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fretie
11-19-2012, 11:10 AM
Hi guys and gals,

I haven't been on UU for a while but I have been strumming.

And one thing I noticed recently was that I often glance at my fingers to insure I am on the correct fret for a note or chord especially when either is played up the neck. So I decided I'd better get out of that habit pronto! To this end, I have been kind of 'feeling my way around' trying to get on the correct fret(s) without looking.

I have two questions about this.

1) Other than purely forcing oneself to NEVER look at the fretboard when playing, are there any other methods that help navigate to notes and chords without looking?

2) I am playing my tenor uke mostly right now but I am thinking that when I finally am able to move up and down the frets without any visual clues...the whole landscape will be on my concert uke and my hard earned efforts to follow finger gps signals will be dashed. Am I correct in fearing this?

sukie
11-19-2012, 11:44 AM
Hi guys and gals,

I haven't been on UU for a while but I have been strumming.

And one thing I noticed recently was that I often glance at my fingers to insure I am on the correct fret for a note or chord especially when either is played up the neck. So I decided I'd better get out of that habit pronto! To this end, I have been kind of 'feeling my way around' trying to get on the correct fret(s) without looking.

I have two questions about this.

1) Other than purely forcing oneself to NEVER look at the fretboard when playing, are there any other methods that help navigate to notes and chords without looking?

2) I am playing my tenor uke mostly right now but I am thinking that when I finally am able to move up and down the frets without any visual clues...the whole landscape will be on my concert uke and my hard earned efforts to follow finger gps signals will be dashed. Am I correct in fearing this?
Number 1 -- I still struggle with. Play with your eyes closed helps.

Number 2 -- don't fear it, but it will be an adjustment. And then it won't. I went from a concert neck to a tenor neck. It was very weird for a while but I'm used to it now. Playing a concert neck now it really fun. It's easier.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
11-19-2012, 11:47 AM
I think it's a good goal NOT to look at your chord-forming fingers. I believe that eventually you will develop the muscle memory not only in your hand, but also in your arm, so that you'll be able to find the correct fret more and more easily. I'd suggest that you pay attention to the sound of the chord as that will clue you into whether or not you're playing the correct notes or not :)

As for moving from Tenor to Concert, or even to Soprano, of course there will be a short period of adjustment like when one moves the driver's seat back, even one notch, on a manual transmission. Some of you will identify with the example... and others, well take it by faith!

Once the orientation period is over, providing that you're not continually switching from Tenor to Concert, back and forth :), you should enjoy the same (or hopefully better) experience of 'finding' your place on the fretboard as when you were learning the same on the previous uke.

My experience anyway :)

keep uke'in',

PS muscle memory is a wonderful thing!

itsme
11-19-2012, 12:13 PM
Does your uke have side dots on the neck? I find that helps. I mainly fingerpick from sheets, so I set my stand slightly to the left where I can kind of see them with my peripheral vision without actually having to look. For big jumps, a quick sideways glance really helps me get my bearing. :)

Edit: if you don't have side dots, you can use something like Liquid Paper/Wite Out to make some.

fretie
11-19-2012, 01:06 PM
Hummm....lots of food for thought here....

Sounds like I have my work cut out for me! :D

I often switch from my tenor, which I tend to play at home, to my concert which I prefer, for its smaller size, to take to crowded uke meetups. Now I am thinking, given how hard it is to dial in the muscle memory of the fret locations, that I may be better to stick with one uke only. Switching totally to another size, I can see that gradually I'd learn the placements on that particular size uke for sure but it sounds like regularly switching back and forth, as I feared, would mess things up constantly.

My concert is quivering in the corner of the room now.....fearing for is life..... :(

itsme, yes, I do have the fret markers on my uke and in the past I used them a lot to orient myself quickly with just a glance but now if I don't want to be looking at the neck of the instrument as I play, so having markers really is neither here nor there....well they are still 'here' or, ah, rather 'there' on the uke but not of any significance for the 'feeling my way to the frets' approach that I've been taking.

OldePhart
11-19-2012, 02:33 PM
I wouldn't get too bent out of shape about the occasional glance at the fretboard especially for a "long move" up or down the fretboard. I've been playing guitar going on twenty years and I still need the occasional glance for a long slide.

Obviously, you don't want to be spending all your time staring at your hands, especially if performing publicly, but the occasional glance through a "tough" part isn't a big deal in my book.

John

fretie
11-19-2012, 02:58 PM
I wouldn't get too bent out of shape about the occasional glance at the fretboard especially for a "long move" up or down the fretboard. I've been playing guitar going on twenty years and I still need the occasional glance for a long slide.

Obviously, you don't want to be spending all your time staring at your hands, especially if performing publicly, but the occasional glance through a "tough" part isn't a big deal in my book.

John

John, given that you play guitar AND uke, what are your thoughts on switching between instruments? Specifically I am thinking about the challenges of switching between different uke neck sizes.

OldePhart
11-19-2012, 03:18 PM
John, given that you play guitar AND uke, what are your thoughts on switching between instruments? Specifically I am thinking about the challenges of switching between different uke neck sizes.

A lot of players who are way, way, way better than I will ever be are firm advocates of the "one uke theory." Guys like Jake et. al. can doubtless play rings around me on any scale instrument they pick up, but even so most of them advocate getting really, really good at one scale length.

That said, for myself I will never be a pro so I enjoy playing a variety of instruments - I can live with the knowledge that I'll never be a virtuoso on any of them. :)

Also that said, I find that I can play anything from soprano through a long-scale bass without much difficulty. In fact, I hadn't picked up a guitar for a couple of years when I needed to lead our worship band several weeks ago and it didn't take me but about twenty minutes or so to get used to the scale and chords again.

So I guess it boils down to "what do you want to master?" If you want to become a true master of an instrument it is probably better to stick to one scale. On the other hand, if you are playing for your own enjoyment and maybe want to be able to sit in with a band on whatever instrument they need for a particular gig it might be better to give up absolute mastery of one for usefulness on several. I guess you could say I've chosen that latter path.

John

Harold O.
11-19-2012, 04:36 PM
Do you play with others? Try watching THEIR fretboard while you play. Sounds weirder than it is.

Caddy65
11-19-2012, 04:41 PM
I agree with the above. I have played numerous stringed instruments for over 50 years. I am the classic Jack Of All Trades - Master Of None. I play for my own entertainment now, but switching between electric bass, mandolin, violin, banjo, guitar and now uke makes for a lot of different scales and feels. It doesn't take long to become accustomed to each. I will never be as proficient on any as I was when I was playing nearly all guitar or when I was playing mandolin in a bluegrass band and practicing many hours daily and doing weekend festivals every weekend. I just play to have fun now, and as above, always have glanced when making large moves up the neck.

Ipsofacto
11-19-2012, 08:49 PM
I once used to know a guy who was excellent at playing the guitar (one of my brother's friends actually), who my brother used to claim practiced every night for an hour at night, in the dark... I've taken to doing this with the songs I've committed to memory, and it does help a lot imo. Most of the chords I know now, I can play without having to look at the fret board :) See if it works for you I guess.