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The Fretboard Master
By: Peter Jones
Having been a guitar player for over 20 years, I am often amazed
at the number of guitarists that have never taken the time to
learn the notes on their fretboard. I have met guitar players
that gig on a regular basis, and yet are unable to find a C# on
the 3rd string, an A natural on the 4th string or an F natural
on any string! Little do they know that by learning this one
simple thing, their playing and enjoyment of the instrument will
increase ten fold!
It was while studying at the Guitar Institute in London that I
first realised that many players do not develop this part of
their playing. This realisation prompted me to want to find a
way that guitar players could learn this simple thing with the
minimum of effort. Some of them could play every guitar solo
Jimi Hendrix recorded, yet couldn't name one single note!
My feeling was that most guitar players just didn't want to
spend time on something that they felt wouldn't benefit them
that much. Unless their practice time resulted in them learning
a flash guitar lick they just didn't want to know. Always one
for a challenge, I decided it was my duty to show these poor
souls the light. How would I do that?
I decided to use my good friend, Paul, as a guinea pig. Although
he played quite well, he, like countless others, hadn't learnt
his fretboard. I asked him why. His reply went something like
this: "Why would I want to spend time learning the notes on the
fretboard when I could be working on a Jimi Hendrix solo? No,
it's not for me, it just seems like so much effort for nothing.
I'd rather learn a new chord shape or a hot guitar lick. I
honestly don't see the point."
Paul's response was pretty much the same as the other people I
asked. "Waste of time," one said. "I'll probably get round to it
one day," chirped another. Little did any of these people know,
familiarising themselves with their fretboard would not only
improve their guitar playing it would DRAMATICALLY improve their
musicianship!! I set to work on Paul.
I wrote out a diagram of the fretboard with 12 frets and 6
strings. I then wrote in all the notes and handed it to Paul.
"What do you want me to do with this?" he asked. "I want you to
learn it," I replied. "Take it home, study it, and then let me
give you a test." He wasn't overly keen on doing this, but I
managed to persuade him. I gave him two weeks to learn it all.
He placed the sheet into his guitar case and took it away with
It was actually three weeks later that I next saw Paul. "How did
you get on with the fretboard study,?" I asked him. "Ok," he
replied. "Right, let me test you." Paul took out his guitar and
placed it on his knee. "Ok, an easy one to start. Show me an A
on the 6th string." Paul thought for approx 15 to 20 seconds and
then successfully placed his finger on the 5th fret. I
congratulated him, "Well done" Let's try another. Show me where
to find an E flat on the 3rd string." Paul's face sank. He
thought about it, and then he thought some more, and then, he
played me......F sharp! I was disappointed. "Wrong! Let's try
another one. How about D on the 2nd string?" This is quite an
easy one, but once again, after some thought, Paul failed to
find D. "Ok, a C natural on the 3rd sring." Once again Paul
couldn't do it. I asked him why. "Well, I did try, but it is
just too mind numbingly boring. It'll take ages for me to learn
the whole neck," Paul complained. Now I couldn't let this go. It
wasn't a light hearted challenge any more. Paul was going to
learn the fretboard whether he liked it or not.
I set to work on an instructional booklet that would make
learning the fretboard easy and fun. I also knew that I had to
make it motivational and inspiring. I worked hard typing up the
study. In 5 days I had a rough copy. I printed it off and took
it round to Paul's house. "Not again," muttered Paul when I
handed him the booklet. "Just humour me, and give it one more
go," I pleaded. He reluctantly agreed. I didn't want to push my
luck too much, so I quickly left and wished him well.
Four days later there was a loud knock on my front door. "Ok,
ok," I yelled as I rushed to answer it. As I pulled open the
door, I found an extremely excited Paul with his guitar case in
hand. "Test me again," he demanded. He pushed past me to the
living room and opened up his case. "Go on, ask me any note on
any string." I sat down and called out G flat on the 3rd string.
The words had no sooner left my lips when Paul was on the 11th
fret playing me the requested note. "And another," my friend
requested confidently. "Ok, C sharp same string." Paul played
the C sharp. I then asked for a D on the 1st string, an F sharp
on the 2nd, a C on the 4th. Paul played each one without any
hesitation. "What do you think about that?" he asked smugly. Oh
no, I thought, I had created a monster!!!!
Paul then went on to play notes all over the neck, calling them
out as they sounded. I couldn't believe it, I knew my fretboard
study was good but I didn't expect these results. Paul was
delighted. He thanked me for the study, and also for encouraging
him to master his fretboard. He said he now knew what I had
meant when I told him how much this knowledge would improve his
playing. "That study is dynamite," he told me. Maybe he had a
Now, a few years down the line, I realise just how true Paul's
words were. The study IS dynamite. I have used it with many of
my students and they have all reported results that are equally
as impressive as Paul's. After much encouragement from my
students and friends, I have now decided to make it available
worldwide. For the small price of £5.00 (five pounds), you too
can experience what Paul did all those years ago, and also what
countless other people are experiencing today. If you are
serious about being a guitar player you really need to know your
fretboard. Visit our website at www.jack-sky.com for your copy
of this great ebook. You will not be disappointed.
Improve today - Grab the Fretboard Master!