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 Finding notes in the Classic tuning 
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Post Finding notes in the Classic tuning
Hi Everyone,

I get a lot of questions from students about how to find notes on the board, so I though this might help some of you who use the Classic tuning. Much of the inspiration for it comes from Emmett's own Free Hands book, where the wonders of Touchboard geometry were first brought to light. The Matched Reciprocal tuning seems easier to me to identify from the nut and octave nodes, more like a guitar fretboard.

Any suggestions, complaints or observations are always more than welcome.

--------------------------------------------
FINDING NOTES ON THE CLASSIC™ TUNING
a few tips from Greg Howard

Sometimes students ask me how to find notes more easily on the Stick. Often, they are used to counting up from the nut to find notes if they are coming from a guitar or bass background. If they are coming from keyboard, then they are used to seeing black and white keys.

From my perspective, The Stick is best viewed as a two-dimensional surface with reference only to the pattern of inlays and the grid of string and frets that overlays it.

Looking at the fretboard this way, I find the Classic tuning the easiest to navigate in terms of pitches and their relationship to the inlay markers.

Here are four charts that show the 10-string Classic tuning. The first shows how the bass strings at the first and second inlay markers are the same pitches as the melody strings at the third and fourth inlay markers.

Image

These are common playing areas of both string sets, with the left hand usually playing just below and just above this range on the bass strings and the right hand playing just below and just above this range on the melody strings, much of the time.

This second chart shows a the pattern of E minor pentatonic. Note how the patterns of notes have the same relationship to the inlays on both sets of strings.

Image

This third chart shows the notes in a C major scale (or A minor scale) on both sets of strings, extending just beyond the fret range for the E minor pentatonic pattern we had in diagram #2.

Image

The last chart show the most important visual relationship for the geometry of 4ths and inverted 5ths, the unison/octave triangle. Notice how any given pitch offsets by one string as you move five frets in either direction. With linear inlays especially, this relationship is easy to see, as each note is clearly visible in relation to the fret where the inlay lies, instead of a point in the center of the board. Hint, if you don't have linear inlays, you can create your own using violin fingerboard tape

Image

Initially, you don't need to learn all of the notes on all of the strings. For example, if you learn the lowest three bass strings and then the octave shapes, then you can easily name the notes on the higher bass strings.

Another strategy is to learn all the notes at a given group of frets, and then shift them up and down the board by five frets.

Melody fret 10: C, G, D, A, E (and bass X fret on 36" scale Sticks)
Melody fret 12: D, A, E, B, F# (and bass fret 2)
Melody fret 13: Eb, Bb, F, C, G (this one is really important to know on the melody, I think)
Melody fret 15: F, C, G, D, A (and bass fret 5, probably the most important bass fret to know by heart beyond the inlays)

with the unison/octave triangles, you can easily find other notes outside of this six fret span.

FOR GRAND STICK
The same general principles apply to the Grand Stick tuning, the inlays match up, but there is an extra string at the end of each sequence, a low melody string and a high bass string.

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Last edited by greg on Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:04 pm
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Post Re: Finding notes in the Classic tuning
This is VERY helpful. (Also reminds me to go back to Emmett's book...)

Greg, you also might mention the tip you gave me, as someone who has dot inlays on my board as opposed to linear inlays. (Fingerboard tape is currently on its way!)

Is there any way to print these charts? (I've done a "Save image as..." already but I was wondering about printing directly off the page.)

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Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:45 pm
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Post Re: Finding notes in the Classic tuning
Shifting from dot inlays to linear inlays was weird at first. Also I went from a dark instrument with light inlays to a light instrument with dark inlays. The first time I played out in a bar,after getting the new Stick, I realized how much I relied on the inlays. the dark linear inlays on the lighter wood just weren't as visible.

The fix...small strips of reflective tape on the visible side of the frets(from the player's perspective) where each of the inlays occur. A pain to put on with the strings in the way, but I didn't want to take the time to remove and replace the strings.

what about alternating light and dark woods on the fret board to look like the keys of a piano? Just kidding.

Mike

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Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:25 pm
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Post Re: Finding notes in the Classic tuning
mike kemp wrote:
Shifting from dot inlays to linear inlays was weird at first. Also I went from a dark instrument with light inlays to a light instrument with dark inlays. The first time I played out in a bar,after getting the new Stick, I realized how much I relied on the inlays. the dark linear inlays on the lighter wood just weren't as visible.

The fix...small strips of reflective tape on the visible side of the frets(from the player's perspective) where each of the inlays occur. A pain to put on with the strings in the way, but I didn't want to take the time to remove and replace the strings.

what about alternating light and dark woods on the fret board to look like the keys of a piano? Just kidding.

Mike
I don't think light wood with dark inlays is any better or worse than dark wood with light inlays, but I do think you get used to one or the other and it's not a great idea to change. Having learned on ironwood, rosewood and polycarbonate instruments, and having had a few light colored instruments, including maple and dark bamboo, I could just never get used to the light colored materials. I loved the sound and the light weight of my dark bamboo Grand, but I just couldn't see the board the same way.

I'm much happier and more at home with the wenge and rosewood instruments I have now.

I did actually try a version of your black key white key pattern once, but with little dark marks on a blank bamboo board, representing the piano's black keys. It was just too much information. There's real juju in the Stick's 5 fret inlay pattern.
don't mes with your Stick's juju...

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Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:37 pm
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Post Re: Finding notes in the Classic tuning
BergerStick wrote:
This is VERY helpful. (Also reminds me to go back to Emmett's book...)

Greg, you also might mention the tip you gave me, as someone who has dot inlays on my board as opposed to linear inlays. (Fingerboard tape is currently on its way!)

Is there any way to print these charts? (I've done a "Save image as..." already but I was wondering about printing directly off the page.)
Glad you like it Luc,

I've made a few edits, so you may want to print it out again. Thanks for the suggestion about the suggestion about fret markers.

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Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:38 pm
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Post Re: Finding notes in the Classic tuning
This is kinda trippin me out, but looks nice! As you know I use baritone melody which is pretty close to classic. I'll have to look at this more and connect the dots in my mind so to speak.

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Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:41 am
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Post Re: Finding notes in the Classic tuning
Hi Ben,

Yeah, Baritone Melody is not as easy to see as Classic.

For BM tuning i tend to focus on the pattern of notes around fret 12, especially the way the two Cs straddle the fret.

For Matched Reciprocal the easiest thing seems to be the fret 12 CGDAE, and finding relationships around that.

It's all easier than trying to find notes with a guitar inlay pattern, IMNSHO.

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Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:50 pm
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Post Re: Finding notes in the Classic tuning
These charts are helpful. Thanks Greg. I also find Steve A's mnemonic helpful for remembering the order of the notes: Friggin' Bead Gook for F#BEADC. Or, to get the F natural after the C, Friggin' Bead Gook Forever for F#BEADGCF.

Marty

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Last edited by Marty6126 on Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:51 pm
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Post Re: Finding notes in the Classic tuning
:o

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Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:29 pm
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Post Re: Finding notes in the Classic tuning
Marty6126 wrote:
These charts are helpful. Thanks Greg. I also find Steve A's mnemonic helpful for remembering the order of the notes: Friggin' Bead Gook for F#BEADC. Or, to get the F natural after the C, Friggin' Bead Gook Forever for F#BEADGCF.

Marty
Hi Marty,

Lacking Steve's wit, I must work on my witness. Glad to know the charts work for you.

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please don't PM me, If you want to get in touch use email stickist@aol.com

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Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:54 am
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