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Thread: Suggestions For Learning The Fretboard

  1. #1

    Default Suggestions For Learning The Fretboard

    I don't come from a fretted instrument background. I did grow up playing the viola, and play the piano and sing. I didn't grow up learning to play the guitar, nor the ukulele. However, I picked up my first ukulele about 13 years ago and have become very good with strumming and accompanying myself as a singer. But I'd like to learn to know the fretboard up and down it the way I know a piano keyboard. I want to learn to become more of an instrumentalist.

    Living on the North Shore of Boston, there aren't a lot of very serious players that I am aware of. Perhaps I might explore Berklee School of Music for a teacher.

    In the meantime, any suggestions, or thoughts of online sources (or books) for learning to play/pick the fretboard? I'm not looking for right hand picking techniques. It's about becoming familiar with the fretboard, and being able to choose notes I want to play (I do a lot of improvisation vocally as well as on the keyboard, whether it be rock or jazz).

    Thanks in advance.

    J

  2. #2
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    Choose a few tunes you know reasonably well, have them written out in notation in "easy" keys, C, D, F or G, for example, then learn your way around the fretboard using a "map" reading this notation. Once you know where all the notes are in these four keys you've just about cracked it Add a few major and minor scales and a couple of arpeggios and that should cover most options ... then practice

    All the best
    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

  3. #3

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    Do you mean that I should write the melody out in several keys, and then figure out where the notes are on the fretboard? And then just play the melody over and over again?

  4. #4
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    I made myself a fretboard printout with each fret labelled with the note, helped me immensely when I was learning to play bass uke a few years ago. Here's a uke fretboard I found online.




    This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly West near the Beverly Center
    9 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 11 solid body bass ukes, 9 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 34)

    • Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
    • Member The CC Strummers: YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers

  5. #5
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    What I did was learn to play all the modes of a certain key. That will give you seven notes out of the twelve and those modes will run from the first to the nineteenth fret. When you play them be cognizant of what you're playing--which isn't hard since you're playing the same seven notes over and over again, albeit in a different order.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the responses. I will get to work and report back. More responses, of course, are welcome.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnalogJ View Post
    Do you mean that I should write the melody out in several keys, and then figure out where the notes are on the fretboard? And then just play the melody over and over again?
    Yes ... more or less ... it works for me.

    I've got a few favourite "simple" tunes, mostly old folk songs or dance tunes, that I often use just for a noodle, twiddle or warm-up and if I'm familiarising myself with a new instrument having the "security blanket" of knowing what the music "should" sound like is very helpful

    I'm a multi-instrumentalist, mostly fretted strings and woodwind, purely to a degree to entertain myself these days, but when I was given a bowed psaltery a few months ago I was able to coax something recognisable out of it within an hour or so ... most of that was figuring out how to hold the bow Next job is to build a repertoire that particularly suits that instrument, but in the meantime I can enjoy it anyway

    YMMV
    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

  8. #8
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    Hey J,

    Have a look at this series I have been working on:

    ① https://youtu.be/MJVmoRy6wqM

    ② https://youtu.be/6rMrOezP13Y

    The first video introduces the concept of playing major scales using 3 notes per string. I have found this to be very beneficial and it has allowed me to not only quickly learn the ukulele fret board but to be able to utilize the different positions. There are some PDF worksheets you can download too.

    The second video shows how this technique can be applied to musical lines and some ways to get around potential problems.

    Like you, I didn't start out on the ukulele, rather I cut my teeth on the trombone. I found guitar and ukulele a bit confusing because you can play the same note on different strings in different positions. This system has helped me a lot and I hope you will get something from it too!

    -Joey
    ( o)==::

    Jazz Tutorials on Youtube -> Ukulele Jazz Friends

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maguwa View Post
    Hey J,

    Have a look at this series I have been working on:

    ① https://youtu.be/MJVmoRy6wqM

    ② https://youtu.be/6rMrOezP13Y

    The first video introduces the concept of playing major scales using 3 notes per string. I have found this to be very beneficial and it has allowed me to not only quickly learn the ukulele fret board but to be able to utilize the different positions. There are some PDF worksheets you can download too.

    The second video shows how this technique can be applied to musical lines and some ways to get around potential problems.

    Like you, I didn't start out on the ukulele, rather I cut my teeth on the trombone. I found guitar and ukulele a bit confusing because you can play the same note on different strings in different positions. This system has helped me a lot and I hope you will get something from it too!

    -Joey

    One thing the viola and ukulele have in common - being able to play the same note on different strings.

  10. #10

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    Thanks all. I already have a strong musical foundation. Some great ideas here. Now to the grunt work.

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