If you asked me to name the single most common problem among guitar students, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second.
After all, I see it every day in my own studio. I also struggled with the same issue myself for a number of years. And if the conversations on the online forums are any indication, it’s the same problem that guitarists seem to have the world over:
Guitar players, as a rule, don’t know the notes on the guitar!
This is virtually unheard of on most other instruments, but there’s a good reason why mastering the fretboard is so frustrating for guitarists: It’s extremely complex.
The complexity lies in the layout. And the number of frets. And the tuning of the strings. And the multiple ways you can accomplish the same thing. And the layout. And the…well, you get the idea.
If you’re having trouble navigating the notes on your guitar – if you look at the neck and see a blur of random frets – you are not alone! As a matter of fact, it’s a rarity when I encounter guitar students who can confidently name any note on sight, even when they have some years of playing behind them.
Here’s the cold, hard truth: you will NEVER reach your full potential as a guitarist without being able to unlock the mysteries of the fretboard. But the good news is, the fretboard holds no real “mysteries”. There are strategies to simplifying it and shortcuts we can use. These strategies must be applied consistently, however, to achieve the desired results. And I’m here to tell you that the desired result – fretboard mastery – is a beautiful and empowering thing indeed. Continue reading “Guitarist, Know Thy Notes: A “How To” Guide to Mastering the Fretboard, Part 1” »