You Will Never Scramble for Notes After You See This...

Are you tired of feeling like you're scrambling for the "right" notes? Does what you're playing often sound "wrong" for some reason you can't quite explain? If you answered yes to either of those questions, then you're not alone. The missing link to mastering note sound and location is in this lesson...

The study of relocating guitar riffs, licks and chords is done to increase mobility and expand upon, (plus improve upon) the sound quality of every musical phrase on guitar.

If you don't do this, you'll be scrambling around the guitar trying to play ideas using guess-work instead of using fret-board logic.

This "note relocation" practice concept is one area that you'll never want to neglect. Altering the location of a phrase or chord helps a guitar player to gain a much deeper understanding for how ideas might improve.

And, all it comes down to is changing the location of musical ideas on the fingerboard.


There is a big difference between the lower strings played high on the neck and thin upper strings played down near the head-stock. 

It has to do with the effects of warmer or brighter guitar tone. If you learn how to control this area your skill for manipulating sound will be at a whole new level.

In this lesson, I’m going to show you exactly how all of this works, and I'll tell you what to focus on instead if you going at it aimlessly. Without a plan, all you have is attempting to find phrases by scrambling all over the neck with absolutely no focus.

Let me ask you a question, how many times has this happened… you’re working on an idea, and you more or less understand the note locations for it, but it just seems like there must be a better option for playing the notes.

It could be related to the sound of where the notes are on the guitar. Or, maybe it's related to what you’re playing, (it may not exactly sound correct when compared to the original music’s recording).

For most guitar players, this can be a really frustrating idea that leaves you feeling like you’re scrambling for the correct notes or chords that you think you hear in a melody (or a rhythm guitar part).

What you’re playing might sound "kind of alright," but the way that everything is sitting on the neck just somehow seems like it’s mishandled.

The best solution to this problem is to practice reorganizing the notes and thus the note fingerings of whatever it is that you’re playing and practicing.

The easiest way to accomplish this is to plan out the notes along the span of the fingerboard in two ways.

The first way you can reorganize notes is to link up with other octave locations of the notes. And, the second thing is to consider the fret-board range by planning out at least two different locations that you could have for the layout of any part that you’re working on.

Let’s try this with a simple guitar lick example. First, we’re going to learn our example lick – it’s located at the 9th position of the neck.

Example Lick:
9th Position

Next, we’ll plan another option of where a new location of the example could exist.

We’ll begin by taking that first note of the lick and we’ll re-locate it from the 4th string over to the 3rd string.

Then, we’ll re-design the guitar lick so that it functions in a new range of the fingerboard.

Relocated Lick:
4th Position

Every time that you learn a new lick or a new chord progression, you should also plan out what the idea would be like if it was located in another area of the guitar’s fret-board.

Once we can organize our guitar ideas so that we’re working on more than one location of the neck, we’ll get the opportunity for testing out three important things…

(1). whether the new location sounds better.

(2). if new location has better fingerings.

(3). we’ll learn whether the new location sounds more realistic to the original recording.

As an example, if the original location we were in with our example lick wasn’t sounding bright enough we could re-locate the guitar part into a different location like the 2nd position

That way, we could get higher thinner strings involved allowing our part to sound a lot brighter, (as in the 4th position example shown above).

Sometimes the first few locations of where you’ll place a lick or a chord on the guitar, won’t sound “correct” in relationship to the original recorded version of the part... And, that’s why, another concept needs to be considered with this type of note training on guitar.

This concept revolves around getting a thicker, warmer sound for a guitar part when its placed up a lot higher on the fingerboard.

Here’s our original guitar lick re-located up in between the 9th and the 17th-frets…

High Register - Low Strings Example: 
14th Position

This approach is often the only way that our guitar ideas can take on a warmer effect to the sound. 

And, all of this has to do with how - when we play guitar chords and melodies up high on the fingerboard, there’s a shorter scale length of string, and we have a thicker diameter to the guitar string.

Those two things add up to affect the tone of any phrase (or chord pattern) that we play higher up on the neck. 

Think of it like this; the shorter the guitar string length is, (and the thicker the string’s diameter is), the warmer the sound will be when the notes get performed.

The final area that I want to discuss has to do with planning for how we can conduct each of our note re-locations along the guitar neck.

When we set out to organize any guitar part, we need to be sure that we take a moment to scan over the fret-board region that we're in and take notice of how the octave templates get organized for the region.

This process is directly related to the first note of the musical part being studied. Let me explain in more detail exactly what I mean.

Our previous location that we were working out this guitar lick within had us organized between the 9th and the 17th frets.

If we establish an octave template view - organized off of the previous licks first note – we’d end up with this as a template on the guitar.

Then, if we were to apply the octave templates down lower across the fingerboard, we could organize another octave template on the neck from between the 7th to the 12th frets situated like this.

The cool thing about doing this is that we can use the fret-board octave layouts to determine how we reorganize the guitar parts that we’re studying, (this way our guitar licks can exist in more than one area).

Here’s a re-vamped version of our previous guitar lick, using both octave regions.

As you can tell, developing the skill for learning more than one way to perform a; riff, a lick or a chord progression will have subtle, but yet really important consequences to sound.

If you don’t know how to do this, you’ll often feel like you’re scrambling to understand every new guitar idea that you’re practicing.

Whether it’s; notes, note locations, or the effects of string length and diameter, it’s always important to test different fret-board locations when you’re learning each new guitar part.

Not only will you learn more about your fingerboard, but your ear will start to better recognize what musical lines sound like as they relocate all over the span of the neck.



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