Probably ever since it was invented in its current incarnation, with its current standard tuning as corner-stone of note layout on the fretboard, people have struggled to come to terms with the guitar.
The ways in which people have attempted this can be best understood if categorized into intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic, in this context means intrinsic to the instrument itself, to the guitar. Extrinsic means additional constructs, external references to handle the guitar by analogy and aren’t worth a second thought.
Notably, Pat Martino is not only a genius musician, but a proponent of intrinsic thinking when it comes to the guitar. His collection of arcane diagrams, The Nature of the Guitar has mystified many a guitar player. With images derived from ‘sacred’ geometry (not sacred to me, hence my use of quotation marks) very much á la Coltrane and his circles, he devised a system that he puts to use to magnificent effect.
But he never explained it. At least not anywhere I can find. So it remains available only to those with true capacity for abstract thinking. Even then, the whole system is predicated on the notion that the guitar is chromatic in nature, given note layout along each string.
This much is true, but it completely ignores the other, more important axis, across the fretboard: important in the context of polyphony, harmony, chords. Without that, we’d have six monochords, not the guitar.
Still, his penchant for spotting symmetry and his insistence on systematic thinking and on not comparing to piano or any other point of reference extrinsic to the fretboard itself sets The Nature of the Guitar very much apart from 99% of the other approaches out there.
In Fretboard Addicts, I have crucially included symmetry across the fretboard, without which the fretboard remains an inextricable mess. This piece of the puzzle, to the best of my knowledge, has never been fully described before. Moreover, I have striven to remove all mysticism and required ability for abstract thought by approaching it very much along the lines of the Montessori Method: every concept comes in through the senses first. It then becomes second nature and understanding ensues naturally.
The Montessori Method was first devised for the mentally impaired. When it comes to the guitar, without a system that covers every aspect of its internal logic, we’re all mentally impaired (and I do include myself, hence my need to develop this system), so it’s imperative to proceed in this fashion.
If a system is to be in control, the number of states of its control mechanism must be greater than or equal to the number of states in the system being controlled. Only variety can control variety. Too complex is what a controller calls a system for which he does not have the requisite variety. ―Ashby’s law
Here’s to simplicity!