Whenever I ask subscribers what they want to learn more of, there’s one big thing that pops up time and again…
The desire to truly learn, use, understand, and explore the fretboard.
We all know the benefits of doing so – more options, more freedom, more creativity.
…And ultimately more fun
Plus, it’s getting to the point of no longer being stuck playing on the first couple of frets.
After all, with all those frets at your mercy, it’s a real shame not to go exploring.
It reminds me of when I went travelling throughout Europe when I was 19.
It was me and my girlfriend at the time, Joanna.
We could have stayed at home, but we decided we would explore the world – at least a small part of it.
After a few months of saving up, we got a ferry from the east coast of England and went to the Netherlands.
From there, we went backpacking and travelling by train around Europe for months.
Before we went, we planned some stuff, like the general route we would take (which was a loose plan to head into Belgium and France, and then head south into Italy and Greece).
The planning before we went helped.
…But as soon as we were there, it was freewheeling fun.
We would wake up each day and decide where we would go next.
Go camping in Avignon or check out Biarritz? Head to a big city like Rome or go to a small coastal village first? Stuff like that.
It was so much fun.
That “free as a bird feeling” is very much like playing up and down the fretboard
I say that because with the fretboard, you want to be organised and methodical, but then have a tonne of fun without having to “think” too much about it.
I see and hear a lot about people learning the fretboard, overwhelming themselves, and then getting bored, lost, or not using what they learn.
As we all know, if you don’t use what you learn, you will forget it, which equals wasted time and usually having to start all over later on.
Over the years, I’ve taught students a few different ways to explore and learn the fretboard.
There is the “linear” approach of learning one string at a time, which works really well.
There is the “pattern” approach where you use different fretboard rules to find specific notes as taught in my Guitarists Get Theory book (again, that works really well).
…And there is the method I call “Fretboard Hopping” which I love.
It’s like the best of both of those other approaches.
It’s a method that I developed from reading a book by Joe Satriani.
In case you don’t know, Satriani is a shred-type guitarist, and in all honesty, I don’t listen to his music much (but I very much appreciate his musicianship).
Yet I must say, he knows a lot more about using the fretboard than most. (To play that “all guns blazing” style of ripping up and down requires intimate knowledge of the fretboard).
Anyway, the method I’ve developed from him is one I have simplified and I call “Fretboard Hopping”.
It’s a fun concept where we take one note (and it’s the note I believe to be the most useful on the guitar) and learn it everywhere on the fretboard on each of the six strings.
Then we add in some extra little layers to improve students’ timing and musicality and…
Finally, here’s where the fun really happens.
I then show students how to take all this and play a blazing, but simple riff all up and down the fretboard.
It’s the same riff played everywhere and if the student has completed step 1 properly, it requires little to no thinking to play it.
That’s because nothing changes with your fingers or what they play – only the starting point is different.
…And there’s no awkward mental gymnastics to get in the way.
In some ways, this is like back when I was travelling and each day we’d hop to a new and exciting destination without thinking too much about it.
The fretboard can be like that if you put in a little time.
You can take what I’ve mentioned here and start by choosing just one note and learning it all over the fretboard string by string.
I recommend you give that a go as a very first stepping stone on your fretboard travels.
…But if this idea excites you, then you might like to check out the new simple 5-part lesson in the Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy.
It’s a really fun lesson, where we take what can be a “heavy” subject and make it accessible to anyone.
If you’re the logical type who likes to make sense of what you learn, or you’re the creative type who just wants to jam (or if you’re like me and you’re a bit of both), this will be a great lesson to dive into.
Just to let you know, you have until Saturday night’s deadline to join the academy to get this lesson and join the other members in having fun with this.
The place to do so is below…
Keep exploring and happy travels on the fretboard!
P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.