Good exercise to learn to play "blind"?

I am wondering if there is a good exercise (or more) to get more familiar with the fretboard without having to look at it all the time?

I practice and play mostly sitting and one main reason for this is that I need to see the fretboard to find my way around it, or, at least, to hit the frets where I should (but, actually, also that my plucking fingers find the right string). To me, the more you are standing, the less you can see the fretboard (at least, everything is more foreshortened than when sitting), but that is probably becoming more and more important for a developing bass player!?

Anyway, I feel like looking at the fretboard all the time is a crutch I need to get rid of at some point. Any advice??

  1. Stand
  2. Just do it. Look straight ahead and play.

Start with something familiar like scales. I think you’ll find it’s easier than you think.


I’d love to play without looking at the fretboard at all @joergkutter, but that will take nothing but lots of deliberate practice at it. :slight_smile:

I know what you mean about practicing sitting vs standing, and I always practice standing up. Once I’ve learned a bassline, I try to play it while staring out my window, but I confess that’s easier said than done. :laughing:

Like anything else, it will just take time to perfect this, but in trying to do it, a side benefit is that my ear is also getting trained and I’m much more aware if I’m off a fret now.

But fear not, everybody looks at their fretboard now and then.

Cheers, Joe


It’s not easy, but I’ve been practicing at it every day. I’m getting better, but still have to look every now and then, especially when I do a major string jump. But, I’m confident I can master this.

I still remember when I first learned to type. I thought it would be impossible to type error free, complete paragraphs and essays without looking at the keyboard, but lo and behold, with practice I mastered it and spent a career in journalism typing 70 wpm. Oddly, I spent all my time in the Army in communications, yet didn’t know how to touch type. I didn’t actually learn to type until my civilian years after leaving the Army.

I figure if I can learn that, I can learn to play bass without gazing at the fret board.


Yeah it’s totally not easy. But it’s still a lot easier than I thought it would be. I was surprised at how natural it feels (in short stints.)

Basically I need to look at minimum whenever I am going to move my hand.


@joergkutter - Definitely stand… And when you do, try standing in front of a mirror. I know this sounds a bit weird, but it worked wonders for me years ago (many, many years ago) when I started playing guitar.

Just like how we all learn more about how we sound by recording ourselves, we can also learn even more by watching ourselves do it…


One of the things I was doing when I was still practicing every day was play a major scale from first fret, right up the neck one fret increase at a time, then down again. I’d do it with my eyes closed and start slowly. It was amazing just how quickly I got to the stage that I could let go of the neck and still pick up where I left off.

I couldn’t tell you what note it was, or even which feet, but I got used to knowing where my hand would be. It seemed to be easier if I kept my head facing forwards even though I had my eyes closed.


I feel like I’m just @howard’s echo tonight.
What he said.

Also… lest we not forget: Blast Shield Training.


Thanks all for your input - very good pointers there!!

I will try to let the Force guide me, but I am afraid Jar Jar Binks might have taken what little was left after the Ewoks had had a go at it… :rofl:


or as some of us knew it; Star Wars.


Try practicing with a blindfold, in the dark or with eyes closed.

It really helps.

(just don’t do while driving) :yum: