Arts & Entertainment, Music

Navigating the Fretboard

Jake Shimabukuro

Lesson time 10:17 min

Jake introduces you to fretboard navigation with his “elevator and floor” analogy, which he’ll reference throughout this class.

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Topics include: Fretting Notes · Learning “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”


[00:00:00.00] [INSTRUMENTAL 'UKULELE MUSIC] [00:00:24.60] - All right. And now we're going to get into fretboard navigation. And this is basically just a way that we can communicate so I can tell you exactly where I want you to put your fingers and it's super easy. So this is called the nut of the 'ukulele here. And it holds the strings in place. [00:00:42.45] So what we're going to do is we're going to pretend that this nut is actually an elevator to a hotel. So if you get into the elevator you have your first floor, second floor, third floor, and fourth floor. And that's how we can remember this is the first string, second string, third, and fourth. Right? So first floor, second, third, and fourth floor. [00:01:01.86] Now every fret once you get out of the elevator is a room. So we have all these little hotel rooms here. So if I tell you go to the second floor and go to room one. You go to the second floor and you're in room one, or room two, or room three. Go to the fourth floor and go to a room two. You go to the fourth floor one and two. [00:01:20.92] So I'm going to give you two numbers. The first number is going to be what floor and the second number is going to tell you what room you'll be in. So you're going to take your finger. I'll say take your index finger and put it on one, five. So first floor, room five. Right here. Pretty easy right? Okay. [00:01:41.08] Now, the other thing I'm going to do is when I'm referring to a chord or something where I need you to use multiple fingers or we're going to be playing all four strings at once, I am going to give you a series of four numbers. OK? And basically what that is, it's always going to go in the order from the fourth floor and we're going to work our way down. [00:02:03.44] So for example, if I give you zero, zero, zero, three. You're going to be, okay on the fourth floor, zero, which means no room so it's open. Zero again. Zero again for the second string. And then zero, zero, zero, three. You're going to put your finger in room three. So zero, zero, zero, three would be like your C major chord. Or that. Okay? [00:02:27.64] Let's try another one. How about zero, zero, one, zero. So you'd be zero, zero, one, zero. Just like that. Very, very simple. [00:02:43.15] So that's how we're going to communicate where I want you to put your fingers throughout this lesson. Another thing that you want to be aware of is where you place your finger when you're playing a note. So try to place them in between the frets or in between the lines. Don't put them right on the line. [00:03:01.26] [PLUCKING STRINGS] [00:03:04.63] Just to get the best sound possible. [00:03:06.45] [INSTRUMENTAL 'UKULELE MUSIC] [00:03:13.20] So let's try a few more examples. Let's try one, zero. Right? Which would be first string open with your finger still in the elevator. Now let's go to one, one. Let's go to one, two. One, three. One, four. Five. Six. [00:03:36.45] [PLUCKING STRINGS] [00:03:39.29] And stop ther...

About the Instructor

Called the “Jimi Hendrix of the ʻukulele,” Jake Shimabukuro won worldwide acclaim for his fresh and fearless musical interpretations. Now he’s sharing his approach so anyone can experience the joys of the ʻukulele, from the simple chords that make up hundreds of songs to more complex fingerings and compositions. Learn how to adapt songs you love for ʻukulele or write your own. Stop worrying and start strumming.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Jake Shimabukuro

Jake Shimabukuro teaches you how to take your ʻukulele from the shelf to center stage, with techniques for beginners and seasoned players alike.

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