Step 3: Note Sequences
next logical stage is to start adding notes around your
root/interval positions, creating small four/five note sequences. What
this does is help you develop the ability to visualize sequences in
several positions, which further helps to develop your spatial
co-ordination. It's also a
great workout for your fingers!
either borrow sequences from scales you know or simply pick out a
sequence of four or five notes you like the sound of in your chosen
starting position. It helps if you keep a root in mind as you
this, as this will become your reference note as you move between
positions. However, you don't have to start the sequence
on the root.
Here are some examples built around A
to help you get started. You can repeat the sequence on each position a
few times before moving to a the next position if you like...
A major sequence around A...
Step 4. Arpeggios
are a sequence of intervals that make up a chord. They can also be seen
as the skeleton of most scales you'll play. So they're very useful to
be familiar with.
Like any other sequence, they can be played in several positions, again
using a root as our position "marker".
Here's an A
major arpeggio (1
- 3 - 5) across the neck...
we're looking for memorable patterns and spatial relationships between
the notes and positions. For example, notice how the 5th is always three frets higher
than the 3rd on the same string.
most cases, the 3rd lies one fret down from the root on the next string
up, with the exception of when the root is on the G string (because of
a different tuning interval between G and B), in which case the 3rd is
on the same fret.
slightly awkward thing about guitar is the tuning between the G and B
strings changes the visual relationship of notes by one fret. So you
have to adjust to that.
There are countless ways of visualising the relationship between notes,
both across single strings and multiple strings.
Anyway, back to the main exercise which is to be able to move between
the positions smoothly and timely (although here I've not used every
Try and play through the positions similar to the exercise above...
Step 5. Chords
can use the note position method learned earlier to find other
positions for our chord shapes. Let's refer back to the A major
arpeggio diagram from earlier...
An A major
arpeggio shares the same intervals as a major triad (three note chord),
just as a minor arp shares the same intervals as a minor triad. The
difference between playing an arpeggio pattern and a chord shape is
that we need three (or optionally more) strings for the chord so each
note can ring
simultaneously. So using that pattern above, can you pick out the
positions we can play a three-string triad (1 3 5 although it
doesn't have to be in that order)?
I probably missed a couple out there, but you get the idea!
you play through the positions, try to memorise the spatial
relationship between them, referring to those root
positions as marker points. This may prove difficult at
first, but the
more you do it, the more it sinks in. It's a bit like developing muscle
memory for your mind! You can then try the same exercise on a different
root using the same relative positions.
Now try and pick out the minor chord shapes (1 ♭3 5)
in this minor triad pattern...
How These Exercises Will Help You
good visual, spatial co-ordination of the fretboard is a huge part of
competent, confident guitarist. Whether you're writing songs on your
own, in a band setting or improvising on stage, the fruits of doing the
exercises in this lesson (making sure to practice them using different
roots) will be working "in the background" to ensure
you are always aware of your relative place on the neck.
concept of being able to visualise different positions for notes and
note sequences/patterns will translate into many areas of learning and
playing, many of which you may be yet to learn.
Overall, it will
ensure you never feel stranded in one position on the neck. It'll give
you multiple starting points and light up the marker points to help you
find your bearings and connect your harmonies and melodies spatially as
well as auditorily.
If you would like to keep pushing your fretboard knowledge to the next
level, I highly recommend using interactive software such as Guitar Notes
Master to keep it engaging!