Welcome to YOUR FRETBOARD KNOWLEGE!
Yes! I really did feel like I have to introduce you (or perhaps re-introduce you) to this enigma we call the “fretboard”…specifocally your fretboard knowledge. And I’m going to start by making a very BOLD STATEMENT.
Your knowledge of your fretboard is NOT as good as it should be!
I know that might sting a bit but let me explain! Having taught thousands of students (who have often studied with someone else before me) have simply said that of the areas of guitar that challenge them the most, fretboard knowledge is definitely right up there! Without beating down my fellow teaching colleagues however, teaching guitar is guided as much by its CULTURE as it is any one teacher. And that culture has been subtlety telling students (let’s say over the past 40 years or so) to by-pass fretboard knowledge for a while, get some really cool licks under your fingers, learn some tunes and LATER we’ll come back to the fretboard. Problem is, this almost never happens because of the experience of “sounding cool” first. Trust me I get it! The 14 year old me was not too concerned about the fretboard while transcribing RUSH tunes by ear (really trial & error to be honest- but I’m still using my ear) all day on my own time. I just wanted to show-off…and it did feel good. But at the same time, my first teacher was constantly drilling me on my fretboard knowledge. There wasn’t a chord, arpeggio or note that he didn’t expect me to know… Quick Steve! What notes make up G flat Major 7 chord? Locate them somewhere else on your fretboard! What are the notes of the Chord-Scale that goes with that chord? Sure the shapes are learned but do you really KNOW what is under your fingers.
…and that (in hindsight) paid off in dividends –
He often said: “Steve! All roads lead to ROME”. I never really understood that at the time but he was saying that everything done in music is CONNECTED and ultimately I will see the BIG picture (as in ROME). So think of knowing your fretboard knowledge as ROME and that, appropriately, it was not built in a day. So if students are telling me that they want to understand their fretboard better (often wishing they had taken on this knowledge earlier), then I say let’s do this…or at least have more of the information and processes available to them to seek it out as they fit – but in an organized and connected manner. I’ll assume that’s why you’re reading this right now!