Today, I want to talk about a fun little exercise that will help you play a famous song and develop your fretboard skills.

First, though, let’s talk about something that fills some guitarists with horror.

Reading music.


Some people swear by it.

…And some say you must learn to read music to be a “proper” musician.


Years ago, I did a post on my Guitar Domination blog where I asked a bunch of guitar tutors for their #1 guitar playing tip.

One chap said how important it is to read music.

The most important thing ever, he said.

Do you agree?


Most people don’t.

For me, reading music is definitely not the most important skill.

Sure, reading music can be very useful, but developing your “Core Fundamental Technique”, building a repertoire of good songs, and getting a clear plan to help you on your journey is more important (the “5-Star” Award in my membership massively helps with this).


One very big benefit of learning to read music is that it will help you learn the fretboard.

Because to read music, you need to be able to study the musical “stave”…

Know which notes are located on which lines…

…And then be able to find those notes on the fretboard.


On the flip side, many guitarists only ever use TAB.

The problem with TAB is that it tells you the numbers and not the notes.

When reading TAB, you only need to look at the lines and numbers, and voila, you get the string and fret.

So should you learn to read music?

Well, that is up to you and it is not necessary to be a superb guitarist (many pros can’t read music).


…But I want to give you an exercise that is like a powerful middle ground between reading music and reading TAB.

It will test your fretboard knowledge.

It will help you find the notes on the guitar.

And it will “connect the dots”, making you a better musician.

I like to do this exercise using real tunes.

Famous music and NOT boring exercises.


This exercise is something I’ve been using more with students recently and they’ve been seeing big benefits with it.

Yet you do not have to read one single note off the musical “stave” and you do not even need to be able to read TAB to use it.

It’s an exercise that I’ve never really seen anyone else teach.

Although the Joe Satriani book Guitar Secrets (which is a very good intermediate book) touches on this idea once or twice.


…And as it happens, today, I’ve released the new Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy lessons.

In one of the shorter lessons, I’m unveiling this technique.

So, if reading music fills you with horror but you want to learn the fretboard, be a more skilful musician, and learn how to “unlock” your ability to play up and down the neck while playing real music, then check it out.

It is a very short lesson that you can begin with in seconds, and it comes with a little guide to help you if you get stuck.

Most of all, it’s a good, fun little challenge.

The deadline to get this lesson and the other new lessons is at midnight tonight, Pacific time.


You can find out more about the Academy below…

The Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy

Being able to know, apply, and jam up and down the fretboard is a great skill to develop.


Keep at it and have a great day of practice.

Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


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.

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