The mystery of the missing fret

One of the main reasons that makes the guitar so difficult to learn can be traced back to the very first time you tried to tune without an electronic tuner!

Yes, when you hit the 3d string 5th fret to tune the B 2nd string, something went wrong: the B had to be tuned with the 3d string at the 4th fret !!

Probably at that time you simply thought: OK G string 4th fret gives B; so what? As a beginner it's difficult to see the possible repercussions this simple fact can have on the fingerings of everything the guitar is: scales, chords, intervals.

This "missing fret" is directly responsible for 2/3 of all the fingerings you try to memorise when learning your scales, chords, arpeggios etc...

What I'm saying is, you would have to learn 2/3 less scales, chords, arpeggios patterns if the guitar was  tuned with equal intervals between all strings (all 4th: EADGCF) the B string would be tuned to C and consequently the E string to F.

Sure this has been done for a long time but in my opinion a lot of "the sound of the guitar" is lost by this tuning scheme. The solution may be to try to better understand this "missing fret" phenomenon and gain the same simplified thinking as the EADGCF scheme.

Rule one: when an interval, scale, chord, arpeggio is shifted to the next higher string set and uses the B string add 1 fret to the B string

Rule two: when an interval, scale, chord, arpeggio is shifted to the next lower string set and uses the B string remove 1 fret to the G string

On the following diagrams we can see how a common shape is modified by "the missing fret" as it is shifted to the next higher set of strings

major 3d shift Here is a major third being shifted thru the successive string sets. When it reaches the B string we have to add one fret. The hollow dot shows where it would land if the geometry was kept (but wrong interval).
major pentatonic shift this time it's the major pentatonic that goes thru the "missing fret" transformations.
G chord shift A G chord shape transforms to a C chord shape to a F chord shape then to a Bb !!!
E minor shift Em to Am to Dm to Gm (no third)

Take any interval, chord, scale or phrase and shift it to the next higher or lower set of string, play with it!!

Once you play with this for some time you will see it everywhere; it will simplify your understanding of the geometry of the guitar to the point where you will see one shape where there were 3 or 4 before.

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