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tips for learning and memorizing notes on the fretboard?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by bon viesta, Dec 23, 2020.


  1. bon viesta

    bon viesta

    Dec 10, 2020
    i’m still a beginner, despite being a total gear head, and i just wanted to ask for some tips on memorizing notes! it’s a bit time consuming hitting the open e or a or d or g string and being like “ok that’s a g... one two three...” etc and counting the half steps between b and c and e and f, just to arrive at a fret you’ll forget about once you move away for a second or two. beginners problems i guess :hyper:. my picking technique and left hand technique are pretty okay, one finger per fret (sometimes i cheat and either use my middle finger or pinkie when i should use my ring finger), but i want to start getting into theory to better my playing. what’s the point of playing good if you play the wrong stuff??
     
    Nebula24, D.A.R.K. and jmattbassplaya like this.
  2. Rabidhamster

    Rabidhamster

    Jan 15, 2014
    Get a copy of Rocksmith and play the Guitarcade excersises. There’s one mode which starts you out calling notes and a general area of the fretboard and times you finding them accurately. Kinda like flash cards for note placement.
     
  3. Learn your 12 first position roots. Then learn where the octaves are and what positions you need to play to get to them. Then learn where the octaves for those notes are.

    If you know one note, you can find just about any other of the same note by moving over two strings and up two frets. IMO you only really need to memorize the first position roots and you will soon know them all if you practice playing the octaves. That's how I did it, anyway.
     
  4. 75Ric

    75Ric

    Feb 13, 2019
    Connecticut
    This is the way I did it, from an article on the topic from one of the bass mags (forget which one and when):

    Each day, work on learning a single note across all strings. Example: staring with 1st (E) string: Open E, then E on the 12th fret. 2nd (A) string: E at 7th fret, again at 19th fret. D string: E at 2nd fret, E at 14th fret. G string: E at 9th and 21st (if you have 21 frets). Say E when you play each note - it helps to reinforce your learning. Do this a few days and then move to the next note, F - F at 1st fret of E string and again at 13th fret, etc.

    This is a good 'warm-up' just to get your fingers moving, doing double time by learning the notes and their locations. A 20 or 21-fret fingerboard will have either one or two of the same notes (at different octaves) on each string.

    In a few short weeks, you'll know where all the notes lie.
     
  5. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I would combine learning the fretboard with learning some basic music theory -- e.g. intervals, arpeggios/chord tones, scales -- along with common fingering patterns for scales and arpeggios. For example, if you know that a C chord contains the notes C, E, and G, you can practice finding those notes all over the fretboard and various ways to get from one to the next.
     
    Robscott, doran.dragic and BazzaBass like this.
  6. bon viesta

    bon viesta

    Dec 10, 2020
    21st century schizoid man, strangely enough, helped me learn where the g is on all 4 strings! the key of the song is g and i believe the three low notes in the bass riff are an e string g while the rest is either an a string g where you hit the string right above it and when you hit the “bridge” you move to the f fret on the a string and the string above that. man this note talk is confusing! no wonder i’ve been a drummer for so long :nailbiting:
     
  7. bon viesta

    bon viesta

    Dec 10, 2020
    and starship trooper helped me learn octaves, at least when it’s concerning the low end of any given string. 8 frets, and up a string.
     
    retslock likes this.
  8. You know the notes of the open strings. (EADG if it’s 4-string standard tuning. Same principle for other tunings) So you should be able to name the notes as you ascend each string. E-F-F#-G etc.
     
  9. nonohmic

    nonohmic Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2005
    ABQ, NM.
    Put a map on your office/bedroom wall too.
     
  10. bon viesta

    bon viesta

    Dec 10, 2020
    oh wow that’s a really good idea!
     
    nonohmic likes this.
  11. chris_b

    chris_b

    Jun 2, 2007
    Repetition.
     
    mambo4, lermgalieu and bon viesta like this.
  12. abarson

    abarson

    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    Valvehead and sonosamas like this.
  13. lofreek

    lofreek

    Jul 19, 2004
    St. Louis MO
    I’ve been playing the bass for 50 years and I still feel like a beginner. Try taking any simple musical idea-a melody, a lick, or a scale fragment, and find every possible way to play it on the entire fingerboard in one key. Once totally comfortable with that, change keys and repeat. When doing this, remain mindful of the note names.
     
    Kukulkan61 and bon viesta like this.
  14. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    I'm old school. Playing through Simandl will get you there. It's not a trick or a shortcut; you still need to do the work. But it is very methodical in the way it works you up the finger board and through the keys.
     
    Paul New, coves, Papageno and 3 others like this.
  15. JoeWPgh

    JoeWPgh

    Dec 21, 2012
    When I first started, I drew a large picture of the fretboard, with the dots and note names and hung it on the wall. I looked at it whenever I practiced. I memorized it pretty quickly that way
     
    DTRN and jmattbassplaya like this.
  16. RSBBass

    RSBBass

    Jun 11, 2011
    NYC
    There are lots of approaches and they all involve repatition. I learned scales which has the benefit of learning key signatures and setting you up to read tonal music more easily.
     
    Papageno and LBS-bass like this.
  17. Just memorize a few at a time bro. The brain learns over time, not all at once
     
    jwoiton and 75Ric like this.
  18. Greycode

    Greycode Supporting Member

    I am left handed, I have Leftyfretz.com left handed bass guitar note diagram as my laptop wallpaper.
     
  19. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Boring stuff. Scales.
     
  20. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    And try not to stare at the neck when you work.
     
    Papageno and bassballs27 like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Feb 26, 2021

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