Author: Barrett Tagliarino
I have said it before and I’ll say it again. Fretboard fluency is one of the most beneficial techniques you can gain on the guitar. Unfortunately, mastering this skill is usually hampered by two obstacles. The first is that a lot of guitarists have a hard time grasping it, believing it is too complex and requires too much theory and hard work. The second obstacle which in my opinion is the bigger problem, many just don’t believe that it can help you that much.
Mastering the fretboard is a bit like the chicken and egg. I’ll give my own example. I spent many years asking the same questions and looking for that ‘light bulb’ moment of sudden enlightenment, the big secret, and eventually came to the conclusion that some people have what it takes, some don’t and I’m one of them that don’t. A guitar teacher friend of mine used to tell me the same thing every time I asked him a question, “learn the notes, learn the fretboard.”
The thing is I just couldn’t see for the life of me how this can possibly relate to my problems and take me to the next level. This isn’t what I was looking for, there must be something else. Long story short, I spent years getting nowhere until one day I was playing around with the pentatonic positions trying to piece them together across the neck and I suddenly realised something, I had got better, much better. I was now looking for notes on the fretboard and not thinking so much about scale patterns.
This gave me a bit of a light bulb moment and so I explored it and took it further, everyday for a few months. In that time I was piecing many different ideas together, using the CAGED chords, scales, arpeggios, thinking about intervals etc, and tying them all together and thinking about how they relate to each other. I had my epiphany and my guitar playing did not stop getting better at a supercharged rate. Everything my friend told me was spot on, no matter how much I couldn’t see my lack of fretboard knowledge being my biggest obstacle, it was everything holding me back.
Hang on, why am I telling you all of this, isn’t this supposed to be about the book?
Well, it might not be so much about the Guitar Fretboard Workbook itself but it has everything to do with what the books about. The first review on Amazon by Steven Stathatos relates exactly to my experience, he gave up believing it wasn’t to be until he got the Guitar Fretboard Workbook.
I don’t own this book but it has some rave reviews and I will end up buying it, there’s plenty I still need to practice and brush up on in this area so this might be a great workbook for me.
The point I want to make here is it doesn’t matter what level you are at, what style you want to play or how much you can’t see fretboard knowledge helping you out, you must learn this stuff. Unless you’re guitar ambitions go no further than having a repertoire of campfire songs (nothing wrong with that) then you can’t fail to benefit from good fretboard knowledge, so judging by the reviews this book is probably a good choice to master this skill. If you are a beginner then this won’t be wasted on you but you’re probably better off waiting until you can play the basic chords and mess around with a few scales before this becomes important for you.