Neck as numbers

Visualising the fretboard always seemed like an impossible idea that only the naturally gifted ‘got’. To that end, I often avoided trying to learn to see the guitar neck that way. But this week, I believe I’m slowly getting it – and I’m certainly no pro.

Dan has told me on a number of occasions, “Songs should be seen as a series of numbers”. After figuring out the chords to a few songs this week for homework, I’m beginning to slowly understand what he truly means.

Try playing chords from a major scale and think, “I…V…III…IV” as you change chords; notice where the root notes (of each chord) are. It is so much easier to remember that III is two down from VI than it is to remember – within the speed on a chord change, no less – that E is two down from G (based on the C major scale).

Even as I write this, I’m automatically visualising that if I were to hit those two notes alone, I would do so with my index, then pinky.

The idea of numbers is, indeed, slowly sinking in.


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