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Learning the fretboard - Fretboard Blocks

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by fourstringbliss, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    I've been playing for a while, but have never put in the grunt work to learn all the notes on the fretboard. I know the notes on the B and E and A strings up to about the 9th fret but that's it - mainly because that's where the most traffic is.

    I might be slow, but I just realized that every C on the fretboard has the same 8 notes around it. It looks like this:

    One fret up E F F#

    B C C#

    One fret down F# G G#

    I'm thinking that if I can memorize what notes are around a particular note it will not only help me memorize the fretboard but also spend less time looking at the fretboard while I play.

    I made a worksheet for learning these notes and attached it here if you want to use it.
  2. Here's a practical way to learn your notes: Practice the C Major Scale as much as you can, everywhere on the instrument, in as many positions as you can find and as many shapes as you can find. Play each scale twice; first only playing from C to C and back again, then playing as many notes that fit into the key of C as you can reach and going back, and in both directions. STAY WITH THE KEY OF C. The more you do this, you'll notice the same thing you noticed with the notes that surround C - but you'll notice them in scale shape form.

    This will get you so familiar with the natural notes on the board that finding a note with an accidental requires only one extra step - a fret to the left or the right , depending on whether it's a flat or sharp note. :)
  3. An easy way to learn the fretboard is by playing major and minor chords (triads) in all keys using the circle of 4ths and 5ths.
  4. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    These are both really good ideas! I'll try them too!
  5. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    How do I do this using the circle of 4ths and 5ths?
  6. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    I'll take it he means playing all the diatonic chords in each key. To do that you start with C (the first position on the circle) and play the triads as follows Cmaj, Dmin, Emin, Fmaj, Gmaj, Amin, Bdiminished. Play that all week till you can do it upsidedown and backwards then move to G which is Gmaj, Amin, Bmin, Cmaj, Dmaj, Emin, F#dim.

    You see the trend? the chord qualities are in the same, the pattern you play is the same just this time you started on G. It always goes Maj, Min, Min, Maj, Maj, Min, Dim.

    This time the F was sharp because every time you go right on the circle you ad 1 sharp (F# C# G# D# A# E# B#) In the key of C nothing is sharp, in the key of G F is sharp, in the key of D F and G are sharp....

    This image shows the circle along with its major triads (major chords)
    the order of sharps and flats (order of sharps but if you go to the left, thus adding flats instead)...which you can find information about here http://www.studybass.com/lessons/harmony/the-order-of-sharps-and-flats/ Also if you haven't read everything on that site I recommend you do.

  7. DanRJBrasil


    Jun 10, 2007
    the best way to learn the notes position on the board is learn how to read music, you can't read and look at board at same time, it has to be in you, and is important read music.
  8. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    I get it! If I'm going clockwise then each successive note name is the fifth of the one before it. G is the fifth of C. Going counter clockwise I get the fourths - C is the fourth of G. Thanks!
  9. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    Yeah that is right...I edited my post though to be more specific about what Steve66 meant for you to do with it (or at least what I think he meant)....although it might be a little beyond your theory knowledge...make sure you read everything you can at http://www.studybass.com/

  10. I guess you can go through all the chords of the key.

    Lets take a C Major. The Major Triad is C E G you can play the C starting on the E string 8th Fret, The E on E string Open or the 12th fret the G on the E string 3rd fret or 15th fret

    Next start the C Major triad on the A string. C on the 3rd fret or 15th fret, The E on the 7th fret, The G 10th fret

    Continue to the other strings. Then start incorporating the E and A string to make the triad

    Once you found all the notes for C Major, you just have another 9 notes to learn

    Following the Cycle of 5ths. your next triad is G major this introduces 2 new notes. (you already can Identify the G note from the C Major exercise)

    Do 2 Major scales a day and in a weeks time you know the fretboard pretty good. Eventually you will see patterns.

    Like another TB'er mentioned, I also agree that you learn the fretboard by learning to read music. Actually a sheet of music can offer a lot of theory.
  11. gtmattz


    Aug 23, 2008
    OP: I am in the same boat as you. I have been playing bass off and on since I was 8 yrs old (24 years ago XD ) and have never taken the time to learn the fretboard. This post has alot of really good info that is going to be really helpful! Anyhow, In my search for something to help me learn the fretboard faster I ran across this shareware program that I have been using in my free time at work to help me learn this. It basically lets you choose strings you want to practice on, then will highliht a fret with a yellow dot and time how long it takes you to answer the question correctly. The software logs any problem areas and gives you the option of practicing those areas.

    //edit: One thing that the software doesn't cover, however, is alternate tunings to the standard EADG(BE, its designed for guitar), but the way I see it, getting the fretboard down pat with a standard tuning will just make it easier to memorize alternate tunings, right?
  12. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    Thanks!! I'm going to try out that program when I get home tonight! All I know is that I want to be part of a worship band but I've got to know my instrument first. I'm 39 and I would think that most people who are in a band of some sort have been playing and mastering their instrument longer than I have. I don't want to show up at an audition and be looking at the fretboard the whole time and searching for notes!

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