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.



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