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Visualizing the Fretboard

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A beginning student asked: "How can a player, when soloing, know all those notes and know which ones to play?" "How can he look away from the guitar and not mess up or get lost?" Way back when, I used to wonder these things. I answered that pros can solo like they do because they know their instrument. A rather vague answer but I continued on by saying that when you practice your scales, arpeggios, chords, progressions, etc that you must not only play them physically but you must be able to play them mentally. Sometimes when you see a person look away from their instrument, they still have that mental picture of the fretboard in their mind. Not only can they play the notes but they also sing them because its in their head, "MIND'S EYE". Those who have been playing for sometime know the notes on the fretboard and in this lesson I will not cover that, they know when their hands hit a certain "position" and looking at their fretboard, a certain shape jumps out a certain form is created that has been practiced for countless of hours that its second nature and can be called on in a moments notice. A simple example of this is our very first scale learned:
c major scale