Fretboard Navigation

Saturday, January 9th, 2016

Shiver me timbers, we’ve got to navigate this fretboard!


I’m not going to go into all the basic theory because there are a “bazillion” references out there. I’ll try to keep this concise.


The core musical constructs I use are the (major scale) modes (I actually learned these first!), the pentatonic shapes and arpeggios. I dabble in others but those are the core elements.


Here’s the main tip. Learn how to play in any key starting both from the root note starting on the A string and the E string. So say you have to play in E minor. You can go up to the 12 fret on the E string(s) and play the shapes you’d like. Let’s take E dorian, as an example. If you want to play E dorian around the 7th fret area, I (personally) remember that E dorian in the 7th fret area is super-imposed over the B Aeolian shape (referencing B on the low/high-E string at 7th fret).


Similarly, if I wanted to play E lydian in the 7th fret area I know it is super-imposed over B major in the 7th fret area.


This covers a LOT of fretboard ground when you know the shapes to either side, as well. You can then progress to find the root note anywhere on the fretboard and know which shape to play for any given mode or pentatonic etc you want.


Hope that makes sense!




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