Part of developing your music reading abilities will require that you make a study of several important “reading areas” across your guitar fingerboard. Along with that, there is also the study of transferring a melody from one location on the neck over to another. Both of these principles go hand in hand. This lesson uses a simple music reading melody to help you start developing this skill…
Q: Hi Andrew, I’ve just watched all of your Music Reading video lessons (the free ones on YouTube), and I have a question… is there a way to easily take a melody and place that same melody over to another area of the guitar neck. Is there a method to this, or will I need to spend years practicing music reading to do this easily.
I really want to know my neck and have anything I’m reading sound like it is very natural – almost improvised. What should I practice aside from pieces of music to really get good at reading all over the neck?
Thank you – Nikolai in Bulgaria
A: It pretty much goes without saying that music reading on the guitar neck all starts with developing an understanding for how and where the notes sit upon the guitar neck and how those notes relate to the music staff.
For most students of the instrument, this understanding will commonly begin by way of initially learning all of the natural note locations that are situated within the open-position up through to the fifth position (including memorizing what those notes look like on a music staff).
The “C” Major Scale Staff to Neck (from open strings to 3rd-fret):
At the earliest out-set of our music reading studies, we will generally learn how to read our note locations in the open-position.
However, to become a truly effective music reader, we also need to understand how exact same notes on the guitar (unison tones), can exist within several other fingerboard positions of the guitar neck.
This type of practice is generally referred to as; “Relocating a Guitar Melody.” And, it is without any doubt some of the most effective music reading practice that we can do when perfecting our ability to read music on the guitar.
The “C” Major Scale Staff to Neck (from third fret of 5th-string):
After learning how the notes operate for reading music all across the lower region of the neck, (from the open to the 5th position), music reading students will benefit greatly from the study of higher fret-board reading positions such as the; 7th, the 9th as well as, the 12th positions.
In order to gain a solid understanding of the guitar fingerboard for music reading, guitar students will need to take the “relocating” of their melodies even further.
This is best done by learning to comprehend the various scale patterns that relate to how note and fingering locations might change along the neck.
Since music can be written in different key signatures (and keys relate to a guitarists scale patterns on the neck), guitar players need to study how to accommodate other scales and eventually accidentals (sharps and flats) by way of their scale patterns.
This all begins by first learning to play through a melody in one region of the neck while understanding the scale pattern(s) and the relationship to the key signature. Then, we can quite easily re-locate the music reading process (for any melodic idea) over into other fret-board regions.
If you have never studied this, it might seem rather complex. However, after you have practiced relocating a number of melodies into several other fingerboard positions, you will come to realize that it is not a very difficult task after all.