Tag Archives: fretboard knowledge

5 Exercises That Will Boost Your Technique And Practice

The exercises that really improve your playing are usually not only developing one thing. You can be a lot more efficient by improving your guitar technique and also learn something about the fretboard, music theory, or rhythm when you practice.

In this video, I am going to give you 5 examples of exercises like that so that you can start making your practice more efficient. Some of these exercises are made so that you can work on them as a part of a technique practice routine to develop your skills, but others are more exploring what is there and some of the later ones I found that even if you go through them once slowly they really open up things for you and give you new ways of playing and exploring things.

#1 – Alt Picking exercises + Diatonic Chords:

This way of practicing is combining two very important techniques: Alternate picking which is the default approach for most melodies and diatonic chords which is one of the most important things to know about any key or scale. With alternate picking, I found that working on very difficult things to pick really helped me overall and the most tricky thing to alternate pick is probably one note per string patterns. But Instead of just running up and down the same arpeggio all day I often combined this with learning diatonic chords, especially Drop2 voicings. A basic example would be to play C major like this Exercise 1 but you could also challenge your music theory a bit more by doing this in Eb and then starting on the lowest available note Bb: Exercise 2 This exercise forces you to have a good overview of the diatonic chords, and you could take it even further and do E harmonic minor Exercise 3 For me, this was a great way to develop both my alternate picking, fretboard overview, and knowledge of diatonic chords. Notice that I included the diagrams because it is really important to think of the chords as one thing when you do this exercise.

#2 – Economy Picking and Phrasing Triads

This exercise is great for knowing the triads in a scale, but is also a technique that I use very often in my playing. There are a lot of structures that we play that have three notes and that are one note per string, especially triads, but also quartal arpeggios and shell-voicings. This way of playing them works really well for jazz lines because you have a melody that is the highest note in the triad and it is naturally accented and moving on top of the beat: C major from F major triad: and of course, you can work on stuff like this in a more challenging scale, for example, G melodic minor:

#3 – Music Theory and Drop2 Voicings in all keys

Another way to work on chord voicings and diatonic chords is to take a common chord progression and work it out through all 12 keys. For example: Let’s say that I want to play a turnaround like Cmaj7 A7(b9) Dm7 G7(9) and then take that through some keys staying in the same area of the neck.

#4 – Fretboard Overview – Extreme visualization

With the two first exercises you are working along the neck and you are using your ability to see arpeggio shapes along the neck using your knowledge of the key or scale. But you could also take another structure that you move where you really use your overview of the fretboard to see the pattern move up the neck. An example could be playing diatonic quartal arpeggios in different keys: So playing this exercise is a way to tap into your overview of the C major scale by moving a pattern up note-for-note, similar to this: And you should try to see that as notes moving up along the fretboard in the scale like this:  

#5 – Position Workout – Chords and Arpeggios

A great way to turn exercises into a way of creating new material is to design them directly on songs. In the exercise below I am taking the first 8 bars of Stella By Starlight and practicing the arpeggio from the 3rd of each chord. This way of practicing helps you:

  • Practice material that you can use on the song
  • Learn the song better
  • Get a better overview of the chords in the song

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You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

The Music Theory You Need to Focus on First

Most of the time the one thing that holds you back from really understanding Music Theory or using an idea on several different chords is a really simple part of what is going on.

A big part of what having a good overview of music theory is to be able to think in different layers. You can think of the notes you play as individual notes but also as groups of notes like arpeggios, scales or other melodic ideas. But you need the basic overview of the material to be able to do this.


0:00 Intro – The Basics Are What is Holding You Back

0:21 Three Layers of understanding what is going on

0:37 High-Level Tricks with no foundation.

1:14 Learning the instrument and tying it to Music Theory

1:50 #1 Using Other Arpeggios Over A Chord

2:35 How To Relate an upper-structure to a root note

3:09 Analysis of “The Fake Michael Brecker Lick”

3:39 Build your options from knowing what it is.

3:56 Exploring diatonic sus4 triads

4:26 #2 Pentatonics Over Extended Chords

4:54 Bm Pentatonic over Cmaj7

5:24 How Theory Can Help You Use this better.

6:03 #3 Understanding How Chord Progressions Move

6:25 Fm6-Cmaj7 example

7:01 Voice-leading and how you use it.

7:56 #4 How Do You Learn This?

8:14 Not when you solo, but maybe in on the Bus?

8:47 Connecting different types of information

9:05 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

Connect Music Theory with Fretboard Knowledge

A very big part of studying this is to also work on your overview of the Fretboard.

You can check this out here:

Do This To Improve Your Fretboard Knowledge

Fretboard Visualization That makes musical sense for Jazz Guitar

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Fretboard Visualization – How To Develop A Complete Overview

Using limitations to check and develop your Fretboard Knowledge.

In this video I am going to go over a way to practice that teaches you how to find material and use it everywhere on the neck when you are improvising. One thing is to practice all the things you need like scales and arpeggios in all positions. You also have to make sure that you get it to a point where you can use it in music. And ironically the best way to become free all over the neck is it to limit yourself to limit yourself to one position while playing a song.

For me this was an essential way of building my ability to move around the fretboard freely. I have, by now, spend a lot of time with this and still keep coming back to it to work out a bit on tunes I am studying. You can always find new things here and develop further.


0:00 Intro

0:22 Limit Yourself to remove your limitations

0:53 The Exercise – Practice to be Practical

1:28 The Four step process

1:51 #1 The Song/Progression

2:35 #2 Choose the Position

3:08 Be realistic and practical with position playing

3:14 Prepatory Exercises

4:33 Think in Long term goals

5:03 #3 Playing the Song

5:42 Solving problems you come across

5:57 How to Look for basic material

6:44 Be Practical!

7:54 #4 Creating Variations and New Material

8:43 Practicing while making music

9:00 Improvising only with Scale Movement

9:45 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

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If you want to download a Free E-book of 15 II Valt I licks then subscribe to my newsletter:

Jazz Guitar Insiders Facebook Group

Join 600+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

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Fretboard Visualization That makes musical sense for Jazz Guitar

Fretboard Visualization is the way I organize and visualize the notes on the neck. Which also reflects how I think about the notes and order them for improvising.

In a guitar solo a note is not just a note: It can be a chord tone, a passing tone or extension or even a chromatic passing note. The way I try to think about the notes on the guitar I try to take this into consideration and have a way of thinking that will help me solo and categorize the notes in a useful way.

List of Contents:

0:00 Intro — Fretboard Visualization for Jazz Guitar 

0:35 3 Layers of note priority 

0:43 Layer 1: The Chromatic scale 

1:16 Layer 2: The Key or the Scale 

2:02 Layer 3: The Chord and the Arpeggio 

2:24 Practical Example on a (very) simple song 

2:59 The Key of the song 

3:30 The Arpeggios of the Progression 

4:23 How to play all modes of all scales 

4:36 Practicing towards this way of thinking 

5:07 Seeing a Scale on the neck 

5:20 Learning Positions ( I use 7) 

6:07 Examples of Scale Positions 

6:19 Learn the scales and the notes in them! 

7:01 Connecting The Positions 

7:32 Learn the Arpeggios in the scales (Literally!) 

8:49 All Arpeggio notes in a position 

9:46 The advantages of this approach 

10:13 No Modes! Just Diatonic Arpeggios and subsets! 

11:54 Further Perspective on this approach and the next level 

12:36 What is your approach to view and organize the notes on the fingerboard 

13:36 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

How to practice your scales and why – String sets

When you first learn scales you start with positions, but once you play in positions you need to work on being free to change and move around on the neck. In this lesson I am going to cover some exercises that help you develop not only your overview of the notes but also your knowledge of the scale and the structures that are found in it.

Why you want to shift position while playing

The first way we learn scales is in a position, but for a lot of melodies it is a lot easier to shift position while playing, so we need to work on practicing scales so that we can make the position shift and keep the overview of the scales.

To demonstrate how some things are easier to play and phrase well when you move around on the neck I have made two ways to play a line in example 1.

The first one is using the same sort of triad shape for the whole line and can easily be picked with a repeating right hand figure as well. The same lick  played in a position is much more difficult to execute and the phrasing does not in the same way flow by itself.

The approach and some basic exercises

I already made a lesson on how you can practice your scales in positions and learn not only the visual shape but also the name of the notes and the notes in the scale. You can check out this lesson here: How to practice your scales and why – Positions

I assume that you know your positions. If you don’t know the notes in each of the major scales then you can practice it with these exercises. You need to know some theory to have the overview, but without that theory the overview of the neck is also a bit useless.

I am going to use a similar approach here. It is important that you learn the notes on the neck, but it is equally important that you build a knowledge of what notes are in the scales and when you improvise and compose with the scale you also need a strong knowledge of the structures it contains like triads and diatonic 7th chords.

The first exercise is to play the scale on one string. This is something that is not about technique or speed, it is about knowing the notes so that you can find the notes on the neck and  that you know what notes are in the scale.


So this is an exercise that you should work through slowly and on all strings, you probably need it more to check how easy it is and don’t worry about playing it at high speeds etc.

The second exercise is to start to connect the different positions that you use. In this lesson I am assuming that you already know the positions and have some sort of overview of the scales in terms of the notes.

The exercise is really simple, we just play a 6 note chunk of a position and then we shift that up the strings. In example 3  I have written out that exercise on the D and G strings.

I guess this exercise is not something you have to work out and learn by heart, it’s more about practising to think ahead and keeping enough overview to see what you have to play in the next position.

Diatonic triads and arpeggios along the neck

So if you can already connect the positions and know the notes of the scale. Then we can start making exercises where you use your overview to learn moving arppegios up a string set.

You should notice that I on purpose decided not to name the arpeggios in my example, you should be able to recognize them and it is a useful exercise to just go over them and figure out what notes are played and what arpeggio they form.

The first exercise is to play the diatonic triads of the C major scale. I start on the F major triad because that is the lowest one on this string set. I then just move up through the scale and play the diatonic triads. Playing this sort of exercise should  help you develop a practical knowledge of the diatonic triads and the order of the diatonic triads.

If we take the triads from example 4 and add a 7th then we have this exercise shown in example 5.

If you can describe the way you play an arpeggio with the number of notes per string. That would mean that example 5 here above is a 1-1-2.

You can play other versions as well, here is a 2-1-1 on the A D and G strings.

And finally there is a 1-2-1 fingering on the top string set.

You can of course also explore 1-1-1-1 and 2-2 or even more exotic things like 3-1, they are all interesting to try out and see what might work for you!

I hope you can use the information and exercises I went over here to work on getting a better knowledge of the scale and more freedom in your playing so that you can take advantage of some of the thing that work really well on guitar and are easier to play and phrase.

If you want to study the examples away from the video or article you can download a pdf here:

How to practice your scales and why – String sets

If you want to learn how I put arppegios, chords and reharmonizations together then check out this WebStore Lesson:

There will never be another you – Reharmonization Solo

I also made a video demonstrating how some of the exercises can be used in lines:

If you want to download a pdf of these lines you can do so hear:

3 licks changing positions

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please feel free to leave on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you want to hear.

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