Tips for playing without marks on 5th , 7th frets

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Annalu Braga
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Tips for playing without marks on 5th , 7th frets

Post by Annalu Braga » Wed May 16, 2018 2:38 pm

Hi, friends.
I woud like to know how to play without marks on 5th, 7th and 9th frets, specially when using capo. Because my orientation changes. Any quick tips? Thanks

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Steve Ganz
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Re: Tips for playing without marks on 5th , 7th frets

Post by Steve Ganz » Wed May 16, 2018 3:06 pm

Marks on the 6 and 9th?
Just kidding.
Most guitarists use some sort of marks.
Flamenco guitarists may spurn them because they play with a capo at different places.
Which makes me think that if you play with a capo at different places, you might learn to orient without dots.
Another idea. Calibrate your reach by moving your hand from the nut to the 12th fret, then halfway between. That's the 5th. (Try closing your eyes and then open them to check.)
Steve

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RobMacKillop
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Re: Tips for playing without marks on 5th , 7th frets

Post by RobMacKillop » Wed May 16, 2018 3:08 pm

You might be surprised to learn that many professionals use a dot on the 7th fret, and sometimes also the 5th. In that case, a capo on the 2nd fret makes the 7th fret position dot into a 5th, which is useful. Put the capo anywhere else, though, and you invite hesitation.

But if you insist on not using dots (I use one or two, depending on the guitar) then lots of slow practise lies ahead of you. Try to always know where the 7th fret is.

I've known inexperienced players who insist on being "pure", not using dots, only to come unstuck when they first experience a stage spotlight. That fretboard you think you know intimately can look a very different beast altogether, an evil twin, when the light is shining from a different direction!

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Annalu Braga
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Re: Tips for playing without marks on 5th , 7th frets

Post by Annalu Braga » Wed May 16, 2018 3:12 pm

i use 3 dots (5th, 7th and 9th)... OMG!

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Re: Tips for playing without marks on 5th , 7th frets

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Wed May 16, 2018 4:29 pm

I always suggest a movable mark such as a bit of printer label surround. If your only capo position is II it's easy enough to compensate, as Rob says. If you have reason to use several different fret positions no marker at all would probably be better.
N.B. if you are using a capo for lute/vihuela repertoire, II is most likely what will work best overall, not just re any dots but the sound too.
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Re: Tips for playing without marks on 5th , 7th frets

Post by Lawler » Wed May 16, 2018 10:47 pm

I used to go dotless. But stage lighting when you're performing can make the fingerboard look totally different so now I like to have a dot at the 7th fret. Often from an old bottle of Whiteout (is that still made?). Capos are always a challenge when playing in upper positions and for me more rehearsal works better than more dots.

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Re: Tips for playing without marks on 5th , 7th frets

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Wed May 16, 2018 10:58 pm

White out.
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lagartija
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Re: Tips for playing without marks on 5th , 7th frets

Post by lagartija » Wed May 16, 2018 11:12 pm

That fretboard you think you know intimately can look a very different beast altogether, an evil twin, when the light is shining from a different direction!
That is so true, Rob! It has happened to me a few times...and one time I did not have enough light on stage to see my 7th fret dot. :shock:
My guitar has one dot (white) at the 7th, and I use a triangular piece of gold label foil at the 5th. I find the two shapes helpful, especially when the lighting plays tricks on me by glaring off the line of my bifocals and I start seeing 12 strings.
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Re: Tips for playing without marks on 5th , 7th frets

Post by riffmeister » Thu May 17, 2018 1:22 am

Quick tips....just one....practice. ;)

Orchestral string players manage to play without looking at the fingerboard, not to mention no frets. So I guess it can be done!

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Re: Tips for playing without marks on 5th , 7th frets

Post by bacsidoan » Thu May 17, 2018 3:37 am

riffmeister wrote: ↑
Thu May 17, 2018 1:22 am
Quick tips....just one....practice. ;)

Orchestral string players manage to play without looking at the fingerboard, not to mention no frets. So I guess it can be done!
I've played some cello, not very well I'm afraid. However, I can tell you that orchestral string players play their instruments with their ears. Surprisingly, without frets the adjustment is almost instantaneous, and most of the time imperceptible.

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Re: Tips for playing without marks on 5th , 7th frets

Post by powderedtoastman » Thu May 17, 2018 4:39 am

I'm taking cello lessons, my teacher in the beginning had me do what he calls "target practice" to find where the fingered note would go in first position. He would have me put the left hand down totally, then play the open string, then circle the bow back around to the frog to do another down-bow while simultaneously bringing the left hand to the neck to find the note, then play the fingered note. If I missed by more than just a tiny amount, he'd say to do it all over again. All while not looking at the left hand at all.
I think you could give it a try on guitar, but I probably would just plant a RH finger on the string and do a free stroke, no need to do a big motion circling the right arm around or whatever.
I think looking at the neck could be optional, you could try to train yourself to do it without looking, or if you did it while looking you might develop a visual sense of the spacing on a nearly subconscious level?

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Re: Tips for playing without marks on 5th , 7th frets

Post by Linda Kimbrel » Thu May 17, 2018 5:00 am

I'm curious as to why you want to know how to play without marks? Does your instrument not have any? Is it a personal challenge, do you prefer not to be dependent on arbitrary artificial landmarks? Is it an aesthetic thing? Personally I love my marks, one less data point for my already task-saturated brain and fingers to calculate before executing. Just wondering. 🤔

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Re: Tips for playing without marks on 5th , 7th frets

Post by powderedtoastman » Thu May 17, 2018 6:16 am

Many classical guitars come without them but it's very easy to get aftermarket ones to put on. Just tonight I actually put some on a guitar that came without.
I've tried playing without and it can be done but it is a little extra effort to figure out the right visual cues and if you're used to using dots it can cause more mistakes, both practicing and performing.

I have one guitar that came with a dot only on the 7th fret. I thought it was a little odd at first, but it does work well enough most of the time. It has caused me to miss a simple A major barre chord when playing at a guitar society open mic, which I might have gotten right if there was also a dot on the 5th... that's about the only slip-up I have had that may have been partially because of not enough dots.

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Annalu Braga
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Re: Tips for playing without marks on 5th , 7th frets

Post by Annalu Braga » Thu May 17, 2018 12:35 pm

Linda Kimbrel wrote: ↑
Thu May 17, 2018 5:00 am
I'm curious as to why you want to know how to play without marks? Does your instrument not have any? Is it a personal challenge, do you prefer not to be dependent on arbitrary artificial landmarks? Is it an aesthetic thing? Personally I love my marks, one less data point for my already task-saturated brain and fingers to calculate before executing. Just wondering. 🤔
. I have 3 dots (5,7 and 9) My only problem is when playing with capo, it confuses me cause I use capo on 2nd, 3rd e 5th frets. Maybe I can change collors or sizes?

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Re: Tips for playing without marks on 5th , 7th frets

Post by ronjazz » Thu May 17, 2018 9:42 pm

Lose the dots, and spend a half-hour a few times a week practicing in the dark. Your overall confidence will improve, along with your accuracy.
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