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I am learning different scales and notes on the fret board using the white dots(marker) that's placed on 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th and so on, on my guitar.

Now when exercising I am locating a note using the relative position of the neighboring white spot. But, this seems bad to me. Because, if I use capo or any other tuning the notes are gonna change their relative position.

  • So, is it a bad idea to memorize note's position using this static markings on the fret board?

  • I have seen a lot of good acoustic guitars having this marking and lot who doesn't have. So, which is the standard one?

  • Most high profile acoustic guitarist plays guitar that doesn't have this markings. So, what one is better? Should or shouldn't I use this white spots to memorize notes?

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3 Answers

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I believe many other guitarists will agree that it becomes progressively easier to find notes and the absolute position of your hand on the instrument. For a beginner these markings are vital to develop this sense of location and you should exploit their potential. I don't think having them is a bad idea at all, you'll soon be bored of searching for them visually all the time and will become used to finding the notes.

I found that after some time playing scales and getting used to the overall "sound" of the notes it's almost second nature to know where I am in the fret. Today I feel confident enough to play a guitar with no markings at all. In fact I rarely need to look down at the fretboard.

This could be an exercise for you: for some minutes every practice avoid looking at the fretboard and think before you move your hand. Use the aural information and your memory to find your way and keep track of where you are.

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Very clean answer! Thank you! btw, I am a CS student too. :P –  iamcreasy Dec 1 '11 at 18:34
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It is fine - even when you are an expert, you will still use the markings on occasion. Excluding the occasional blind guitarist (they tend to use alternate methods) everyone looks at the fretboard occasionally - even Satriani, Vai etc

A beginner may look all the time, with more experience you may just find you need to look when carrying out a long slide, or are needing to put your fingers on at a high fret after doing something else.

It gets easier - you will use the markers less, but don't worry about it being a problem.

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There's absolutely nothing wrong with doing this; that's what the markings are for.

When playing with a capo, you just have to allow for the difference, and that too comes with practice.

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