Hand movement across the neck

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slippityslaps

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I've been playing for years, and I like to think I have a developed technique in different styles so my playing is pretty clean.

Typically when I practice licks, metronome exercises, etc, I've tried to keep my hand in one position. As a result, when it comes to grabbing a note across the fingerboard, I'm not very accurate. I might miss the note, or grab it with a different part of the finger, which sets me up for failure if I want to bend. This could be something like having my hand around the 2nd - 5th frets, but not grabbing a note on the 12th properly.

What advice would ya'll have on becoming more consistent here? I recently started forcing myself to move across the fretboard more when I transcribe music I like. Are there specific things to keep in mind, or is it just getting the hard work done?

Thank you!
 

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SalsaWood

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You mean up and down the neck? Do tons of slides and practice your jumps between index and pinky. I use a lot of subtle slides in my playing and some licks still give me trouble off the bat. It's one of the lower hurdles on the guitar but can take a lot of time to get right in different contexts because of the explosive movement often required. Isolate and execute.
 

slippityslaps

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You mean up and down the neck? Do tons of slides and practice your jumps between index and pinky. I use a lot of subtle slides in my playing and some licks still give me trouble off the bat. It's one of the lower hurdles on the guitar but can take a lot of time to get right in different contexts because of the explosive movement often required. Isolate and execute.
Yup! That's exactly right, I think my ability to do it well is underdeveloped because I try to isolate my hand from moving around too much. Would rather string skip than get my hand somewhere else quickly and now it's biting me in the rear.
 

nightsprinter

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Embrace the slides. Not always the most economical but they set a person's playing apart from the pack when there's bizarre glissando sequences i.e. pat metheny

 

PuckishGuitar

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Are there specific things to keep in mind, or is it just getting the hard work done?
It’s developing muscle memory for that movement, to the point where I will mess it up simply changing to a different scale guitar and have to relearn it. Just practice over and over that one movement until your arm/hand knows how far to move. Picking hand taps still take me a long time to learn placement and can’t do it without looking at the board, just haven’t developed my right arm like I have my left for knowing the board.

One trick that works on short movements (~one handspan) is to visualize what finger will replace another. So if I’m playing a short phrase and then repeating that a fifth interval higher, I think about placing my index where the ring was and helps me get into position quickly. In some cases I will also “walk” my fingers, like slide my index finger under my middle while fretting with pinky to move my hand higher up. I learned this back when I played piano, and has helped me here.

Another benefit of using slides on big movements especially is even if you mess it up by a fret, it’s easy to recover and make it sound like you were working your way to resolving on the desired note, especially improv. Happy little mistakes!
 

LordCashew

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In classical guitar pedagogy (my wheelhouse)

- Look at the destination position before shifting, then move your hand until it lines up with where you're looking. This is almost always more accurate than following your hand up the neck with your eyes. If your goal is to shift without looking, this would be an intermediary step to build muscle memory.

- Leave a finger on a string through the position shift. This is called a guide finger. You can leave it weighted; if so, you'll hear a glissando (slide) as @nightsprinter mentioned. If you can hear a slide, you can use that auditory information to know where to stop. You can also release weight and just gently touch the string, in which case you'll get some finger noise (more on wound strings than plain) instead of hearing the gliss.

Electric guitarists may have their own traditions associated with shifting, but these work well for me. :yesway:
 
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