Learn Guitar and Bass with Grammy Nominated Music Educator Mike Overly

August 14, 2014

Here is an impromptu video interview I did last week with www.findaguitarteacher.com ~ please check it out and let me know what you think. And when you have a moment, watch more of my instructional videos on the 12tonemusic.com YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/12tonemusic. Thank You.

Top 10 Behaviors of Successful Musicians – by Mike Overly

June 13, 2014



Do you want to be a successful musician? Of course you do! Then it would be beneficial to learn all you can about how to effectively and efficiently approach the development of your musicianship.

Don’t worry if you feel as if you don’t exhibit these Top 10 behaviors already, the good news is, you can begin to cultivate them now. And best of all, as you acquire these ways of being, you will become more effective, efficient and successful in other aspects of your life as well.

If you surf the internet for advice on how to become the musician you’ve always wanted to be, you will most likely become overloaded with endless suggestions. So, for now, let’s just focus on the Top 10 behaviors that will guarantee your musical success.

1. Successful Musicians Practice Consistently
Successful musicians maintain a regular practice schedule and practice every day. Practicing is easier than most believe it to be. Just 15 minutes a day, everyday, will have you progressing steadily – little by little each day. The key to efficient and effective practicing is time management. In other words, successful musician creates the habit of practicing at the same time each day, every day. Some like to practice in the morning, while others like to practice at night. The time of day doesn’t matter as long as you practice daily. The important thing is to pick a time and do it. Remember, you can’t skip a couple of days and then practice for hours and hours to make up for the lost time – it doesn’t work that way. Slow and steady wins the race.

2. Successful Musicians Are Inquisitive
Successful musicians are curious and ask many questions to get the answers they need in order to progress. They are interested in what other musicians are doing and are happy to learn from them. Start by looking for different ways to approach your practice. Seeking new systems and methods of learning is always healthy and beneficial. Remember, contrary to the old cliche, curiosity did not kill the cat – she just played better!

3. Successful Musicians Are Analytical
Successful musicians don’t practice without thinking about what they’re practicing. They stay focused to avoid distraction and diversion. Successful musicians practice with attention to detail to ensure their success. So, be sure to think through your problems to find ideas that will solve them. Try out several approaches until you find the one that leads you to success. By staying on course you will discover what works and what doesn’t.

4. Successful Musicians Are Lifelong Learners
If you’re new to playing music, you will more than likely face a steep learning curve. But don’t let that stop you, learning and practicing gets easier after you’ve been playing awhile. And no matter how long you have been playing, there is always something new to discover that will keep you inspired and challenged.

5. Successful Musicians Plan Ahead
Successful musicians know where they’re going. They have a plan and stick to it. They realize that prioritization is the key to the success of any endeavor. Successful musicians put things in order and choose what etudes and songs to practice at the beginning. This makes it easy to follow through to the end. Successful musicians work on their plan daily, weekly, monthly and yearly so that they may reach their goals based upon importance rather than urgency. It’s important to periodically evaluate whether your efforts are propelling you toward the achievement of your goals. If they are not, then clarification of your goals and the means needed to achieve them will be necessary. Plan your practice and practice your plan.

6. Successful Musicians Are Self Motivated
Successful musicians take the initiative and are proactive self-starters. This is the primary determining factor for their effectiveness in music and life. Being proactive rather than reactive will quickly lead you to success. If you like the idea of playing an instrument, and perhaps even impressing people with your skills, then you will need to manage yourself. Successful musicians know that through self mastery many wonderful things may be accomplished. Remember, no one will fire you if you don’t show up to practice, and no one will remind you of the deadlines you’ve set for yourself. To paraphrase Smokey The Bear, only you can make yourself a successful musician!

7. Successful Musicians Think Win-Win
Perhaps it is your goal to be in a band or orchestra and play harmoniously with other musicians. If so, it’s important for you to value and respect others, as this will lead to the best long-term relationships. Genuinely striving for mutually beneficial solutions and agreements will guarantee success for all. Win-win relationships are much better than having only one person get their way. When everyone feels included and involved in an environment of trust and loyalty, everyone succeeds.

8. Successful Musicians Listen
Successful Musicians understand that listening to another first and then having them listen to you is the fastest way to create an atmosphere of caring, respect, and positive conflict resolution. This skill of empathetic listening cultivates an environment where misunderstandings can be avoided to facilitate harmonious music making with others.

9. Successful Musicians Realize That The Whole Is Greater Than The Parts
Synergy, or combining the strengths of many people into one positive team, will make possible the achievement of goals that no one person could do alone. Successful musicians know that creating the most prolific performance by a group of people is best achieved by encouraging meaningful, inspirational and supportive leadership by all. It is essential to understand that everyone is a master of something – but not of everything. Be the one who takes the positive approach with other musicians in your group, then everyone’s potential will come together for the best result.

10. Successful Musicians Are Persistent
Successful musicians understand that success doesn’t happen overnight. If you persist in working toward your vision you will eventually realize it, even if there are a few rough patches along the way. Know that constant improvement of one’s self, along with the development of one’s skills, is necessary in order to achieve success. By balancing and renewing your resources, energy, and health you will experience effective musicianship throughout your life and become the successful musician you have always wanted to be.

Okay, now ask yourself which behavior is the most important for you to become a successful musician. It might be one of the Top 10 above, or, you may believe that it’s something else. I, and the others who are reading this post, would like to know what you think, so, please leave a comment… thank you.


image ©Joshua Wells

The Process of Progress on Bass Guitar – by Mike Overly

April 24, 2014

Tone Note® Music Method for Bass

There are many reasons why students quit their bass lessons. Sometimes it’s because the teacher doesn’t inspire them, or because the lessons aren’t focused enough on their specific goals. In some cases, it could be that the teacher isn’t qualified and really doesn’t know how to help the student become the musician they would like to be. Then again, it could be that the student’s relationship with the teacher and the teachings aren’t as focused as they need to be in order for the student to progress.

Having taught fretboard music successfully for many decades and to many students, I have come to realize that the way in which a student relates to the teacher has a very meaningful effect on the student’s development. Different students get varied results from the same teacher and teachings. This is because different students approach the learning process uniquely. For example, one student might believe to know better than the teacher and eventually quits, while another student learns and applies everything that is presented and becomes a world-class bass player. We all understand the wonderful attitudes, aptitudes and behaviors of the student that goes on to become a world-class player, however, let’s look more carefully at different types of behaviors commonly displayed by students who can easily become frustrated and quit their bass lessons.

I want to be perfect.

Some students want to master everything that is presented in a lesson before moving on to something else. This may seem like a good idea, but in reality, it is not the most effective way to progress. Music is best learned when many elements are worked on simultaneously without worrying about mastering any one given component. For example, the student must work on the technique of playing the bass, while at the same time learning the theory of harmony, improvisation and composition. The point is, after learning something new, don’t hesitate to begin combining it with everything else you have previously learned. Application and integration are essential elements that must be developed from the very beginning. By proceeding in this way, the student will not let one aspect of their learning get too far ahead of the other things that they know. Approaching music and the bass in this multi-tasking manner will keep the student in balance.

I only want the new.

Some students think that each lesson should consist mainly of new material. However, this isn’t necessarily the best approach. The simple reason is that too much new information leads to the feeling of being overwhelmed. This is because there is not enough time to integrate this new information with past information. Being overwhelmed is what causes most students to become frustrated and quit. Here’s an important point: simply learning new information will not improve technique. Technique takes time to develop and demands more than just simply being aware of a new musical concept. In other words,  it requires lots of  practice to achieve the fluency of technical skill needed to play the bass proficiently. Remember, you can buy knowledge, but can’t buy technique — technique must be earned!
Said again, the student may think that learning something new in each lesson is a good thing, but, as time goes by they will notice that they are not making significant technical progress. At this point, the student may want to quit because they think lessons aren’t effective, however, that is not really the reason for their lack of progress. Said a different way, learning new musical information is an important part of lessons, but, if the student is only interested in learning the new, they will probably not continue with lessons and will miss out on one of the most important aspects of taking lessons which is the unfoldment of knowledge. Unfoldment being the in-order process which leads to the progress of information presented. It is this in-order presentation of knowledge that makes bass lessons so valuable. The student will need to practice patience to realize this and gain the benefits of unfolding learning over time.

I know what’s best.

Some students have been playing for a while and perhaps have studied with other bass teachers. These students may have preconceived ideas about what their lessons should be and may wish to control what and how they are taught. Asking questions and expressing goals to the teacher is a good thing, but trying to direct the teacher as to what and how to teach is not. If the student seeks help from a qualified teacher, they should trust the teacher and accept the fact that the teacher knows more about music and bass than they do and therefore can successfully teach the student.

With that said, all bass teachers are not the same, some are more qualified than others. This is why the student needs to clearly communicate their goals, and challenges to the teacher. That way, if the student is not receiving what they communicated, then they should seek a different teacher. What’s important is that the student needs to have faith and belief in the teacher they have selected and commit themselves to the lessons.

If the teacher has helped others to succeed, then probably that teacher will be able to help you as well. Just remember, the teacher’s ability to help you will be limited and delayed if you constantly question everything that is taught. Working with a qualified teacher is the fastest and most efficient way for you to achieve your goals. So, if you truly want to accelerate the process of progress, then you should think about your relationship with your teacher to see if there is any room for improvement.

There are many other factors that affect the rate of progress when learning music and the bass. But, if you study with a qualified teacher, follow the most effective music method, for example the Tone Note® Music Method for Bass http://www.12tonemusic.com/bass/tonenote, and develop rewarding practice habits, then you will become the musician playing bass that you have always wanted to be!

Learn Guitar in a Flash – by Mike Overly

April 10, 2014


Guitar Flashcard CoverIntroduction

Is your knowledge of the guitar fretboard incomplete, out-of-order, fragmented and disconnected? If so, then you should get a deck of guitar flashcards and begin feeling complete, in-order, whole and connected. You and your guitar will be happy you did!

A Complete Deck
You just got your guitar, or, you have been trying to learn to play guitar, but are feeling a little lost and confused. Well, now’s the time to have some simple and easy letter learning fun with a complete deck of guitar flashcards. What do I mean by a complete deck? Well, we all know that 52 cards is a complete deck of playing cards, but, just how many cards is in a complete deck of guitar flashcards? The simple answer is: 126! Here’s the proof…

While it’s true that music has 12 sounds in one octave, those 12 sounds have 21 letter names! I know, this sounds complex and confusing, but it’s really not if you think of it in this way. There are 7 natural letters, 7 flat letters and 7 sharp letters. Simply stated, 7 + 7 + 7 = 21!

In other words, the complete music alphabet has 12 sounds with 21 letter symbols. Here they are:

7 natural letters: A B C D E F G,
7 flat letters: bA bB bC bD bE bF bG,
7 sharp letters: #A #B #C #D #E #F #G.

Said one more time, 7 natural letters + 7 flat letters + 7 sharp letters = 21 letter names for 12 sounds! And since there are six strings on a guitar, this means that to have a complete deck of guitar flashcards, you must have 126 cards. Here’s the math: 6 strings x 21 letter names = 126 cards!

Now, here’s an amazing fact. Only Guitar Fretboard Flashcards from 12 Tone Music Publishing has 126 cards in the deck, making them the only complete guitar flashcard deck in the world! To prove this, just Google guitar flashcards and see for yourself, no other deck of guitar flashcards in the entire world has 126 cards in the deck.

Now, let me ask you a question. Would you buy a puzzle if it was missing pieces? Of course the answer is no. So, why would you buy a deck of guitar flashcards that was missing cards? Remember, you can’t succeed if you’re incomplete!

Be Correct The First Time

Being complete is certainly essential but being in-order is equally important. And by learning in a Sign Before Symbol manner, guarantees that you will be complete, in-order and faster! Think of it this way…

Let’s begin by imagining that you want to go to Jill’s house, but, you don’t know where she lives. However, your friend Jack does, and he agrees to take you there. So, you go to Jack’s house and then together you go to Jill’s house. So far, so good.

Later, you want to go to Jill’s house by yourself, but, the only way you know how to get there is to go to Jack’s house, and then go to Jill’s house. Here’s the problem. While it’s true you get to Jill’s house, it takes you twice as long to get there than if you had learned to go directly to Jill’s house in the first place. Direct is faster!

So, what does this have to do with playing guitar? To understand this, let’s explore Sign Before Symbol.

A symbol represents something, but, it is not what it represents. For example, in music, the letter E represents the sound of E, but, the letter E is not the sound.

A sign implies an action. In other words, a sign tells us to do, or not to do, something. For example, a stop sign tells us to do something: stop. However, it also tells us not to do something: don’t go.

Traditional guitar flashcards use a letter symbol to represent a sound on the fretboard, and two accidental signs, the sharp #, and the flat b, tell us to do, or not to do something. However, Guitar Fretboard Flashcards differ from traditional guitar flashcards by presenting the sign before the symbol. Let’s explore this very important difference.

In traditional music notation, the letter symbol is presented first and the accidental sign follows. In other words, traditional music notation places the sign after the letter symbol. However, by placing the sign after the letter symbol, traditional music notation makes you go to where you don’t want to be, then has you change your mind to then go to where you wanted to be to start with! This traditional approach to an accidental letter symbol makes you twice as slow as you should be. Sign Before Symbol presents a new and direct way of thinking that is guaranteed to make you faster. Let’s continue.

We’ve already discovered that to go to Jack’s house, which we will call A, and then to get to Jill’s house, A#, will take twice as long as it should because we must first go to Jack’s house A before we can change our mind and go to Jill’s house A#. In contrast to this traditional approach, Sign Before Symbol has you playing twice as fast by directing you to not go to A first and then A#, but rather, go directly to #A!

Okay, let’s think this through on the guitar. Why go to string 6 fret 5 A so that you can get to string 6 fret 6 A#, when you can go directly to #A the very first time? Remember, sign before symbol teaches you that #A is not A or bA, so, don’t waste time going to those letter and fret locations, instead, go directly to #A the first time. Yes, it’s true, there is no doubt, Sign Before Symbol makes you faster!

Now you can understand why sign before the letter symbol makes you faster, it takes you directly to the fret location of the letter you want to play.

More Than One Location
With continued use of your Guitar Fretboard Flashcards, you will quickly and easily learn the letter names on all the strings of your guitar. And with this simple and complete knowledge, you will receive this remarkable benefit: closer is faster, and faster is better! It helps to think of it this way…

If the song you are playing asks you to play G and then C, and you only knew the letters on string 6 of your guitar, that would be okay, because at least you could play the sound of G on fret 3 and C on fret 8. However, because these letters are five frets apart, it would take a certain amount of time to travel that amount of distance. Remember what Einstein said: time is space!

However, to play G and C faster would certainly be better. So, to play faster, use less energy and be more efficient, learn the letters on string 5 of your guitar. And then, because you know the letters on both string 6 and string 5, you will discover an amazing benefit ~ you can play G and C much faster. This is true because now they are closer, and closer is faster! Here’s the proof: G is on string 6 fret 3 and C is on string 5 fret 3. And since they’re on the same fret, and you can’t get any closer, faster is the result!

As you continue to progress and learn the letters on all six strings of your guitar, you will discover the awesome benefit of playing your guitar as fast as you always wanted to!

Master Memory
Guitar Fretboard Flashcards make you smarter because they enable you to develop a Master Memory. Here’s how…

Studies of the whole brain have revealed that the left-brain likes to think. In other words, to calculate, reason, read words, and do math. This is a good thing.

These same studies have shown that the right-brain likes to… well, not think, but rather be creative and see things like pictures and drawings and listen to music without really thinking about what it’s listening to. Kind of like day dreaming. And this too is a good thing.

Of course you really don’t have two brains, both sides of the brain are connected and work as one. However, it is still helpful to understand the different functions of whole-brain learning so that we can understand the elegant design of Guitar Fretboard Flashcards. Let’s explore this.

On the front side of a flashcard is a left-brain question: on this string, what fret is this letter? For example, on string 6 of your guitar, what fret is the letter A? As you can tell, this front side of the card makes you calculate these three different ideas ~ string, letter, fret ~ into one answer. This is left-brain fun.

Then, when you turn the card over, the answer is presented, which, for the question just asked, is fret 5. However, not only are you presented the fret answer, but you also see a picture of the fretboard with an empty square on the correct fret so that you may visualize the location of the answer. But wait, there’s more. The staff-note of that letter location is also shown! This is right-brain fun.

You can now understand how Guitar Fretboard Flashcards train you to use both sides of your brain so as to better remember and in turn, make you smarter! No other deck of guitar flashcards are designed with this degree of detail to guarantee the development of your Master Memory success.

A Clear and Simple Understanding
I don’t know where you are today, but, I know where you’ll be tomorrow, reviewing your flashcards for speed and clarity. And as a result, tomorrow you will be a better player than you are today.

Now, let’s look ahead and learn some things that will clarify your thoughts and simplify the ideas you will encounter in the future so that you may avoid confusion and frustration as you progress. Let’s proceed…

At some point you will see this harmony symbol: Gb5. This looks simple enough, and most guitar players would say that this is a “G flat power chord.” But are they certain? Could it be something else? Could it be “G with a flat 5 added?” The point is, we’re really not sure. We are confused because of a lack of clarity and certainty.

This confusion comes from traditional music notation that places the accidental sign before a staff-note symbol, before a tone number (scale degree) symbol, before a harmony numeral symbol, but, illogically and incorrectly, places the accidental sign after a letter symbol! This unexplainable exception creates great uncertainty, confusion, frustration, and serious lack of clarity. What are we to do?

The answer is very simple, be consistent and place the accidental sign before the letter symbol! This very simple action brings clarity and certainty, and avoids confusion and frustration. In other words, to be consistent, the accidental sign is always placed before the symbol, whether it’s a staff-note symbol, a tone number symbol, a harmony numeral symbol, or, simply a letter symbol. Avoiding confusion and replacing it with clarity is extremely simple and easy, just put the sign before a symbol in all cases! Let’s continue and prove our point with a more complex example.

It’s easy to know what this harmony symbol is, bG5, because the accidental sign is placed before the letter symbol. It’s “flat G with tone 5 added.” The simple and clear reason why sign before symbol is not confusing is because its order is consistent.

Here’s another example. Traditional music notation writes Gb#5. Wow! What in the world is that? Traditional music notation knows that this is confusing and unclear. How do we know that, because more symbols are added in an attempt to bring clarity to this obvious confusion. Here is the way traditional music notation writes it: Gb(#5). As you can see, more is not always better!

In other words, extra symbols are not what is called for, what is needed is a simple and clear sign before symbol presentation. This logical order easily resolves the problem. It’s easy to see that, bG#5 is “flat G, sharp five.” Nothing could be more simple or clear. Now, here’s another example of traditional confusion, contrasted with simple and clear sign before symbol clarity.

In the traditional way of thinking, a letter may be flatted or sharped twice. In other words, double flat and double sharp, for example, Gbb and F##. And to add to this confusion, traditional music notation uses an x to symbolize ##. In other words, F## is written Fx! This is certainly not necessary, because a symbol of another symbol only adds to the confusion. By the way, Gbb sounds like F natural, and F##, also shown as Fx, sounds like G natural. This “sounds like” concept is called enharmonic, and enharmonic presents problems all its own, but, that’s another lesson.

As you progress in music, you will eventually encounter this very troubling harmony symbol: Gbbb5. Yikes! What the heck?! Is this “G double flat with flat 5 added,” or “G flat with double flat 5 added,” or “G with a triple flat 5 added?!” Talk about confusing and unclear!! Fortunately, sign before symbol again brings simplicity and clarity to this truly unruly harmony symbol. It could be, bbGb5 “double flat G flat 5,” bGbb5 “flat G double flat 5,” or, in some extreme bizarre case, Gbbb5 “G triple flat 5!” We could go on and on with harmony symbol clarification, but, you get the point, your future will always be simple, clear, and void of confusion because of sign before symbol.

More Applications
Learning the letters on your guitar fretboard is one of the most powerful and useful skills that you can develop. So, if you’re ready to have some fast and easy letter learning fun, here are some exciting ways to improve your performance skills.

Begin by learning the 7 natural letters horizontally, east and west, on string 6 of your guitar. You will quickly discover that learning the 7 natural letters and their 7 fret locations on string 6 is as easy as learning a telephone number, which also has 7 numbers.

Start by selecting the seven natural letters of string 6. Shuffle these 7 natural letter flashcards so that they are out-of-order. Work with one card at a time. Memorize the fret location for that one letter. Don’t use your guitar, but rather, visualize the positions on the guitar fretboard as you memorize the locations. When you can recall the fret location for a letter without hesitation, then move on to the next card. Proceed with the remaining six cards until you have memorized all 7 letter and fret combinations.

There are lots of opportunities throughout the day for review, for example while you’re walking to school, riding in the car, or, waiting for the school bus, or if you’re older, during lunch at work. Be sure to drill the 7 natural letter flashcards several times a day to get faster and faster. After the 7 natural letters are memorized, it’s time to learn the flat and sharp letter names.

You will notice that some frets have more than one letter name. As was said earlier, this is called enharmonic. Enharmonic means “one sound with more than one symbolic letter name.” For example, bA, flat A, sounds the same as #G, sharp G, but as you can see, the same sound has a different letter name. The “correct” letter name for a sound depends on the key you are in. Here’s an example. The bE major scale is spelled bE F G bA bB C D. Therefore, in this key of bE major, the fourth sound of this scale scale is bA. However, in the A major scale, which is spelled A B #C D E #F #G, the seventh sound is #G. So again, as you can see, the letter name given to the same sound depends on what key you are in. For more of this type of thinking, be sure to get your copy of Guitar EncycloMedia.

To summarize, begin with the 7 natural cards. Then move on to the 7 flat cards. Be sure to take your time. Then, after you have memorized the 7 flat letter and their 7 fret locations, start working with the 7 sharp cards. Again, be patient and take your time. By using this simple method, you will quickly and easily memorize all 21 letter names on one string. Then, after you have memorized the letter locations on one string, you may then move on to the next string and begin the process again. Do this until you can say the letter locations on each string of your guitar without hesitation. Remember, learning all the letters on all the strings is a challenge, however, with practice, patience and time, learning the 21 letters on each string of the guitar fretboard will be easy, fast and fun!

There are many ways to use your flashcards, for example, here’s a method for learning the same letter on different strings and frets. Begin by selecting only the cards from each string that have the same letter. You will notice that some of these cards sound in unison, in other words, they have the same letter, same staff-note and same sound. Yet, some of these same letter cards sound in octaves, with the same letter, but with a different staff-note and a different sound.

Here’s another suggested use of your flashcards. Learn the natural letters vertically, north and south, one fret at a time. Here’s the method. Start with the frets with all natural letters: fret zero, fret 5 and fret 10. Drill one fret vertically until you have it memorized. Be sure to say the string and letter name and then flip the card over and say the fret number. As you work through the cards one fret at a time, visualize the fretboard in your mind with your eyes closed. After learning a new fret, go back and review all the frets you have learned up to that point. Remember, you are building your knowledge and will need to reinforce what you’ve previously learned.

After learning all the frets which only have natural letters, you may begin to add the frets with flat letters. Then add the frets with sharp letters. It is best to spend a few minutes every day reviewing your flashcards so as to reinforce what you’ve learned. Remember, there are lots of opportunities throughout the day to practice and drill, its easy, fast and fun… and you don’t even need your guitar!

By following the simple suggestions above, you will memorize all 21 letters on all strings in less time than you might have imagined. And when you’re really good, you should be able to say the letter names for any string without hesitation. Don’t forget, practice makes you faster!

Bonus Benefits
Simply stated, a benefit is something you can do because of something you have or know. The following summary lists but a few of the many remarkable benefits to be gained from using your flashcards.

Complete Knowledge  – This means that from the very beginning, you will know the complete alphabet of music on your fretboard. This is because the first thing you learn is 21 letters, and more importantly, that is all that you will ever learn. In other words, with your very first thought ~ you’re finished. You will never have to learn another letter on the fretboard… ever! Now, you can get on with playing all the incredible songs that you have always wanted to play. Don’t forget, drilling your fretboard flashcards will make learning the letters and staff-notes easy, fast and fun without effort or strain. Your guitar playing success is guaranteed!

Duel Understanding – By using both sides of your brain to learn and memorize, you will become smarter. You will find that remembering is easy because of whole brain learning. In other words, since the frontside of a flashcard uses the left side of your brain to connect a letter or staff-note to a fret, and the backside of the flashcard uses the right side of your brain to connect a fret to a letter or staff-note, developing a Master Memory is guaranteed. These two different aspects of the flashcards in conjunction with the two sides of your brain, like two sides of one coin, will make you equally skilled in both directions: letter, staff-note/fret and fret/staff-note, letter.

No Hesitation – You can now focus your attention on playing and enjoying music on your guitar because you don’t have to waste time and energy trying to locate a letter on the fretboard. Said another way, minimizing hesitation, eliminating mistakes and avoiding frustration will result in you become faster at reaching your goal of complete fretboard knowledge.

Simple and Clear – As your understanding of the fretboard becomes clearer, learning becomes simpler, and your playing improves quickly. Your technique and skill becomes much faster, cleaner and clearer. You become much more effective and efficient at playing guitar because you have simple, clear and immediate knowledge of the entire fretboard.

New View – With this new view of 7 + 7 + 7 = 21, you can never be any more complete, effective or efficient. In other words, now that you have the total fretboard knowledge of 7 natural letters, 7 flat letters and 7 sharp letters on every string, you can now think with a new and direct sign before symbol view. You don’t waste precious time going to the wrong location to eventually get to where you wanted to go in the first place! Said a different way, with this new view, you can’t get there any faster.

Many Applications – You will also discover that by knowing 21 letters on the fretboard immediately you are able to understand with clarity and certainty the more complex aspects of music. For example, key signatures, scale spellings, chord inversions, harmony voicings and the parabola of 4ths and 5ths. In other words, musical thoughts and ideas that once seem complicated and confusing will now be as easy as pie! Yummy.

More Benefits – As you progress, you will learn how easy it is to start as a beginner and quickly become an advanced player in much less time than you ever thought possible. You will break through barriers that have kept you from being the awesome guitar player that you know you are by accelerating all aspects of your musical knowledge and fretboard skills. You will discover that you are able to play riffs and licks with incredible speed and accuracy and that you can create original and memorable melodies and harmonies effortlessly. You will advance your ability to “play by ear” and develop the skill necessary to express your remarkable and original talent. You will discover that you can write hit songs that the world will sing with ease. You will access the incredible versatility that allows you to play all genres and styles of music from rock to jazz to blues to country to classical to whatever. You will feel confident playing with others, whether live or virtually with YouTube, or your favorite iPod superstar!

As you can see, the benefits of using Guitar Fretboard Flashcards are virtually infinite… be sure to let me know what you like to do with them. I’m listening, and I’m here for you!


21 Revelation – by Mike Overly

April 5, 2014

Hello Everyone,

Welcome, and thank you for visiting this first 12tonemusic blog. The purpose of this blog is to share with you what goes on in my mind as music meets the guitar and bass fretboard.

I would like to share with you, in no particular chronological order, the very quick and raw, unedited hand written pages before I sit down at the computer and spend way too much time editing and polishing these original rough words and illustrations into a polished article or book.

So, here’s my plan. I’ll scan in the page, write a few words of presentation, and then get out-of-the-way… sounds simple enough.

Okay, let’s begin with a 21st Century Revelation I had in September of 2002. It’s simple on the surface, but like leverage ~ a simple fulcrum can move great weight. Here’s was my idea: if there are 7 natural letters, then there has to be 7 flat letters and 7 sharp letters. In other words, 7 + 7 + 7 = 21! Or, said a different way, if one Octave has 12 Sounds, then, one octave must have 21 Symbols. This was a major epiphany for me, it clarified a whole life of prior music knowledge… and it just might do the same for you.

Here’s the first rough draft of this path-breaking thought.

12 Sounds, 21 Symbolic Letters and 15 Major Keys

To begin understanding the leverage of this simple 21 symbol fulcrum is to realize that it answers the traditional question: if there are only 12 sounds in one octave, why are there 15 Major keys… but that’s another post.

So, till next time, play and have fun ~ I’ll be listening!


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