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Lesson #16: Understanding what You're Playing

by Tyler de Witt posted on 1999-10-17
Topic: Fretboard Subtopic: General
Level: Intermediate Number of Readers: 73516

Understanding what you're playing

In order to get the most use out of many of the other lessons, it's important to have a good knowledge of the fretboard. Don't worry, I'm not going to be a jerk and make the rest of the lessons impossible to use if you don't know the notes on the fretboard. BUT, if you know your fretboard, it will make everything a whole lot easier.

I consider knowing all the notes on the fretboard to be a HUGE step in learning to play guitar. Many people never reach it. It's not something you can do over night, it takes a lot of time, but it's absolutely worth it. Think about it this way: if you could just play any sequence of notes anywhere on the fretboard and know what notes you just played, don't you think that would be a benefit? Don't you think it would help you understand what you're playing?

Knowledge of the fretbaord coupled with knowledge of music theory can make things so much clearer. After all, don't we all deep down inside want to understand what we're playing? If you can understand what you're playing, you can apply concepts in different ways, make discoveries, gain confidence, move in new directions, etc. You can basically teach yourself just by copying what music from various sources(radio, magazines, other players) analyzing it, then changing it and applying it. Since you understand it, you can see how it can be applied elsewhere.

For me, playing just isn't enough. Understanding what I'm playing gives me great satisfaction. Hopefully I can show you this understanding, and hopefully you will get satisfaction from it also.

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