Here's Why You Won't See the Neck as Confusing Anymore

If you are wondering how to really learn the guitar neck, then you are going to want to check out this lesson post. In it, I cover a 3-step consistent formulaic approach that will help you learn the neck in a really deep way...

It doesn’t matter which neck learning plan or neck practice formula that you are following right now. None of them will help you to completely understand the fret-board, the key to your long term permanent success - when learning the neck - lies in doing much deeper study.

Even the best and most organized neck learning formulas (that claim to prove the fastest way to memorize every note), won’t stand the test of time if you are unable to do the most important thing when it comes to neck learning, and that is stay consistent with your neck practice approach.


How should you go about learning the guitar fret-board? If you have no approach right now, then I have a formula for you to learn that will really make a difference with how you’re seeing the guitar neck.

But, before we get started on it, I wanted to clarify something...

When guitar players start practicing this instrument, we tend to play; chords, riffs and melodies with one thing in mind. And, that is - learning patterns (shapes) - that make up how we put down our fingers onto the guitar neck.

Learning by shapes and finger patterns are such a different perspective to take when compared to how many other instrumentalists learn their instruments.

Guitar students compared to the thinking process of a piano, or horn student yields some vastly different methods of thinking…

For example, a piano or horn student will think of music that they play in terms of specific notes and by way of a key’s harmony and then, they use that information to create music.

But, guitar players almost never think in terms of notes. Instead, we view our music as places for our fingers on the fret-board.

Music to us, is a "geometrical" layout. And, it is for this reason that we need a very logical and easy to comprehend formula to be able to understanding our guitar neck.

The first thing that I want to do is re-visit an important concept that we’ve discussed before. I want to review this one with you, because it is so important.

And, before we get it onto the guitar neck, I want to use the, “Guitar Scientist” website and break it down as neck theory first.

It is the topic of "Octave Patterns."

Watch the On-Screen Lesson:

Octaves are one of the most important ways that a student of the guitar can develop their awareness for the fret-board. Octaves isolate a note name and pass it along the fingerboard across every possible pitch.

These shapes form the templates that are used for everything else that we end up doing on guitar. Whether that’s; chord patterns, scales or arpeggio shapes.

So, before we carry on, let me demonstrate an excellent octave pattern exercise that you can do every day until you become completely familiar with the formula of how each octave, connects one to the next on the neck.

We'll also study how the octave template's location can use any note on the guitar neck.

Pattern One - Octave Shape:

Pattern Two - Octave Shape:

Pattern Three - Octave Shape:

Pattern Four - Octave Shape:

Pattern Five - Octave Shape:

The next guitar neck learning formula that I want to move on to involves dealing with “neck regions.” This principle operates by sticking to the use of, "unison tones," (identical pitch notes).

This is important to study because once a guitarist learns a group of chords, or a melody in a certain location of the neck, there are a lot of additional benefits that will come out of learning how to take that guitar pattern over to a couple of other areas of the fret-board as well.

Just think of the formula like this… For every pattern of a chord, or a melody, that you learn, through this formula you’ll also know two additional ways for playing that same idea on the neck.

This means that for every; scale shape, melody or chord pattern that you learn, you’ll be able to play that idea in three places across the guitar neck.

Let me show you exactly what I mean by playing a chord shape in three separate regions across the guitar neck using all of the exact same pitch tones in the same order and sequence…

Location 1 (open position):

 "D" Major Triad
Chord voicing: "Root, 5th, Octave, Major 3rd"
Note layout = "D, A, D, F#"

Location 2 (fifth position):

 "D" Major Triad
Chord voicing: "Root, 5th, Octave, Major 3rd" 
Note layout = "D, A, D, F#"


Location 3 (tenth position):

 "D" Major Triad
Chord voicing: "Root, 5th, Octave, Major 3rd" 
Note layout = "D, A, D, F#"

By learning about regional formulas (of any guitar pattern; scale or chord), is an incredibly eye opening study to work on.

The exercise that we just completed, (in how we had played that “D Major” chord across the neck from open, to 5th fret and finally up to the 10th fret), proved that if you spend a few extra minuets learning how to perform shapes and patterns in different regions of the fret-board, your neck awareness will begin moving up to a whole new level.

If that wasn’t great enough, there’s one more formula that you can do to stretch your fingerboard awareness even further yet. And, this next formula, (once more) has to do with regions on the neck.

But, instead of thinking in terms of relating the same range of notes, (unison tones), this time we’re going to move a phrase into other pitch ranges.

Let me show you exactly what I mean by taking a melodic phrase, and playing it in 3 different pitch ranges across the fingerboard...

Pitch Range 1 (open position):

 "C" Major Melody
Melodic Phrasing: "Root, 2nd, 3rd, Root, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 4th"
Note layout = "C, D, E, C, G, F, E, F"

Pitch Range 2 (fifth position):

 "C" Major Melody
Melodic Phrasing: "Root, 2nd, 3rd, Root, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 4th"
Note layout = "C, D, E, C, G, F, E, F"

Pitch Range 3 (twelfth position):

 "C" Major Melody
Melodic Phrasing: "Root, 2nd, 3rd, Root, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 4th"
Note layout = "C, D, E, C, G, F, E, F"

If you feel like your skills aren’t great at understanding exactly how the guitar neck operates with; chord patterns, riffs, or melodies, and if you’ve never practiced octave patterns, (to learn how one single tone can exist across the entire fret-board), or, if you’ve never spent any time learning how to re-locate notes into different regions of the neck using unison tones, as well as, using new pitch ranges, then you really need to dig into this information.

Set aside a few minutes of your practice schedule and study doing this stuff. Once you start into this, you’re going to notice a big difference in how you think about your fret-board…

You’ll have better knowledge of note location, a better feel for note range, pitch location will make more sense and your knowledge for how patterns relate into different regions of the neck will happen much faster for you.

All it takes is about 7-10 min. a day for possibly 60-90 days, and you’ll become far more versatile at organizing; notes, chords and melodies everyplace along the span of the neck.



Join Now

Guitar Chords | F Chord | Guitar Notes | G Chord | C Chord | D Chord | Guitar String Notes

Want Happier More Fulfilling Guitar Playing - Focus on this 1 Thing

Composing and improvising can be daunting. The practice involved can seem endless when you're trying to get music out of your head and into the real world. That said, there is one thing that you can focus on practicing that will make a big impact on your guitar playing and upon your ear. 

There is a big difference between doing ear training drills or composition assignments, and doing musical practice on understanding which notes sound the best when played across a group of chord changes.

In this video, I’m going to show you exactly what that is and I'll tell you exactly what to focus on if you are attempting to be able to play what you hear in your mind.


Happier - More Fulfilling Guitar Playing!
Today we’re going to break down one of the most important things that you need to practice as a guitarist.

It has to do with building your ear up to a point of where you can reach a level of playing to be able to start performing what it is that you "hear in your head."

When I teach this technique in the studio, I often compare this to what it’s like for somebody to learn how to ride a bicycle.

In the beginning, there’s a lot of balancing, (that just isn’t there), and many of us end up losing our balance or possibly falling off. But, down the road we are able to figure out how to balance ourselves and propel forward.

The ability to actually do this is something that is leaned entirely by the unconscious part of our mind. So, in getting started I want to lay the ground work for exactly what it is that we’re going to do in this lesson. Then, I’ll show you a series of exercises that will start to lead you to successfully doing it.

We want to attain one goal, and that's playing the music we hear in our head. That's the end focus.

However, developing this skill will take studying an exercise that involves reaching a point at where our focus will be on just on that one thing. It won't be easy, and it will take work.

Getting there will require moving through a 5 step process. The first step is simple, we will start by confirming the key that we will work in.

Then, we’ll develop an awareness for how the notes of the keys scale pattern will lay themselves out in at least “two” areas /regions of the neck.

The third step involves taking the chords of your key and establishing a “I-IV-V” chord progression built from out of the diatonic chords of the key.

Then, the fourth step is, once you have your chord progression, you will then decide upon the chord tones that you’ll use to play “composed melodic phrases” into. Each tone that you select will be unique to the chord of the moment and when you’ve composed the melody.

The final (fifth step) will be focused on spending time performing melodic ideas against the chord progression in two separate regions of the guitar neck.

After practicing this pattern of practice, you'll slowly start learning how to perform the music that you hear in your head.

STEP 1). Key Signature
For our example, we will use the key signature of, “G Major.”

STEP 2). Scale Patterns
Once the key has been established we need get organized on a couple of scale patterns for the scale associated to the chosen key. In our case, “G Major Scale.”

I’ve decided on two scale patterns that I want to use. They’ll be located in the 4th position, as well as, up in the 9th position. Become familiar with the locations of both of these scale shapes on the neck.

4th Position:

9th Position:

STEP 3). Chord Progression
Now that our “key” is established and our scales have been organized, let’s move on to getting set-up with our “I-IV-V” chord progression in this key.

The “I-IV-V” chords that are found within the key of “G Major” turn out to be the chords of, “G Major,” “C Major,” and “D Major.”

You could lay them out in pretty much any order and sequence that you’d like... For our example, we’ll organize them into a chord progression like this.

Chord Progression:

STEP 4). Chord Tone Targeting
Our next step involves determining a pre established group of chord tones that we’re going to focus on for being able to develop short, simplistic, melody lines.

To keep things well balanced, our format will be based upon placing the focus into the chord tones of the; root and the 5th for the tonic chord of our key.

Tonic Chord:
When it comes to our tonic chord, this chord of “G Major.” For this chord we will target the root and the 5th. The root of “G Major” is “G” and the 5th of this chord is the note of “D.”

The “IV-Chord” 
The fourth chord of the key of "G Major" scales harmony is the chord of “C Major.” For this chord we’re going to target into the 3rd chord tone along with that chord’s Root.

This gives us the chord tones of “C” for the Root along with an “E” note for the 3rd chord tone.

The “V-Chord”
Finally, when it comes to the “V-Chord,” of “D Major,” we’re going to focus on the "D" chord’s major 3rd tone of “F#” along with the "D" chord’s root note of “D.”

The primary idea that we’re trying to pursue when it comes to "chord tone targeting" is to be able to form a series of short melodies that target the chord tones of each of the chords used across the progression.

It might sound complicated, but once you get a handle on this, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to do than you might think. Let me run through an example of how this works.

STEP 5). Composing Targeted Melodic Lines
First, let’s check out a melody that I created which targets the chord tones I had mentioned earlier. Here’s how that melody functions.

4th Position Melodic Phrase:

Watch the video clip of this melodies 4th position performance:

In that example, you can tell how all of the chord tone targeting concepts were put into play. On the first measure’s “G Major” chord I started off on the 5th of “D” and played through the scale ending on that chord’s root of “G.”

On the “C Major” chord (in measure two), I started out on that chord’s 3rd chord tone of “E” and ended up on the root of that chord, “C.”

In the third measure, I re-played the “G” chord’s melody from measure one, and in the final measure, I performed over the “D Major” chord by first opening up on the 3rd chord tone of “F#” and then I played through some scale tones finally resolving into the root note of; “D.”

9th Position Melodic Phrase:Next, let's get organized with the layout of our “G Major” scale melody up higher on the neck in the 9th position.

In the 9th position of the neck, we'll be playing through this melody (note for note with unison notes), up in the 9th position of the fret-board.

Watch the video clip of this melodies 9th position performance

As you can tell, this exercise allows a guitarist to learn how to jam out on one of the most complex areas of performing, which are the topics of; composing and then eventually improvising.

However, if we use the concept of “Chord Tone Targeting” approach and learn how to phrase into specific chord tones, (like the; Root, 3rd and the 5th), what we will discover is that the more we do this, the easier it’ll become.

A musicians mind enjoys creativity and when information is well practiced, a musician can simply allow their sub-conscious take over and play musical thought naturally.

In the end, it’s a lot like learning how to ride a bicycle. We don’t fully comprehend what it is that gets us to be able to discover how to do the balancing act involved with propelling us forward on a bicycle, (that part happens unconsciously).

But, there is a lot of conscious training involved with getting there. And, learning how to compose and improvise is very similar. You start out in a very conscious way, and before ya know it, you’re creating beautiful sounding melodies out of nowhere, and you can’t exactly explain - how you did it.



Join Now

Guitar Chords | F Chord | Guitar Notes | G Chord | C Chord | D Chord | Guitar String Notes

This is the FASTEST Way to EXCELLENT Guitar Playing!

Would you like to build your way up to guitar excellence, and do it faster than ever before? Then you need to stop focusing on only doing "random" guitar practice, because random practice tends to be highly unfocused which leads to a lack of musical growth or even stagnation... 

In this discussion, I’m going to show you how to build a more strategic form of guitar practice. The approach that I have for you is a professional level practice routine that turns your guitar study time into a period of both musical exploration and musical variation.

If you apply the systems that I cover in this video, what you'll discover is that you will begin to turn your guitar exercise periods into a time of constant technical growth, musical expansion and overall playing improvement.

This will cause a positive shift to how you study guitar and this change will start a ripple effect of even more positive steps occurring in your playing as time goes on.


Making a change like this in your practice approach will create motivating results in you that will quickly start to cause a number of major differences to occur in your level of your skill, as well as, in your attitude toward music and practice.

In this discussion I want to tell you how to use a practice philosophy to get your guitar playing up to an excellent level a lot faster. And, it doesn’t necessarily involve you spending more time, or working for longer periods.

Many of you guys know, that I’m a fan of putting in as much practice time as possible rehearsing material. But, we also know - that’s just one department of effectively practicing guitar.

There are a lot of other parts involved with getting up to a level of excellence in your playing. And, what I’m going to tell you here, is that you’re going to want to organize the hours with; a refined approach.

This will involve creating both a scheduling system and study routine that highly leverages your exposure to new material. And, I’m going to tell you the reason for this change next.

If you’re only spending your time doing guitar practice - working against the clock, just focusing on jamming – then you’re probably not getting enough out of it.

That type of practice means that you’re going to miss out on a lot of the benefits that a more sophisticated practice approach will be able to offer.

What I mean by a "Refined Practice Approach," is instead of just thinking in terms of grabbing your guitar and playing - whatever - you’re practice session should instead get broken into segments.

Segmented Practice Work Pyramid:

These "segments" should follow an order that will move your studies from the most basic of practice, (like guitar technique and other non-musical studies), into more serious academic study, (like music theory and building on your musical skills).

From there, you can head into some fun academic stuff, (like transcribing songs to better develop your ear for music).

And after that, leave yourself open to options of going into either Jamming and Soloing, maybe some Recording /some lead playing.

Also, if you’d prefer, you could set aside to work on some song writing and compositional ideas including home recording.

If you approach your practice time this way, you’ll develop a system for how you use your time and end up helping to spend more time on practicing guitar across a wider scope of topics - without sacrificing important areas of musicianship that are so often neglected by a lot of guitar students.

Whenever you’re practicing, and whatever it is that you’re practicing, you can always benefit more from using a practice schedule.

I’ve talked about the value in using practice schedules in the past, but most students abandon schedules that they make because they try to push themselves through one of these new schedules using too many days of the week.

it’s almost impossible for a guitar player to go form no schedule to a 7 day cycle.

My suggestion is to establish a four day practice routine. And, make at least 3 different schedules that will cover your different academic areas.

Have a schedule for your Academic material, your Jamming and Soloing work. And, for your, Composing and Recording topics.

Start with those, establish time frames you’ll work in, (I’d probably try and stick to 15 min. time frames) and of course plan out breaks so that you can walk away from your studies for a few minutes and clear your mind.

Practice Schedule Example:

With a study approach like this, you’ll get more done and cover tons of variation for what you’re studying through the four day practice cycle.

Over time, you can even extend it to 5 days. But, always take a few days off each week from this intense practice cycle to keep yourself better motivated.

The last area I want to get into for this discussion involves committing yourself to increased exposure across a more varied selection of musical ideas.

I can’t stress enough how important that it is to stretch yourself as a musician and to learn new musical topics, new styles, learn about new artists, learn about music history, and learn new theory concepts.

Most of all, when you branch out and offer yourself greater exposure, then eventually get all the stuff integrated, (as a regular part of your musical life), you'll find that your awareness and motivation rise as well.

Practice Exposure Chart:

Back when I was at Music School, one of my teachers broke this topic of exposure down into sections where 50% of new exposure should be dedicated to learning about how to perform in new or unfamiliar musical styles.

Especially music styles that you may not have much interest in. So, for example if you hate Reggae, or Country music, don’t let that stop you. Study a couple of Bob Marley or Garth Brooks songs anyway. You will always get something out of it guaranteed.

The study of any unfamiliar music or playing style will always allow you to take away something new from the experience. And, this applies to every type of music.

What you'll discover form your first experience with this, is that it's almost guaranteed that every new exposure experience will introduce something to you that you didn’t know about or understand before. And, that’s the most important part with respect to exposure.

Also, divide around 25% of your time toward studying as much as you can learn about "Famous Artists" and musical history too.

You’ll learn things in doing that type of work which will really motivate you. And, last but not least we can’t forget learning new music theory principles. That work really expands your ability to not only compose music better but also to perform music a lot better due to increased musical and artistic flexibility.



Join Now

Guitar Chords | F Chord | Guitar Notes | G Chord | C Chord | D Chord | Guitar String Notes