Jeremy stinkerhubbin
Hello! For multiple years, I've encountered a pitfall in my playing particularly when it comes to soloing and improvisation. Namely, navigating the fretboard.

The issue is, while I know the fretboard, I don't know the fretboard. For instance, ask me to find an F# on any given string and I have no issue finding it. The problem is, doing it on the fly. Ask me what notes are making up an F#m triad and I'm going to pause for a moment to think.

I understand chord tones, triads, passing tones and the like decently, but I often find myself taking pause to get to certain areas. That, or my playing sounds too deliberate, boring and robotic vs the "raw" sound I get when I improvise without much regard to where on the scale I'm playing. I may even find something neat by accident.

I'm ultimately dissatisfied with my ability, or rather my inability, to navigate the fretboard efficiently and sensibly while retaining the feel that I desire. For the past two decades, I've been navigating more by shape than anything else and feel like I've stunted my growth on the instrument.

I've tried exercises where I challenge myself to navigate instantly to a given note on each string and find each octave and the same with identifying at a glance what notes I'm playing in a given chord. My long term memory however doesn't seem to be digging this much and I can't seem to hold onto it.

Hope I'm making some kind of sense..

Any tips for overcoming this?

Thanks!
 
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caustix
Good question! 🙂 
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dja515
Very interesting. Wish I had some feedback for you but I just started playing guitar this year. 35yo married dad with 2 young kids. So I often get to pickup the guitar two or three times a week. At this point everything is still new and exciting to me. But I can totally understand what your are trying to accomplish. Wish you the best and I hope someone in here with more experience can provide you some positive feedback/ tips. 
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tanner_barnett
Hey Jeremy.
I might have something that can help. When soloing and improvising, I'm usually navigating by the number that chord/triad is in the context of the key you're in. (Being in the key of C major would make your C chord the I and the Am chord the vi) It requires some theory knowledge but it helps me. I'll practice by finding all the chords that fit into a key by shape, not name. Start with your A minor pentatonic shape. That will be in the key of C. Then find the shapes around that area and focus on the shapes bc you can move it around the neck and the rules still apply. Example, in the Am pentatonic shape, the Dm will be a ii chord in the context of C major. That shape will always be a ii in that shape when you move keys as well. Tyler also has a video some on the pillars of improv. Make sure to practice your ear training and riff vocab! Hope that helps. Keep shredding
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