "system" over time.

One thing at a time rather than everything at once...
This method may very well only be "practical and effective" IF you still have a lot of time when you start. If you start when you're much older with no background in theory or technique and limited ear training, learning everything up front can be much faster and more effective than trying to absorb and understand all the fundamentals of music one random song at a time. I don't think this particular system is the best way, but learning the theory while learning the technique and the songs, yes, I do, think that's more effective, for me and other late beginners, anyway.

But, I do see that many people give the same advice, just learn songs, and I have wondered how this works for them. Can you, or anyone here who recommends this, say why you think this is effective? How much would one song contribute to a novice's understanding of theory, knowledge of the fretboard, and mastery of fundamental guitar techniques? How many songs do you think the novice would need to learn to gain an intermediate knowledge of all three of these things. To what degree does one need to know the songs, to performance-level? Which songs would cover all these skills? How long would this method take to reach a solid intermediate level in theory, technique, fretboard knowledge, and playing songs? Would it change your recommendation if a person has no wish to play other people's songs, rather, to write original ones? In short, what is so effective about the "just learn songs" method that so many people recommend it?
__________________
"Militantly left-handed."

Lefty Acoustics

Martin 00-15M
Taylor 320e Baritone

Cheap Righty Classical (played upside down ala Elizabeth Cotten)

Last edited by SunnyDee; 06-27-2017 at 07:18 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #68  
Old 06-27-2017, 12:14 PM
amyFB amyFB is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Lehigh Valley, Eastern PA
Posts: 4,604
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TBman View Post
.....There's so much stuff to play without ever even thinking of seeing a diminished chord, lol.
And me, I never met a diminished chord I didn't like! The more, the merrier!

(yeah, they grumble at me at the jams, but, i do get a convert every once in a while. One shape serves all)
__________________
amyFb

Huss & Dalton CM
McKnight MacNaught
Breedlove Custom 000
Albert & Mueller S
Martin LXE
Voyage-Air VM04
Eastman AR605CE
Reply With Quote
  #69  
Old 06-27-2017, 01:02 PM
Wyllys Wyllys is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Earth, mostly
Posts: 1,208
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyllys View Post
Approaching the task by learning everything up front as a system may be intellectually interesting, but the practical, effective way seems to be learn one song at a time, contrast and compare things as your repetoire grows and compile your own personal "system" over time.

One thing at a time rather than everything at once...
Quote:
Originally Posted by SunnyDee View Post
This method may very well only be "practical and effective" IF you still have a lot of time when you start.
I think not. The later you start, the quicker you should go directly to playing tunes rather than wasting time trying to learn two things at once. If your time is short I would recommend learning to play "Nearer My God to Thee". If you have any time left after that you might like to study the structure and arrangement of the tune...

Memorizing the dictionary will not make you a poet or a writer. Likewise, playing all the "right" notes in the "right" order will not necessarily be music. Theory generated "music" is like "paint by number" art or the increasingly ubiquitous computer generated "speech text".
__________________
Harmony Sovereign H-1203
"You're making the wrong mistakes."
...T. Monk

Theory is the post mortem of Music.

Last edited by Wyllys; 07-08-2017 at 04:40 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #70  
Old 06-27-2017, 03:44 PM
TBman's Avatar
TBman TBman is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Northern NJ
Posts: 24,931
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyllys View Post
Memorizing the dictionary will not make you a poet or a writer. Likewise, playing all the "right" notes in the "right" order will not necessarily be music. Theory generated "music" is like "paint by number" art or the increasingly ubiquitous computer generated "speech text".
True, but the more paint on an artist's palette the more interesting things could get. I often wonder how much better my E7 A7 B7 improvs could be if I really knew what I was doing.
__________________
Barry

Originals:
Dark Air *** The Stone Path


Covers:
Star of the County Down

The Foggy Dew

Ciuil Amuigh

Avalon L2-320C, Larrivee OM-05, Guild D-120c, Gibson J-45, Martin D-16GT and others
Reply With Quote
  #71  
Old 06-27-2017, 04:25 PM
Wyllys Wyllys is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Earth, mostly
Posts: 1,208
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TBman View Post
True, but the more paint on an artist's palette the more interesting things could get. I often wonder how much better my E7 A7 B7 improvs could be if I really knew what I was doing.
The artist uses a few basic colors and blends them to obtain the desired hues to bring their vision to the canvas.

I suggest listening to as many different musicians as possible to expand your "sound palette", then blend to taste. I incorporate many sources into my guitar playing:

Piano, voice, sax, scat, fiddle, etc, etc, etc...even guitar. Exploring the work of different composers and arrangers is a great way to broaden your "sound vision". And for rock solid chord melody stuff you can't beat a good Lutheran hymnal.

I prefer to study and emulate performance rather than a theory-based "guided guesswork" approach.

P.S.

Try doing your E/A7/B7 stuff in a bunch of other keys, then back to E and see if you pick up anything new on the trip.
__________________
Harmony Sovereign H-1203
"You're making the wrong mistakes."
...T. Monk

Theory is the post mortem of Music.
Reply With Quote
  #72  
Old 06-27-2017, 04:26 PM
mattbn73 mattbn73 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 263
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TBman View Post
The only problem my mind has with caged is the "c" shape and "d" are really the same with the "d" shape just being the lazy way, lol.
Yeah. I'm not usually thinking full chords with any of these.

With D, I'm thinking mostly of its use with 3rd in the bass (6th string) 7X578X and it's open-string counterparts in different keys.
Reply With Quote
  #73  
Old 06-27-2017, 04:47 PM
s0cks s0cks is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 213
Default

I agree with both views, in my limited experience.

I think it's very beneficial to know how scales and chords are constructed, and thus how the fretboard is constructed. It gives you a guide, lets you know what notes are going to definitely work, which can also help in the learning of songs (I no longer think of a song in terms of what fret is being played, but rather the chord and intervals, which I think is much more useful).

But on the other hand, I'm also seeing the advantage to quickly building a repertoire. Nothing but learning songs is going to skill you up quicker in terms of playing technique. You don't need to know theory to play songs, and playing songs is what improves your technique and dexterity.

If you are older and don't have a lot of spare time due to family, work, and other responsibilities, then I would have to agree that I'd rather focus on learning songs. However, even 10min a day on theory would be beneficial imo.
Reply With Quote
  #74  
Old 06-27-2017, 05:03 PM
SunnyDee SunnyDee is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 1,030
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by s0cks View Post
If you are older and don't have a lot of spare time due to family, work, and other responsibilities, then I would have to agree that I'd rather focus on learning songs. However, even 10min a day on theory would be beneficial imo.
For my side, I wasn't referring to how much time you might have in a day, rather how much time you might have left to live. It could take years of playing songs to absorb, through listening, the patterns and ideas that you can easily grasp if you just get the information from theory, while you're listening and learning technique. Oth, if you don't have long to live, I guess only playing "Nearer My God to Thee" could also make a certain kind of sense.
__________________
"Militantly left-handed."

Lefty Acoustics

Martin 00-15M
Taylor 320e Baritone

Cheap Righty Classical (played upside down ala Elizabeth Cotten)
Reply With Quote
  #75  
Old 06-27-2017, 05:29 PM
s0cks s0cks is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 213
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SunnyDee View Post
For my side, I wasn't referring to how much time you might have in a day, rather how much time you might have left to live. It could take years of playing songs to absorb, through listening, the patterns and ideas that you can easily grasp if you just get the information from theory, while you're listening and learning technique. Oth, if you don't have long to live, I guess only playing "Nearer My God to Thee" could also make a certain kind of sense.
Meh. Our lives can be cut short at any time. I actually worry a lot about climate change for example; which continues to accelerate and alarm scientists. We might all only have a few decades left.

But, you can't get too focused on that. I think it's the wrong perspective, which emphasizes a set destination. There is no destination on guitar, or any musical instrument. There will always be more you want to learn. Tis better to enjoy the journey.

Last edited by Kerbie; 06-27-2017 at 08:32 PM. Reason: Removed masked profanity
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > PLAY and Write

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:33 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=