Sure, point taken. Good post! The eyes are our dominant sense, and it's easy to let them take over, and forget that music is nothing but sound. I think, for me, I was forced to train my (poor quality) ears at the beginning, because I wanted to be able to play music that there was no notation or tab for; so I had to work things out from records (and tapes). I really struggled, but it was an invaluable experience. I used songbooks for other stuff whenever I could, I was happy to "cheat" . But there was always other stuff in the sound that wasn't in the books, so I was always trying to copy sounds. I never learned scale patterns, only chord shapes, although I did understand something about major scale structure. So I was never drawn into that visual fret pattern thing. I guess I was lucky!