There are several approaches to learning about the notes on the guitar fretboard . First and foremost, the result is important: you should be able to find every note on the guitar.
Personally, I always take a path that involves a combination of strong memorization, intelligent derivation and experience.
Step 1: Memorize notes on the fretboard
The first step is to learn the chromatic scale by heart. It goes like this:
C – C # – D – D # – E – F – F # – G – G # – A – A # – H
With their help, you take the E and A strings one after the other and memorize all the notes on them up to the 12th fret . When you have that, almost half of the work is done – you know the notes on 3 strings : low E, A and high E.
Step 2: Smart Derivation
When the notes are on the A and the two E strings , the next step is to derive the notes on the D, G and B strings. To do this, we use a method called “ Note Location ”. With Note Location you can derive the notes on the other strings of the guitar based on the E and A strings .
Let’s see how we can find the tone “G #” on the whole fingerboard if we know the notes on the E and A strings:
I think you can already see where the journey is going. There are two triangles on the graphic. Once starting from the low E string and once starting from the A string. The triangles connect octaves of the same tone with each other. If you remember the distances, you can derive your first grades today!
Alao keep in mind that A tone is always 5 frets further on the next lower string. Exceptions to this are the H and G strings. A tone on the H-string is always 4 frets (instead of 5!) Further on the G-string .
The octave of a tone is always 12 frets higher on the same string. You have probably already found this out yourself, but it is an important tool for Note Location.
Step 3: Experience
This step takes the longest of all, maybe even a couple of years for you to gain experience. Sure, you will be able to use the magic triangles of the Note Location in no time, but until you are able to name notes on the entire fretboard without thinking twice and that is the goal, it simply takes time if you do not have intensive practice sessions on this topic want to use.
My tip would be that when learning always say the note names to yourself or – even better – sing along with them. It’s a very effective method, and it’s even fun! With this in mind, I wish you a lot of fun with the implementation.
Where are the notes on the guitar?
What is not immediately obvious to many guitar beginners is where the notes are on the guitar. So, how do I know, for example, where the note C is on the fingerboard? The structure of the guitar is pretty simple in this regard, but quite different from the sheet music layout of a piano, for example.
On the piano, the notes are arranged according to the C major scale – at least the white keys. If there is a whole tone, two semitones between two white keys, there is a black key in between, which makes the semitone playable. Here are two simple rules!
When learning to play the guitar, we don’t have to distinguish between black and white keys, but rather strings and frets. In this workshop we assume that your guitar is tuned in the standard tuning; So from lowest to highest string like this: E – A – D – G – B – E
To learn the notes on the guitar fretboard, all you need to do is remember two simple rules:
The name of the respective string corresponds to the note that sounds when we play it empty. That means: If you play the E-string empty, not grabbing a fret, an E sounds, if you play the A-string empty, an A sounds, etc.
The grade in a fret is always a semitone higher than that of the fret before it. The fret of a fingerboard is not based on a scale, as with the white keys on the keyboard, but simply chromatically.
Let’s look at a simple example:
If we strike the E string empty, we get an E. If we now grab the first fret of the E string, we get an F. Why? Because F is a semitone higher than E. Let’s move on: the note in the 2nd fret of the E string is a F #. Because: 1st fret was an F -> semitone higher (second fret) is a F #.
If you know the chromatic scale by heart, you can always deduce every note on the fretboard. Can you If not, then quickly remind you here again:
C – C # – D – D # – E – F – F # – G – G # – A – A # – B – C
Here is another simple example:
You probably know from the C major chord that the 3rd fret of the A string is a C. If not, you can easily deduce that: A blank is an A.
1st fret A string is a semitone higher than the “0.” So it has to be an A #
2nd fret is a semitone higher than 1st fret (A #), so it has to be a B.
3rd fret is a semitone higher than 2nd fret (B), so it has to be a C.
What note does it sound now when we play the fourth fret of the A string? C #
Hey! check out 10 professional tricks for a better tone