Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Clark Westfield, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. Clark Westfield

    Clark Westfield Floyd Pepper is my mentor!

    Jan 30, 2012
    Central Jersey
    I have been playing for almost 2 years and still have some issues mastering where the fretboard notes are.

    What is the best way to really lock down memorizing where the notes are without pausing and thinking?

    Any excercises or tricks?

    My buddy has something on his IPad that is pretty cool.

    Now I have to get one of those IPads.
  2. Sni77


    Aug 23, 2012
    Vienna, Austria
    Reading sheet music, a lot, would help.
  3. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    Well, there's always playing yer butt off. But one "trick," if you will, is to work a simple progression with arpeggiated chords. Take a simple I IV V (such as G C D7) and start on low G, and play the full chords (GMaj7 CMaj7 D7) up and down the neck. Just go to the next chord tone from wherever you leave off from the previous chord:

    |G B D F# | G B C E | F# A C D |
    Descending from high D:
    |B G F# D | C B G E | D C A F#| G

    Then do it in Ab. Then A...

    Another approach is to play diatonic diads in root position and in first and second inversion. I'll type that in later! My first exercise should keep you going for a day or two.
  4. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    Flash cards?
  5. JoeWPgh


    Dec 21, 2012
    Way back when I first started, I taped a few pieces of paper together and drew the neck and notes. I pinned it to my wall and looked at it as I practiced. I kept it up there for a few months and practiced a lot. As you become more proficient, you'll find the actual note names don't matter as much as recognizing the intervals. But you still need to know the names of the notes.
  6. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    knowing note names comes in handy for big jumps. My ears can guide me through most things, but when I want to fiddle around in the lower frets, then fly up to the higher frets (i.e. soloing) it's nice to know where to land.
  7. TotteryManx


    Jan 15, 2013
    Reading music has really helped me learn the fretboard. Also, practicing scales in every key and calling out each note.
  8. Warfender

    Warfender Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2009
    A really good way is to randomize notes and pick only one string and work up and down to the notes. The circle of fifths is a great random order to use and you will learn all the notes and the cycle at the same time. Once you get E string nemorized, move up to A, etc, etc. My students learn the board in a week up and down if they put in the time.
  9. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011
    as suggested by fretless
    playing a chord progression up and down the neck has been great practice for me
    you just pick a range on the fretboard and play up till you reach the limit of thatrange and then turn around and play down. Garry Willis covers this in his fretboard book and says it holds interest to keep moving in one direction, so it's not just a practice technique.

    another thing I've started doing lately is learning a simple song with key center using the major scale pattern box pattern where the root is on finger 2. After you have that down, switch to a new position where the key center root uses the major scale box pattern based on finger 4.
  10. BassKraz


    Jan 26, 2013
    I've been wondering where I can purchase reasonably accurate bass sheet music that has a wide selection of both new and old stuff?
  11. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Great advice for writting the notes down.
    You want to "learn" the fretboard, not memorise it.
    The fretboard is based on music, so their are basic relationships between notes that when you learn them, they will support other infomation you use and learn.

    For example D at the 5th fret means that there has to be a G above it and a A below it, the same relationship as the open strings.
    So if there is a G above it then either side of the G is Ab and F#, so that means one tone either side of any G, is an A and a F, the same as there is when a G is played on the 3rd fret E string etc..
    All that info, and any more you learn, flashes through your sub-concious in milli seconds in an instant to confirm that you are in-fact playing a D...even the fact that you are on the second fret marker is taken in to confirm you are on a D.
    This will happen all over the fretboard if you take the time to learn the relationships rather than memorise notes.
    You do not think these things because there is no time.
    When you learn, it not only teaches you, it confirms and lets you deduce why you know its a D you have played or will play next.....all the info you have learned is telling you it can only be a D. Intervals, scales, chord tones chromatics etc...if you write the note down and all the notes around it, you learn so much deeper.
    If you try and memorise things you have a specific point to learn, so if you forget that specific point you have nothing to refer or relate to in order to remind you of what it is.
    If i was to ask you to play the 5th fret note above know what it is before i even finish typing this sentenece, fact is it came straight to you as soon as you read the "above A" part.:cool:
  12. ELITE55


    Oct 22, 2011
    It's not actual songs or anything but I use to improve my sight reading. I've used everything from books to online material and this is by far the best program. I also practice out of the real book bass clef edition. Their is plenty of songs in that book to practice with.
  13. Start playing C on every string (4th string- 8th fret, 3rd string - 3rd fret, etc), then work your around the circle of fifths. That's how I was taught, and it becomes easier as you go, because of of the close relationship of notes (B is one fret below C) It's also a good idea to sing the notes as you play them - it will help with your "ear training" more than you know.
  14. +1 ^^^ this.
  15. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Most bass guitar method books organize the studies in positions, double bass too for that matter.

    That is how we teach bass; Start on open strings, First position, Second and up the neck we go.

    Ed Friedland is a favorite educator of mine. You may know his as the "bass whisperer." He is an awesome communicator and educator, check out his bass method published by Hal Leonard.
  16. Already In Use

    Already In Use

    Jan 3, 2010
    What helped me was looking at the fretbaoard in a vertical fashion, notes stacked instead of viewing in in a linear fashion..from fret one to say fret 12.

    Look at the 7th fret on a 4 string. B E A D..going vertical up or down the same notes will follow..again aligning side to side as mentioned..any place on the fretbaord...above(physical location) every B is an E...below an F#...etc.

    Knowing where to jump to 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, etc in any direction will help IMO.
  17. lowendrv


    Dec 12, 2007
    Practice sight reading and learn circle of fifths inside and out.
  18. It doesn't matter that much how you learn all the notes, just that you do learn them. If you want, get a full scale printout of a fretboard and stick it somewhere really obvious, so you're constantly looking at it. Hell, print out a dozen and put them everywhere, so you're just bombarded with that "fretboard image". Anything that works is good enough.
  19. Portphilia


    Jun 8, 2012

    For me I just forced myself to stop going for the "easy" position notes. For example, instead of playing F in first position shoot for the same note on the 8th fret of the A string.