tips for learning the fretboard?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by slickhare, Nov 21, 2005.

  1. slickhare


    Feb 2, 2005
    i've lately commited myself to trying to learn the fretboard. however i've been having trouble doing it. does anyone have any tips on how to easily memorize the fretboard?
  2. Any note can be found also on one string up and five frets up the neck, or two strings and 10 frets up

    The octave of every note is two strings up and two frets down

    Learn the major (Ionian) and minor (Aeolian) scales and how to get from the root to the octave using them

    I think it is more useful to learn how to find different intervals than to memorize the names of the notes on random frets

    Does that help?

    Edit: Corrected the scale names
  3. Akami

    Akami Four on the floor

    Some excellent starter points there but if you want to go all the way then take a good look at this very well conceived method by PacMan.

    Learn this and you will know you fingerboard inside and out.

  4. Scot

    Scot Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    What Low E said. The thing to keep in mind when learning the fretboard is that, because of the symetry of the fingerboard (since the bass is usually tuned in perfect fourths), any information you learn is duplicated all over the neck. The key is to see everything you learn as patterns that can be played all over the neck. Then you get more mileage out of the information you learn if you can commit a piece of information to memory and then apply it elsewhere on the neck.
  5. djcruse


    Jun 3, 2002
    Norwood, MA
    Ionian and Aeolian.
  6. Akami

    Akami Four on the floor

  7. If you had a beater bass, I'd paint the note name below each string on the fretboard. Didn't someone do this?
  8. Oops. Thanks
  9. bassbully43


    Jul 1, 2005
    I tryed alot of things to remember the notes and then had problems...when i got in front of other players and remembering on the spot. What i did was write out chord charts ...root notes... on every song i have ever played. So if i knew the song from tab or ear i took the time to follow it and write out every root note. When i played the songs i watched and called out the note as i played it. I had my guitarist write out every song we did in chord progressions and forced myself to read the chart as we played for about a month. I found out quickly where the notes were by the songs i played. I also found out how to play songs easy and with less jumping when i understood the fretboard and where the notes were. I play 60% of most songs in the 1-5 fret positions and most of the rest in 5- 9 posistion rarely over 12 and hardly ever a G string....they are only good for strippers :p (Tony Levin i think said that) you will find in most rock and popular music you will use the same notes over and over and reduce your movement between them less and less...i did and it helped me so much....dont play another note untill you write them out first...this is my method and might not be the best but it worked...i never write out fills or small solo type spots cuz they are on the fly and i remember them easy for some strange reason.
  10. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    While im not the most experienced, i wouldnt recommend this since it may become a crutch. once you get a non-beater bass you may have trouble again

    im just jumping from note to note and saying it as i play it. starting with naturals on only the first 5 frets, slowly working my way up, and once i get to 12 ill start on flats and sharps
  11. Hookus


    Oct 2, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Actually the link posted is the best way. Don't learn just those two modes, learn all seven fingering patterns and go from the open position, all the way up, then all the way back down. You will be forced to learn notes, intervals, dexterity, and modes. I have my wife pick a random not and play it all the way up and down, in all seven fingering patterns.

    That, and stop thinking in terms of string and fret.
  12. ErikP.Bass

    ErikP.Bass Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2004
    Something that I have found helpful is to say every note on the fretboard out loud while fingering it every practice session. I usually do this two ways...

    The first is by naming every note, chromatically, both ascending (use #'s with note names where applicable) and descending (use b's with note names where applicable) on each string. Edit : Imortant note - whether the notes are ascending or descending has "really" nothing to do with whether they are sharp or flat (read more about accidentals/key signatures) this is just a method to ensure both are touched upon.

    The second method is to play every instance of each chromatic note in sequence. For example start by playing every instance of E on the fretboard, then F etc. Be sure to pay attention to enharmonics - G# = Ab.

    It is important to say the note names out loud as you play will slow you down a bit but that is the idea. Saying the notes out loud can be applied to playing arpeggio's and scales too.

    Disclaimer - There is no "easy" way to learn the fretboard.
  13. slickhare


    Feb 2, 2005
    that's actually really comforting. i thought i was just lazy/not muscially talented. but it actually is hard! :hyper:
  14. Bullet-Bob


    Aug 20, 2005
    I printed out a copy of the fretboard which showed the fretboard, and below it on the paper were what the notes looked like on actual sheet music.

    I would work on fingering and speed, and half the time I look at the fretboard on the sheet and on my bass, trying to remember where they were. Then I would spend the other half of the time looking at where the notes were on the sheet music to recognize them there too.
  15. Here is a link showing how bass musical notation relates to the bass fingerboard.
    This helped me identify what the note looked like on paper and on the fretboard.
  16. IotaNet

    IotaNet Supporting Member


    As a former trombone player (who STILL sees an Eb and thinks "Third position" :( ), this chart is EXTREMELY helpful -- thanks for posting it!

  17. I'm sorry but I did not see any helpful answers to the original question. Maybe the last 2 post will help. I too have alot of trouble knowing the fret board. :(
  18. MikeRS


    Aug 16, 2005
    Clinton, MA
    This is what I did to learn the fretboard and give students this as well:

    Play all the natural notes up and down the neck and say them out loud.
    Then play all the sharp/flat notes up and down and say them out loud, then do it chromatically out loud.

    Do the major scale in all keys out loud.
    Minor scales all keys out loud.
    Modes, all keys out loud.

    Then do all of the above but say each not out loud in the same pitch as what you are playing, this is very good for ear training as well.

    I worked about 4 months on the last three, the first is usually a basic lesson.
  19. Akami

    Akami Four on the floor

    You must have missed this link.

    There are a lot of TBer's who found it to be incredibly helpful.

    Go check it out now! ;)
  20. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    I write it out in the below format.
    E  A  D  G
    F  A# D# G#
    F# B  E  A
    G  C  F  A#
    G# C# F# B
    A  D  G  C
    A# D# G# C#
    B  E  A  D
    C  F  A# D#
    C# F# B  E
    D  G  C  F
    D# G# C# F#
    E  A  D  G 
    E  A  D  G
    F  Bb Eb Ab
    Gb B  E  A
    G  C  F  Bb
    Ab Db Gb B
    A  D  G  C
    Bb Eb Ab Db
    B  E  A  D
    C  F  Bb Eb
    Db Gb B  E
    D  G  C  F
    Eb Ab Db Gb
    E  A  D  G