You are here

Fretboard Interval Recognition Practicality

Arrangement, instrumentation, lyric writing, music theory, inspiration… it’s all here.

Fretboard Interval Recognition Practicality

Postby BassFacer67 » Wed Apr 15, 2020 5:48 am

I have memorized the notes on the fretboard and I know all of the shapes for each mode of the major scale. I'm spending a lot of time memorizing the intervals at each position and am wondering if this is really what I should be focused on (doing this for both the 5 notes and 3 notes per string methods). My goal is to 1. become a great improviser, and move into playing jazz and 2. become a great songwriter. For the latter I'd like to develop a thorough understanding of how songs are composed so I can make my own.

Is knowing all of the intervals (i.e. 3rd forth fifths) across the fretboard 'fundamental' in progressing my understanding of the guitar and ability to move into advanced improvisation and more complex songwriting?
Is there another way I should be thinking of this than just memorizing these numbers at each position?
BassFacer67
Poster
Posts: 24
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2014 1:00 am

Re: Fretboard Interval Recognition Practicality

Postby GilesAnt » Wed Apr 15, 2020 2:35 pm

I'm no expert guitarist but whatever your instrument you need a certain technical facility before you can get very far with improvising. You need your fingers to move to the notes without you having to think about the mechanics too much. This takes practice.

I'm not sure you need to learn numbers in the way you seem to be suggesting. One of the beauties of the fretboard (unlike the keyboard) is that in theory you can move each chord shape to any fret - in other words once you learn one chord you can play the same chord one fret up and you have instantly learned another.

What you describe sounds eminently sensible as a way of starting to build this effortless movement. Keyboard players do something similar when they practice scales and arpeggios.

Obviously there is a lot more to improvising and composing than this. You say you know all the shapes for each mode of the major scale - do you mean each chord?
GilesAnt
Regular
Posts: 124
Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2003 1:00 am
 

Re: Fretboard Interval Recognition Practicality

Postby BJG145 » Wed Apr 15, 2020 2:41 pm

I'm sure chords, scales, arpeggios and intervals are all useful things to know and practice, but make sure you keep yourself interested and motivated in what you're doing. I only just discovered the world of arpeggios so I'm starting to make my way slowly through this lot.

https://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/guitar-arpeggios/
User avatar
BJG145
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4522
Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2005 12:00 am

Re: Fretboard Interval Recognition Practicality

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:11 pm

It works either way when you have enough experience, most Jazz players I know have extensive knowledge of chords, scales, arpeggios and modes and how they fit together. They can usually tell you exactly what they just did in terms of which scale/mode/arpegio over which chord/sequence but there are others who have just played enough to know what works and what doesn't. Django and the other gypsy jazz guys all learned to play by ear and probably never practiced scales or WHY they just played a lot and with a lot of other good players. All knowledge is good in this context but don't let it take the joy out of just playing.

What is useful regardless of what style you play is Giles' suggestion that you should be able to think of a note (I'd add sing it) and have your fingers go straight to it without hesitation.

In many ways improvising is easy (improvising well is another matter mind you) so, when this is all over, just get together with some other musicians and just play together taking turns to solo/improvise.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 13312
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Fretboard Interval Recognition Practicality

Postby BassFacer67 » Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:25 pm

GilesAnt wrote:I'm no expert guitarist but whatever your instrument you need a certain technical facility before you can get very far with improvising. You need your fingers to move to the notes without you having to think about the mechanics too much. This takes practice.

I'm not sure you need to learn numbers in the way you seem to be suggesting. One of the beauties of the fretboard (unlike the keyboard) is that in theory you can move each chord shape to any fret - in other words once you learn one chord you can play the same chord one fret up and you have instantly learned another.

What you describe sounds eminently sensible as a way of starting to build this effortless movement. Keyboard players do something similar when they practice scales and arpeggios.

Obviously there is a lot more to improvising and composing than this. You say you know all the shapes for each mode of the major scale - do you mean each chord?

I am referring to the physical shapes of in each position of the major scale rather than the chords. I understand how I can move the second scale shape into the first position and the major scale or ionian mode will then be dorian. I also know how to form a major, minor and 7th CAGED shapes across the board. I can further break these down into triad chords in each position. This has been helpful for playing different inversions/voicings of the same chord across the fretboard when playing along to songs, but it hasn't extremely helpful for improv study.

I will look more into arpeggios.

Has stacking triads been a key element in your learnings? It takes quite a bit of time to get down but I'm wondering if that be really worth focusing on given I have limited free time. For example, practice ascending sequences of individual triad notes as follows one position/register. Any thoughts? Thanks.

Major
R 3 5
2 4 6
3 5 7
4 6 R
5...
6...
7...
R...
BassFacer67
Poster
Posts: 24
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2014 1:00 am

Re: Fretboard Interval Recognition Practicality

Postby DC-Choppah » Wed Apr 15, 2020 9:59 pm

Yes, its fundamental for jazz.

Learn the intervals by ear (ear train so you can identify an interval by hearing it).

Learn the intervals on guitar so you can immediately play an interval from any string on any finger and jump to the right note. Learn the shapes and the feel. Its pretty easy.

http://www.fretjam.com/guitar-intervals-fretboard.html

Some say that intervalic playing is a very high form of pure music making.

It also helps you immediately learn altered chords and arppegios. If you want to flat the 13th, you just find the note in your chord that is a 6th above the root and drop it one fret. You see all of the chord notes as intervals immediately.

When I see players that have not learned their intervals, they voice a chord, and if I say, 'raise the 4th', they don't know which note is the 4th. :headbang:
User avatar
DC-Choppah
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1569
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:00 am
Location: MD, USA

Re: Fretboard Interval Recognition Practicality

Postby DC-Choppah » Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:06 pm

If you want a methodical way to learn this stuff worked out by a master of it:

https://www.guitartruth.com/tonenote/
User avatar
DC-Choppah
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1569
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:00 am
Location: MD, USA

Re: Fretboard Interval Recognition Practicality

Postby rzzz » Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:38 pm

Hi, I've been playing/teaching guitar for 50+ years - don't waste your time on playing endless scales/exercises instead of learning to express yourself.

Instead, learn melodies and experiment with how you might vary them. Don't be locked into the 'rules' - just play. And keep in mind, your 'groove' is your most precious thing. Learning/memorising jazz tunes and harmony is the fastest way to learn how to improvise. And listen to the greats and how they phrase stuff. They didn't learn by playing scales - they played music. Play music, not exercises.

Hope this helps.

rz
rzzz
New here
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:02 pm

Re: Fretboard Interval Recognition Practicality

Postby CS70 » Wed Apr 15, 2020 11:27 pm

BassFacer67 wrote:My goal is to 1. become a great improviser, and move into playing jazz and 2. become a great songwriter

...

Is there another way I should be thinking of this than just memorizing these numbers at each position?

There are many ways, but imho yours is as good as any.

To create new things, we need to stand on the shoulder of giants. Unfortunately, any road getting up there is fairly long. Each has detours, nice sights and dangers. At a certain moment, if keep traveling long enough, you will find a road less explored, and start making your own things.

That specific technical way is one of the many ways. It is only if you feel that you're losing motivation that you want to look for something else. But if anything, if you have the determination to do what you're doing and keeping at it, the chances are in your favor that you will end up somewhere worth being.

As for "great", it can be so stressful that prevents your from creating; or can be a good motivator. Again, different ways.
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6035
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Fretboard Interval Recognition Practicality

Postby shufflebeat » Thu Apr 16, 2020 12:09 am

Sam Spoons wrote:It works either way when you have enough experience, most Jazz players I know have extensive knowledge of chords, scales, arpeggios and modes and how they fit together. They can usually tell you exactly what they just did in terms of which scale/mode/arpegio over which chord/sequence but there are others who have just played enough to know what works and what doesn't.

This is also my observation.

rzzz wrote:Learning/memorising jazz tunes and harmony is the fastest way to learn how to improvise. And listen to the greats and how they phrase stuff. They didn't learn by playing scales - they played music.

All styles of Jazz, and I would suggest all types of music have in common the rules based framework and the individual variation within that framework.

People who explore their own playing eventually discover the rules of understanding that they share with others, based on the limitations of the central nervous system.

People who begin by studying the framework eventually find their own niche/voice within that structure depending on their memory of personal (sometimes vicarious) experience.

Most good musical communicators, including performers and teachers, maintain a balance between these aspects of music so that the student/listener is both reassured and intrigued.
shufflebeat
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5016
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 1:00 am
Location: Manchester, UK
"Dance, dance. wherever you may be, for I am the Lord of the damp settee..."

Do yourself a favour, wear earplugs at gigs.

Re: Fretboard Interval Recognition Practicality

Postby GilesAnt » Thu Apr 16, 2020 5:00 pm

Plenty of good advice here, but I will try to boil it down to three things which work for me, although I make no claim to expertise.

1. Learn your instrument, as you seem to be doing, so that your fingers move to chords, inversions etc and melodies without too much conscious thinking. You don't need to flog this to death with scales and arpeggios, but they do help with your training.

2. Play any published arrangements that you can get hold of - they may not exactly be the style you are aiming for but you will get familar with certain chord progressions, patterns, little tricks and other niceties.

3. Use your ears from listening to the masters, trying to copy them in a small way, and finding your own voice.

Importantly do these things all at the same time. Even if you are a beginner on your instrument you will find beginner jazz arrangements. And I was already listening to the greats as a beginner.

Finally don't be disappointed if you can't play like Django Reinhart or Joe Pass. Enjoy the pleasure of making music at whatever level you attain.
GilesAnt
Regular
Posts: 124
Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2003 1:00 am
 

Re: Fretboard Interval Recognition Practicality

Postby shufflebeat » Fri Apr 17, 2020 12:06 am

GilesAnt wrote:Finally don't be disappointed if you can't play like Django Reinhart or Joe Pass. Enjoy the pleasure of making music at whatever level you attain.

Small alternative take on this one - when listening to the greats, listen for the slight imperfections in their playing that shows they're human, then give yourself a break when you can't play like a machine.
shufflebeat
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5016
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 1:00 am
Location: Manchester, UK
"Dance, dance. wherever you may be, for I am the Lord of the damp settee..."

Do yourself a favour, wear earplugs at gigs.