I like the general idea - I would like a game tool like this.
(and before I give my feedback, I should say, I spent a year or two working on a solo indie Zelda/Diablo mishmash focused on teaching guitar fretboards and music theory back in 2006-2009. A video of that incomplete game is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6O32PFGZCE . It relied on players playing intervals and chords to cast spells, for both fighting and puzzle solving, in an ARPG real-time context. I had to pause development due to life, but I'm desperately hoping to find a way to finish and ship it.)
Anyway, I think that your game is... well, really, really hard. More specifically, it feels like it gives a lot of negative feedback right from the get go.
If it were me, I would probably add substantially more scaffolding early on - pull from a smaller section of the fretboard at first for the player to master and get more positive feedback, then expand from there in much more incremental steps. I also feel like the timer feels pretty harsh and negative at the beginning. I've played guitar for many years but have, myself, not really memorized all the higher notes on all the higher strings, so I'm actually receptive for what this tool is doing. But running out of time and then losing a life while I'm trying to count off notes feels frustrating, like it's actively interrupting me doing the learning activity I'm there to do.
Hope that helps! As I say, I like the general idea and would love to see a more fleshed out version.
your video of the game looks pretty awesome. I assume you're a game dev. Not being one myself, it looks very....elaborate and hard to build for someone with my skills.
Regarding your feedback...yeah, I've gotten that feedback a lot. Thats part of the reason why I built the practice mode. Did you get a chance to try it? It doesnt have the timer and you can take your time counting notes to get better. And my favorite part: You can pick and choose what frets and strings you want to focus on.
But your point still stands: There is a need for a gentler introduction and I do have that in mind: A Duolingo style Spaced repetition approach that starts off with 5-7 notes a day and builds up from there. Once you're done with the course, you can play the game to reinforce and test the concepts. What do you think?
Yeah, I have a deep game development background (both in industry and as an indie dev), but I've also worked closely for a number of years on building learning game prototypes with education professors from UW-Madison and CMU. So this is a space I'm super interested in.
I actually had added a comment that I ended up deleting about Duolingo (and Dragonbox, another educational game that I think structures learning pretty nicely). I was going to add the reference specifically because of their spaced repetition and incremental addition of skills, but then I deleted the comment because, well, those games are pretty elaborate, too, and I was mindful of the scope you looked like you were aiming for.
TBH, Im so high off of building something that finally gets some traction instead of sinking into oblivion that I'm freely making grand plans of building elaborate features instead of aggressively limiting scope like I really should. Oh well...this will fade anyways, let me have my dream roadmap for now.
If it helps, I did try the practice mode, but still found it frustrating. I was hoping when I got the wrong note it would not only show me the correct one, but also show me all the notes at the same time. That would help me correct my logic around why I picked the wrong one. That would also help me memorize the patterns.
I would love to get sucked into learning guitar with a game like that. I think there's an untapped niche for educational games with the depth, progression, and addictive aspects of RPGs. Hope you get the chance to resume development
- fretboard interval identification. shows two dots on the fretboard, you are supposed to indicate the interval between them. this is useful for bridging the gap between audio interval recognition and actually playing by ear. since you already have the functionality for selecting notes - which the Tenuto app does not - a useful extension would be to have it where the app presents a note and an interval, and you select the note that is that interval distance from that note on the fretboard.
- fretboard chord indentification. shows multiple dots on the fretboard, you are supposed to indicate what chord it is. the tenuto app doesnt have the functionality for you to indicate what the inversion is. you could also do a similar extension where the fretboard has some notes selected and a chord display, and you select the rest of the notes needed to complete the chord.
Hi, first of all congrats for your effort, but I think this is hitting a little bit on the HN information/app hoarder mentality for many commenters and not from people actually planning to use it. I don't think that there is an extreme amount of transfer from learning the fretboard on your website and on the guitar, as there is a different context from using your mouse to select a note on a image representation of the fretboard and on a real guitar. I don't think it wouldn't work, but it would be much better if there was an actual guitar involved, like using the microphone to identify if the user played the correct note on a real guitar.
I personally think there's at least a 90%+ transfer rate. Whether thats extreme or not is left to your judgement. When I navigate the fretboard, a LOT of my navigation is done visually (based on the dot inlays, notes from other strings etc). If you want to know how much of your fretboard navigation is visual, try playing a guitar with no inlays and you can quickly find out.
Playing this game is forcing you to use those immediate visual cues to memorize
the notes and that part transfers really well. The bit thats missing is
1) The game's perspective is artifical. Noone looks at their guitar like that. Thankfully our brains our fully capable of maintaining spatial orientation while handling perspective shift. You can stand in the middle of Manhattan , look at google maps and translate a squiggly blue line to a 3 dimensional navigation path that looks nothing like it. Fretboard navigation isnt that much different from Manhattan navigation if you think about it.
2) There's a lot that I know about my guitars from just the sense of touch. 4th string 2nd fret (E) feels very comfortable under my fingers. 3rd string 2nd fret (A) does not. The string cuts into my finger because its still thick but its not coiled. The same string on the 12th fret feels very different because of the tension and the raised action. All that sensory data associated with each note is lost when you use a poor facsimile like a computer game to substitute a real world concept. Which is why I view this as a supplement and not a substitution
Microphones...yeah...more work..more complexity for fewer gains IMHO. I view this as app as great for squeezing guitar time when you're without a guitar: Eating lunch at office desk, commuting by train/bus etc. That part gets lost with the microphone business
I originally had it so that tapping the correct note used to play the note instead of at the beginning and people requested it this way. Did you have the audio on? I feel like there's two bits of positive reinforcement in place:
1. Your point score appears and floats away
2. A "correct answer" sound plays
What would you change about this? If you replace the "correct answer" sound with the sound of the note, the positive reinforcement sound gets weakened. Because you hear a different sound every time you hit the correct answer. Its like training Pavlov's dog for different bell sounds instead of the same bell sound.
Looks great! I like the idea of focusing on highlighted regions at a time. I spent some time exploring similar form factors for learning the fretboard, focusing intervals and shapes more than the notes themselves (link below) - I implemented a two-step drag-and-release gesture with visual feedback for selecting positions on a mobile device, and I think it helps avoid frustrating mis-taps. Maybe something to consider for your UI as well. The additional modules look interesting! Bookmarked.
This is great. Thanks for sharing.I do have stuff in mind thats very similar but a bit of a different form factor. I havent tried your app on mobile so I dont know about the two step thing but I'm excited to take a look
Thank you for appreciating the app, its sweeter coming from someone who's built something similar. Also, btw, dont forget to sign up for updates to stay up to date on when new modules are released.
The way the game is presented is as a kind of flash card app: Guess and check. That can work - spaced repetition has been demonstrated to work for symbolic knowledge.
However...the way in which we learn this kind of skill - which is also a muscle memory skill - is not in consciously making a guess "I think it's E here" as we play, it's in "monkey see, monkey do" - associating motion with an idea, and generalizing on that. We know how to "walk to the left" without guessing. That's why musicians play so many scales and arpeggios.
So when the game presents a randomized grabbag of question-answer knowledge demonstration, there's no preparatory step that would contextualize it in a relationship to a motion like "travel through all positions of E". You just grind through punishment until you figure it out. That's always been a problem with educational software because it's often difficult to successfully isolate a concept into a motion - if presented with lots of information we'll pick up on the most obvious cues and ignore the other parts that we might need to rely upon for a full memory.
Find a way of presenting an isolated pattern followed by the current knowledge demonstration, and the software will probably be 10x as effective.
Perhaps the first level of the game should start closer to the nut in the campfire zone. This is an important zone to understand and shows wear on many guitars. Players then use that as the basis to venture into open wilderness, e.g., by using octave patterns to identify matching notes on different frets.
This very much! I wasted so much time trying to "memorize" the fretboard. It comes naturally by practicing music. Almost all of it began from knowing just the low E string and applying first octave patterns, then other intervals as I understood what they were. Without musical context, it's not really all that useful to know how to instantly name a note on a fret. Maybe finding octaves quickly, given a starting note, could be useful in the time-based game realm.
the ui control is wonky...colored means unselected, black means selected (I had it the other way round and people complained so I flipped it). Make sure you have the right selections if you're not seeing it work right. I will fix it soon and make a more intuitive interface
Let me know if if fixes your problem
Another bass player here--very glad to see the option!
The PS3/X360 instrument training game "Bandfuse" (which had the misfortune of coming out around the same time as RockSmith and went bankrupt within like a year of release) had a really great circle-of-fifths training mode...but only for guitar. :(
Yeah, its just that I have to pareto-prioritize. The more time I spend on more niche market features, it takes away time from features that 80% of the people want. I'd rather come back around once I have a fully functional product for guitar players and then start serving the custom tunings, the alternate instruments and so on..
Am I the only one finding this fretboard representation not jiving with their mental model? The thing is, I'm no Jeff Healey, so I never place the neck before me this way. Generally, I look down only to correct my longitudinal position, and then I just place my fingers in the right place. At the moment of actual finger placement I don't really visualize the fretboard, but I kind of see/feel it through the neck outward of my body.
Also, the unnatural trapezoid shape of the board throws me off a bit too.
BTW, I don't believe the reversed vertical orientation makes it any better for me. Looks like I just use my spatial orientation and tactile facilities, not visual.
Is it necessary to learn the notes on the fretboard?
I grew up playing piano, so the keyboard is my reference. Years later, learning the fretboard has been less about learning which string/fret combination sounds a given note, but instead, given a certain chord:
1. where is the root of that chord, and with that as my anchor...
2. where is the 3rd, 5th, and 7th of that chord? Only once I can easily find those three intervals...
3. where is the 9th, 11th, and 13th. Finally, the sharps/flats of all of the above.
When it comes to organizing all of this across the fretboard, I've found the heptatonic approach to the fretboard to make the most sense and the most economical. YMMV.
Agreed that learning intervals and chord tone degrees is important. It is indeed supported by having familiarity with the underlying notes since they comprise the chords and scales.
Learning the fretboard helps players to find chords and chord inversions further up the neck. For example, the player knows they can move the E shape to the barre A position, which preserves all of the interval relationships from a new root.
Knowing the fretboard notes is a bit like playing in daylight rather than campfire darkness.
Ahhh...I think I get it. I think you're asking for the "Guitar Teacher view" like you would see the fretboard when the guitar is in someone else's hands or just propped up sideways. I get it.So this view:
Just to add to the confusion, I would be really interested in a mode where everything is completely upside-down, including the text.
Basically, my instinct was to hold my phone as if it's the neck of the guitar, and look down at it to simulate the perspective of playing guitar.
If the whole game was flipped upside-down, this would work really naturally.
Hey I love this! Although there are some issues in the first game with touches not registering and also the entire play board not being visible.
I think what other people are saying about graded difficulty is also true. I have a degree in classical guitar performance. So I did fine. But I've had the fret board memorized for years. Unless there were settings I missed that could restrict the play area, I don't think most would be able to use this very effectively as a learning tool.
Neither the fact that it completely hijacks the back button, nor the fact that it plays sounds without consent does anything to endear this to me. I'd suggest giving those areas a bit of polish :)
As a practical question for how you learn guitar, it might also be a good idea to show notation instead of the name of the note (or both, or a choice). The number of times you need to find a note by name in guitar playing is... rare.
I dont think it hijacks the back button. Let me know where you're seeing this behavior. If by hijack the back button you mean standard SPA behavior where the routing is handled by the app while the whole app runs on the same html file then yeah, thats a _very_ common and standard way of building apps these days
Audio without permission...yeah I can see that being inconvenient even though its not like autoplaying a youtube video (It's just 1 note)
Notation doesnt seem as popular these days as tabs are, so it was an intentional decision
I personally find notes on the fretboard all the time but I guess there are as many ways of playing the guitar as there are opinions.
If I may gently poke some fun at this comment, this is the most Hacker News comment I've gotten in this thread so far :). I hope you know what I mean
oh man....its somehow triggering the mobile device check to enforce landscape mode. Easiest fix is to drag the bottom edge up to make it more "landscapey" and it'll go away. I really should check for the desktop before I enforce the tilt device thing
Really cool! Like i_c_b mentioned my only feedback is that, even in the practice mode, there's a lot of negative feedback.
I'd recommend adding a step to the practice mode where whatever highlighted region of the fretboard you're practicing has all of the notes visible, and then over time the notes are taken away as you build up your memorization.
Noted! Thank you! I'm planning on building a Duolingo style spaced repetition system for this. I really wanted to work on more modules like Intervals and Triads (for selfish reasons) but enough people have made the point you made that I think its logical to address the issue.
There’s a simpler way this is done, where there’s a long narrow sticker that goes on the neck of the instrument. I can’t seem to find the right picture. The internet has stickers that go on the body, or between the frets, but my friend found a ribbon sticker and used them when learning ukulele.
My daddy used to say, there's as many ways of learning guitar technique as there's lost picks in the universe :) Ok I made that up, but the point stands. At the end of the day, whatever works for you is the best solution
Having said that, I've spent the last few years reading up on memory retention, SRS and using Anki a lot for languages and what I've found is that Recall is extremely important for increasing the strength of the memory. With stickers and ribbons, the notes are right there for you. Like training wheels. Never challenging you to recall. Keeping you coming back for more of that ribbon help. ..you get the idea.
- Name the chord (maybe give multiple choice) would be good
- Popular tunings would be good perhaps as a hard mode. Fining G on standard tuning is one thing, but if you're tuned to D or playing a 7 string, things get interesting.
woah. i created something similar recently. but my app lets play along by providing an easy way to interpret the chords of any song you can think of. i built a really neat interactive music player that breaks the song down by bpm, pitch, key, and (of course) a preview of the upcoming chords and when to play them.
I like it, my first reaction: wow, level zero is hard. I would rather have level zero not time-based. Or at least slowly fade-in some hints (like show another random note on the fretboard for guiding).
Try the practice area, it has no timer and you can select strings and notes to focus on. And stay tuned and sign up for updates if you can, I'll build a kinder, gentler learning module to go with the game
interesting game. I like the old Rocksmith 2014 remastered game a lot to learn guitar. It also has some mini games inside, e.g. scale racer and other stuff. The main drawback of that one is that the note names are not really shown so you don't memorize it and have to actively do it yourself.
anyway, maybe you find some inspiration from that game...
Obviously this would be a ways into it, but it would be nice for those who play in different tunings to be able to change the notes. I've got the fret board (mostly) memorized for standard, but not for alternate tunings.
I've got this request a lot. And honestly its not too hard to implement for this module but it would make other modules reallly hairy. I might implement it in a way that it only applies to certain modules.
One question: Would a dropdown of tuning options(Standard/DADGAD,Drop D) be enough or is there a strong case to be made for user customized tunings per string?
I spend a lot of time experimenting with atypical tunings that wouldn't be captured in a dropdown, and I could see this being really a useful tool for learning my way around tunings where there isn't much existing repertoire to pull from. It's a super niche usecase though, you'd probably cover 99% of players needs with just Standard, drop d, DADGAD, open C and maybe open D.
Absolutely, you're totally right about the learning mode. I've got that request a lot since I released it and I plan to build that in once I build some more modules: A spaced-repetition based module that teaches you the notes a few at a time. Kindof like Duolingo
The reason why I didnt make it is because I'm an intermediate player myself and I guess right now it resonates with intermediate players who mostly kindof know the notes but have a lot of blind spots. While the feature you requested is more targeted towards newer guitar players
Re: Visual vs feel, if by feel you mean sensory input like touch and how the guitar strings feel? yeah, I totally agree. Except I cant build software to replicate that so this is about as good as it gets . That said, I still find it very valuable for making visual connections for notes and intervals
you're totally right. I'm an intermediate player myself so I kindof built it with an intermediate bias. Did you try the practice mode? There's no timer there and you can filter it by strings and frets so you can focus on a small area of the fretboard at a time.
But yeah, as I mentioned in a couple other comments here, I plan to build a gradual learning module using spaced repetition that starts with a few notes at a time. Does that sound better?
If I might make a suggestion related to the gaps that you mentioned that motivated the tool...
It's hard to communicate the real importance of learning scales and chords at the same time. Specifically, learning all of the important scales and then building chords from those and finding more fingerable/playable voicings for them. Even going as far as removing strings and still trying to complete the scales/chords and then alternate tunings, etc. It's really a slow grind that there's no shortcut for.
Most players skip a lot of this important early practice because it's about the furthest thing from playing songs on the guitar like they want to.
Doing something like classical guitar lessons might be extremely helpful/humbling. Variety also helps -- I got a lot better once I started playing in multiple tunings and different kinds of guitars (#strings, baritone, etc) -- heck I'm learning the Stick right now.
Stick = Chapman stick? Mad respect for you man. I dont think I'm smart enough to handle more stringed instruments.Especially not that thing :).
>It's hard to communicate the real importance of learning scales and chords at the same time. Specifically, learning all of the important scales and then building chords from those and finding more fingerable/playable voicings for them. Even going as far as removing strings and still trying to complete the scales/chords and then alternate tunings, etc. It's really a slow grind that there's no shortcut for.
YESSSS! 1000% Thats my precise motivation with this app. What I've released is just the first step. I want to do all the intervals, the triads, the chords, the scales...you get the idea.
That slow grind you're describing is very very true. I couldnt cut it. This app is my attempt to basically get where you're at. Its not a shortcut but lets just say its the fun way to learn where you're less likely to give up.
Not sure if you signed up for the updates but I might hit you up when I build more modules because I'd love to hear from people who're further along in the journey
alternate tunings have been requested quite a bit and honestly its not super hard to build for this module but things get really wonky in the further levels. I really want to pareto-prioritize and right now alternate tunings are not making the cut.
To anyone else reading this, if alternate tunings are your thing, please leave a +1 to the parent comment or write to me on Twitter/reddit/discord, that ways I can gauge interest more accurately
Thanks. It's not a showstopper for me, but my brother and I are getting in to DADGAD and open G and stuff, and... it's something I think it would help folks (but we're a minority - that's why they're 'alternate' tunings!).
I've tried DADGAD before and I loved it. Now that I think about it, thats the #1 reason why I quit playing around with alternate tunings: I would have to learn the notes and chords all over again. Ya know, I might think about it. There's a loooot more to build as you can probably tell and I dont want to overwhelm myself right now. But you've convinced me to give it a shot when the time is right
I hope I'll get back to this comment one day
im sorry to hear that. I want to make sure this works for you. Could you give me a couple more details?
1. Desktop or Mobile?
2. Whats the exact behavior? Is there a button that doesnt respond? Would a screenshot help clarify?
3. If Desktop, Can you screenshot the web inspector console?
I know I'm asking for a lot but I'd really appreciate it
a) my blacklisting at DNS level
b) my browser plugins
c) other security setup locally
omg, I would pay $100 for something like this on the Chapman Stick fretboard. ("which Stick fretboard and which tuning" of course are the hard questions on said weird instrument... but 10-string Baritone Melody please? :) )
I added my email to your mailing list, but also please feel free to reach out directly to me over email (it's on my account info).
I put together an observablehq notebook with a Stick fretboard (https://observablehq.com/@cscheid/hanon-01-diagrams-for-chap...) for me to work on some fingering patterns, but something like fretboardfly would be so awesome (even if it were just one side at a time). A configuration file like "string tunings + fretboard markers" would totally do it.
After reading your comment I dug around to see how many Chapman Stick players there were (What's the TAM for anything targeted at Stick players..if you pardon my startup-speak). The stick subreddit seems exceptionally small: 596 members. I'm guessing there are non-reddit niche community forums with much bigger numbers to boast of.
P.S. Mr. Hanon gets around (Started Piano lessons a few weeks ago and Hanon #1 was a part of my first lesson)
> After reading your comment I dug around to see how many Chapman Stick players there were (What's the TAM for anything targeted at Stick players..if you pardon my startup-speak). The stick subreddit seems exceptionally small: 596 members. I'm guessing there are non-reddit niche community forums with much bigger numbers to boast of.
So, each Stick has a unique serial number. I got mine in 2021 and it's 6596. So that gives you an idea. I totally understand if the market isn't there.
Piano keyboard is easy to memorize since it's a repeating pattern of 7 white notes interspersed with five black notes, and you have exactly one note per location and one location per note.
Guitar fretboard is more complicated because there's no obvious repeating pattern if you're a beginner, a single note can be found at multiple locations, and a single location can represent multiple notes if you start to bend the string. Because of that, a guitar fretboard is much harder to learn than a keyboard, but it also makes transposition (changing the key of a tune from one note to another) much easier on a guitar than on a keyboard.
Well it is fretless, but really a cellist has a mental image of it and that is a “fret board”. The only difference is there’s no tactile feedback - you just get a feel for spacial placement and have to make millisecond corrections based on auditory feedback of pitch.
This fret fly app would be super helpful to a beginning cellist. This goes for those other, lesser stringed instruments as well btw.