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Leon Rodriquez Provides More ‘Fretboard Vision’ – Part 2



In this Jazz Guitar Today lesson, jazz guitarist Leon Rodriguez provides some additional ‘Fretboard Vision’.

“A guitar is something you can hold and love and it’s never going to bug you. But here’s the secret about the guitar – it’s defiant. It will never let you conquer it. The more you get involved with it, the more you realize how little you know. “– Les Paul

No truer words were ever spoken; and by the man who would know. The universally accepted master of the electric guitar. It is in that spirit that I share observations that I’ve discovered regarding that subject we last discussed; that is a Fretboard Vision. There are as many fretboard visions as there are guitarists.

Because each of us learns differently, let’s concentrate on what we all have in common. The fretboard itself. The substrate on which we all have to build on. Each of these is just another layer, one upon another. Another layer to turn on or off at will, as needed. Let’s expand on those naturals.

Last time we got together; we began this idea of a Fretboard Vision with visualizing the presence of the natural half-steps. Consider that those are 4 of the 7 natural notes (B-C, and E-F), conveniently in a ‘square”. OK. What about the other 3 natural notes? 
It stands to reason that the remaining 3 natural notes be a “triangle” D, G, and A. to complete the natural notes. These would be the white keys between the black keys each a whole step to the next natural or white key on the keyboard. 

Notice and remember that the D is on the lower string of the triangle string pair. No adjacent accidental. 

Another layer. Every guitarist would choose and use these layers uniquely, if at all. Let’s add one more layer regarding the naturals. When we first learned to tune up, 

We began by comparing the fretted notes on the 4th or 5th fret with the next higher string open, remember? Notice that frets 0/12 (open), 5 & 10 are all naturals. Most of you know this so bear with me. 

Remove them mentally. Now we have accidentals on all the other frets. OK. Let’s deal with that. 

Think in terms of fret pairs. Notice how the fret accidentals might fit together with the naturals like a “tab and slot”.

Two frets at a time is a reasonable size layer to memorize. A layer that will never change is certainly worth remembering.

Another analogy that my students like to use is the idea of ‘puzzle pieces’. ‘Tab and slot’ or ‘puzzle pieces’ either one will do the job. Naturals and accidentals, just like a keyboard. We just have to work a bit harder. Five 2-fret layers to add to your Fretboard Vision. Add a layer at your next practice. One layer upon another.

More on this on Volume II- Geometry.

Books and On-Line Private Lessons available at

Volume VIII Video & Book:Leon lectures and demonstrates the relationship between Diminished 7th chord to Dominant 7th chord demonstrating how to arrive at all 12 chromatic Dominant 7th’s chord in any position to give you 144 Dominant 7th’s chords across the 12 positions.

Understanding the symmetry within music theory and relaying it to the 6 X 12 matrix that is the fretboard, will give you a totally controllable vision of the fretboard. Notice the notes that touch the corners of these two “diamonds”. Four equidistant pointsaminor third apart is where it begins. Don’t miss this adventure into fretboard control. It’s a separate vision!

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