Practice fretboard, for beginners

Found this awesome tool for memorising your fretboard, so those who struggle try it out.

https://www.musictheory.net/exercises/fretboard

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The way I learnt it was go up each string playing sharps and down playing flats, singing each note to the best of my non singing ability. This helps yo know the locations of the notes as well as knowing how a note sounds before you play it. Then I would randomly play all Cs, F#s etc. to a beat.

Playing scales from the lowest note of the lowest string to the highest of the highest string is also useful to see the patterns of intervals on the neck and how they relate to the root., as well as learning the notes on the fretboard.

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Thanks for sharing @Growl This will come in handy in times where I’m away from my bass and want to work on memorizing notes on the fretboard. Much appreciated.

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A good way to learn is to find thing in a non-ABCD way.

You can take the circle of fourths/fifths, start with C. Find all Cs. Then go to F, etc

Then simply start on a C and find one of each, closest perhaps around the circle.

It’s painful at first, but relationships start popping out.

I think either Ari or Mark or both do similar.

Worked wonders for me

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This is a cool thread!

If anyone else has tips / apps / things that worked well for them to find/memorize the notes, I’d be fully interested to know what they are for the sake of research and science and teaching!

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I had to draw out the part of the fretboard I wanted to learn on a piece of paper and then just stare at it for quite a while, looking for patterns, etc., to burn into my head this interplay of “anchors” on the fretboard. After trying quite a few systems I end up with notes B C on G string, and G on E string. From these two points, I was finally able to “sudoku” out the whole fretboard on the fly.

And from that, I simply brute-forced myself through repetition to learn the first 12 frets. And then I “origamied” my arm, but I plan to brute force it exactly the same way the next time around.

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Isn’t so funny though really. Memorizing a 4x12 board shouldn’t be this hard. It’s just crazy to me. I wonder why.

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This is what I used in the beginning, starting on the lower 5 frets and adding one or two new frets each day. I find using TAB messes with this learning - necessary evil when you’re starting out, I guess. Ari Cap has something called creative notefinder which is also great. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCUSbemFCms

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Because people try to learn the fretboard so they can use it instead of using the fretboard so they can learn it.

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I think it’s largely to do with the number of combinations.

It’s not just about learning where the notes are, but where the notes are in relation to each other. Adding one more string may seem easy, but you’re also learning how the notes on that string relate to the rest of the fretboard as well. For example, on a 5 string a 5th can be found from the Xth fret on the B string to the (X+1)th fret on the G string. This is not something that can be found on a 4string.

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Definitely. The more you think of the 3rd fret of the E string as a G (while playing), the more it’s going to look like a G, and then you’ll eventually have it memorised. If you always think of it as the 3rd fret of the E string, then it’s going to remain the 3rd fret of the E string.

Edit just to clarify: nothing wrong with tabs, that’s how I learn my songs too. Just saying that it has the side effect of thinking in fret numbers instead of note names. You’ll have to put extra effort into memorising and associating note names with those fret numbers.

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The Ed Friedland book on walking baselines is good as well. You get a 3 for 1… you get to learn how to build walking baselines over chord progressions while learning the fretboard and reading standard notation :slight_smile:

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Another good way to learn the notes on your fretboard and also learn the cycle of 5th . Or cycle of 4ths. C,F,Bb,Eb,Ab,Db,Gb,B,E,A,D,G. Say each note example and play each note.
C on the E String, C on the A string,C on the D String, C on the G string. Next F on the E String ,F on the A string, F on the D String, F on G String. Keep doing this through the cycle, on a steady tempo . Try to speed up tempo as you get better.

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I installed an app on my iPhone called Bass Fretboard Addict. When I’m out and about and bored, I play that instead of random games.

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This is straight up Yoda.
Also, The Sphinx from Mystery Men.
Love it.

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A funny thing kept happening to me on my last cover “Sea of Love”. On a couple of parts, where the TAB had me going up strings for a couple notes, but when practicing it after it was memorized, I started going up frets instead, without any thought, essentially by mistake! And, they were the correct notes. I had absolutely no consious choice in this matter, it was automatic. It actually freaked me out a little bit, but I loved it. Two notes down, 90 to go…

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@sshoihet would you say this book would be good coming out of Josh’s course or is it a bit more advanced than that?

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It’s very beginner friendly so one would easily have enough knowledge/skill coming out of Josh’s course.

The book starts out with a little primer on basic theory and reading music then goes on to playing roots and fifths over chords. Some of the exercises give you the notes to play, then you get just the chord progression to improvise your own baselines over. After that, you work on adding approach notes to your basslines.

I think it’s very good for several reasons… you start off working on root/5th/octave which most people are familiar with and can easily recognize and it’s an easy pattern to use on the fretboard. This lets you combine familiar sounds, with familiar notes while also reading them from the staff or chords so you’re not having to do all three things at once. Consider how we read a familiar language… we don’t look at each letter, we don’t sound the words out we read whole words or even chunks of words as if they were pictures. This is how we’re able to read words with missing letters or phrases that have an incorrect word in them because our brain isn’t just reading what it sees on the page, it’s reading what it expects to see based on our experience. When reading music, you eventually don’t just read the notes, you also recognize the intervals of the following notes.

All the exercises are pretty simple, there’s lots of repetition and there’s nothing faster than a quarter note so you have a lot of opportunity for repetition to reinforce the learning. The book includes audio file examples and the player is pretty good, even on a mobile device. This is the only paper bass related book I own and I find it really convenient to just open it on the bed along with my phone and play for 10 or 15 mins… then I can go back to sleep feeling likeI’ve accomplished something for the day :wink:

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Great wrap up - thank you. Yeah, I’m not big on learning out of books - I usually need to see and hear other people doing things and have it explained to me verbally. Having said that, I think I’ll get this book. I also bought Mark Smith’s walking bass line course when it was on special, so I might do them together and hopefully they reinforce each other. Cheers for all the info :+1:

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I tried all the tricks and apps and exercises… but what finally did it for me was two things: playing C and Am all over the neck and saying the notes…And just studying a diagram of natural not3s and noticing the repeating patterns and relationships between b-c / e-f / g-c

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