View Full Version : sight reading

04-24-2003, 11:45 PM
I find it to be a very hard concept, because I have played for 3 years without knowing standard notation, and now I can't get myself to sight read.

What techniques do you use when playing directly from notation without knowing the piece? What positions do you use and how do you read in different key signatures?

I think it's also a great idea for an article, because in the last months you seem to be really concentrated on shredding stuff, without refering to subjects like reading or ear training.

04-25-2003, 01:55 AM
I donīt know whether we focus on anything... I usually write the technique-related stuff, while Guni so far focussed on theory-topics ( such as the chord scales ).
There is no "masterplan", it depends on what kind of articles are available from us contributors.
I am sure that weīll soon have some article about the topic, since itīs something essential.Unfortunately, itīs also a pretty big topic, so it might take a while to prepare some article...

If a book recommendation would help for now, check out http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0793581885/qid=1051235606/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/103-0030833-0866259?v=glance&s=books

Itīs by David Oakes, a GIT-instructor, and itīs really a great method.
It starts with reading rhythms ( different note values ), and then slowly moves to simple melodies in 5th position, then moves on to other positions, incorporating chords.
Really good book IMO

Hope this helps

04-26-2003, 11:00 PM
I have to start learning the same thing...after 13 years...it is still a bit tough. Although I have never tried it...I had a classical guitar teacher once who gave me only notated stuff, and said sight rread it, I was like...ok. Any way...I need to prepare my self for studies at Berklee, or gettin into Berklee College of music. I got a bunch of stuff from Eythorsson's web site that has to do with that kinda stuff. www.eythorsson.com There is alot of learning material there and I'm sucking up everything I can to help me grow as a musician.

04-30-2003, 01:59 AM
i can site read all instruments i play except guitar. the key to sitereading is knowing the notes you play. it's hard for guitarists because they are used to "feeling" the notes they play. as keyed instruments, saxaphone in my case, you actually have a precise finguring. it's almost like a chord in some manners. when somebody says play these chords "blah blah blah" you can probably do it. but when someone gives you a list of notes you can go crazy thinking where they are. that's why sax is easier. the notes are the chords. just like you know which strings to push for E you know the combination of keys for an E. so that's why we guitarists have it hard. lol

i got two pennies in this one.

05-02-2003, 07:16 AM
Well, I feel like I didn't get an answer...
HOW do you sightread, and what positions do you use? Do you have one position you use for sightreading, or you just surf the whole neck?
Also, how does this change when the score is in a different key signature?

05-02-2003, 07:31 AM
Well, it isnīt that easy to answer those questions.
When I sight-read, sometimes there are indicators in the notation, telling me what position the stuff is played in.
If there are none, I try to decide for myself. It depends on what I am playing. If I i.e. have to play some short lines between a bunch of chords, I of course try to play the lines in an area close to the part of the neck that I play the chords in.
When itīs about soloing, I gotta figure out what fingering is most efficient. Itīs not efficient if you have to reach for the 21st fret on the low E-string, for example. ( Although there might be situations where you actually have to do that ).
As Oakleaf pointed out, the guitar is a really tough instrument when it comes to sight-reading. Take the middle C as an example... you have that one at the 20th fret, low E-string; 15th fret, A-string; 10th fret, D-string; 5th fret, G-String; 1st fret, B-string
So you gotta pick. I try to estimate what other notes I need and then play in the position where I can easily reach those without having to travel big distances on the neck constantly.
It takes a lot of constant practising to become a great reader ( and I donīt consider myself a great reader... I donīt get to do it often enough anymore these days ). Itīs a matter of practising to read, knowledge of the fretboard ( patterns ) and experience.
One thing thatīs cool about the guitar is that usually ( if there are no open strings involved ), you can simply move everything up if you have to change the key. Like, if you play a certain lick in C maj, and the key changes to D, you simply can move that lick up a whole step.... two frets. That is one advantage of the guitar... keyboard players have a bit more trouble with that.
So, when I am in a certain pattern, and thereīs a key change, I simply move the pattern up according to what the new key is.

Regarding the second question... it would be best to start practising sight-reading using one or two patterns / positions. Thatīs a good point to start. If you feel comfortable with that, try to play in other positions. Try to find out what position works best for something youīre sight-reading... like, does this lick sound better in the upper areas of the neck, on the low strings, or on the higher strings, in the lower areas of the neck etc.
Hope this helps