I hate to admit this! My knowledge of the frets suck on command. I use octaves to find where I am. Trying to wrap my head around major and minor triads finding them all over the neck. This is like trying to find Where’s Waldo. I just have to take a deep dive into the pool of knowledge. This is a BIG PAIN IN THE A$$ but the freedom it will allow me will be worth the BS.
I need a break already. Mental gymnastics are not my forte atm.
Keep at it. There is no shortcut for this. You have to do it until you start seeing the notes in various places. Another way to do this is to learn the scale patterns and where the root notes are in the patterns. That will also tie into the CAGED system. It all fits together like a puzzle. You just have to spend the time to identify the parts and put it together.
I figure the Ancient Roman who invented the piano style keyboard was a frustrated guitar player who threw up his hands and said:
"This instrument is for the birds (you see what I did there). I'm gonna come up with an instrument that clearly identifies exactly which note is what. You won't have to contort your body and wrist to play it, your fingers won't need calluses, and you won't need to hold a pick or grow your fingernails long."
This brilliant invention took place in Ancient Rome, we know, because there is substantial mention of organs being played in the Roman world in the historical record.
And we know the Romans had a form of guitar, a seven-string instrument called a Cithara
, the word from which our word, 'guitar' was derived.
They had notation using letters, in fact, the same letters we use to name notes, though notation in similar form existed earlier. But I digress.
One day in Ancient Rome...
"Caius, what do you think of my new cithara?"
"Oh, it's nice, but the people in the Forum say that the citharae made by Quintus Bestatestus have better tone. Plus they come in a case instead of a gig bag."
"Oh, I disagree. I've played them. This one has a longer neck tenon. That's the source of its incredible sustain. Also, the tuning pegs are cooler and the top is made from the Cedars of Lebanon. And look at the back and sides - Carthaginian mahogany! His tops are made from the local Pines of Rome. So I mean, mine's better."
"Well, you might be right, Marcus. The inlays on the fretboard are cool; I like the bird motif. But I wouldn't know much about citharae any more. I've switched to keys. You always know where you are. It's so much easier!"
"Yes, but you can't strap it on at crotch height, look cool, or carry it around. Why, you need four or five slaves and an ox cart just to take it to a friend's villa for a jam!"
"True. I see that your band has its own ox cart now. But you can carry your citharae around. What do you need the ox cart for?"
"It's the only way we can get our tympanum player to the gig. He's a follower of Bacchus. Drinks a lot. We have to pick him up or he never shows. And we like having our logo on the sides. See? It says 'The Cantharidas'."
"Beetles? Ewww. That's a terrible name for a band."