Guide by the Perplexed — Mind Over Method

gris guitar

Juan Gris, “Guitare sur une table,” from 1916, at Helly Nahmad. Credit via Helly Nahmad Gallery.

Pinterest thinks I’m interested in quick-and-dirty guitar:

“This article will show you the best method ever of how to efficiently learn and memorize the notes on a guitar neck in the shortest amount of time.”

I’ve seen the exact number of labeled guitar necks and chord diagrams I need to see.

My game is different: Not to memorize but to understand. It’s inefficient and rigorous and takes an unseemly “amount” of time. The notation is symbolic, not pictorial. Here’s C-major barred on fret 8, for example (there’s no capo where we’re going):

(6-8C)(5-10G)(4-10C)(3-9E)(2-8G)(1-8C)

Think index into an array if that helps. Notice the focus on note produced — string-fretNOTE — not finger placement. The chord’s anatomy is captured, not its fingering.

How surrender to the perplexed method may affect your playing is beyond my purview. The drills you do that matter most will be mental, not manual.

(c) 2019 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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