Ok, so here it goes :
It’s a little exercise that only takes 3 minutes, so it’s perfect to start your practice every day.
Take a piece of paper and draw a vertical line, so you have 2 columns. In the first column write 10 notes at random, one on each line. A note can be natural or accidental (flat or sharp), so for example the note Ab on the 1st row, D# on the 2nd, F on the 3rd, etc.
In the 2nd column, also at random, write down one of the three positions (in Ben’s jargon : Y-position, X-position, bar position, in Alan Munde’s terms : 1st, 2nd and 3rd position, Leon Hunt uses “root position, 1st inversion, 2nd inversion”).
So you have something like this :
Now the purpose is to fret the (major) chord of each note with the associated shape. You start with your fretting hand on your knee, and then fret the 1st chord. Then put your hand back on your knee, and fret the 2nd chord, etc.
If you don’t know the position of the chord on the fretboard immediately, go to the chord of a note you DO know, and count up or down. For instance, if you don’t know where to find B in the 2nd position (X-shape), but you know to find the G chord in the 2nd position, then fret that chord, and slide up your hand 1 fret for Ab (or G#), 2 frets for A, 3 frets for Bb (or A#), and at last 4 frets for B. SAY THOSE CHORDS OUT LOUD WHILE YOU’RE FRETTING THEM ! You could also have fretted C, and slide down 1 fret. The important thing is that you start on a note or chord you KNOW, and then slide up or down. When you repeat that enough, a chord that was previously unknown, becomes known after a while, becoming itself a springboard to find other chords, thus expanding your knowledge of the fretboard geography.
After a while, you can expand that exercise by drawing a third column in which you randomly assign the chord to be major or minor. After that you can expand even further to include dominant 7ths and diminished chords. That should suffice as far as bluegrass goes.
Have fun !
BTW I attended Leon’s class for a week, and not only is he a supernice guy, but he also has a knack to explain difficult topics in the most simple way… much the same as Banjo Ben does !