Do you feel like you’re stuck in a rut when it comes to playing guitar? You know all the chords, and you can play some basic scale, but when it comes time to take your playing to the next level, things just seem too difficult?
If so, learning the fretboard notes may be just what you need. Understanding the fretboard helps make navigating your way around the neck easier.
In order to be a successful guitar player, it is important to know where every note is on the fretboard. This can be a bit challenging, but with the right approach, it’s definitely doable.
So if you’re ready to take your playing to new heights, read on!
Learning the guitar fretboard notes as a beginner
Do you feel overwhelmed by the number of notes on a guitar fretboard?
Even if everyone is in agreement that this should not be a part of a beginner’s experience, it is something we can reconsider. We guarantee that the method is simple to learn, it only needs more time.
It may surprise you to learn that you can overcome it if you put in the effort!
Don’t try to memorize it; PLAY IT!
Do yourself a favor and get rid of the burden of memorizing all of the notes on the guitar fretboard. All you need is time to play it to beat it.
Just play it, and over time, you’ll get used to it after a while. Playing it many times will eventually lead to you remembering the notes or where each note is.
Before you give up on learning the notes on the fretboard, take a breath and realize that it is simply just spending more time playing it.
Begin with the Basics
The fretboard is divided into sections called “frets.” There are six strings on a guitar. Each note is represented by a letter.
Finding all of these notes may appear difficult at first, but it does get simpler with time as you start to engage yourself in playing each one.
Remember these three things if you want to get the most out of your fretboard note-learning journey:
The musical alphabet goes from A to G.
In order to understand the fretboard notes, we must first understand the musical alphabet. This is simply a list of all the available notes:
A, B, C, D, E, F, G
These notes repeat infinitely. For example, once you get to G, the next note will be A. That’s all there is to it, so seven notes should get you started with ease.
There are only 12 notes.
The guitar fretboard has only twelve notes, which are divided into two categories: natural notes and the accidentals.
Natural notes are the seven notes in the musical alphabet, A, B, C, D, E, F and G.
Accidentals are the five notes in between the natural notes in Sharps (#) and Flats (b). For example, between C and D there is C sharp (C#) and D flat (Db).
You can find all of the Guitar Fretboard Notes below:
A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab
The notes are arranged in alphabetical order and have a specific interval of whole step or half step.
Intervals are the distance between two notes. A whole step is equal to two frets and a half step is equal to one fret.
With the natural notes A to G, most are a whole step apart, with the exception of two pairs: B & C and E & F, which are a half step interval.
All of the accidentals added together result in a half step interval between notes, which are lined up one next to another.
Learn the notes of the open strings.
The notes on the open six strings of your guitar can be a great way to help you learn the fretboard. They are, from low to high: E, A, D, G, B and E.
“Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie” is a great acronym to help you remember the order of the notes of the open strings.
You may use these notes as a basis for determining all of the 12 frets on the neck.
Start by learning the notes on the low E string, then move to the A string, D string, and so on.
For example, if we start on the low E open string (the sixth string), we have an F at the first fret, followed by these notes as we work our way up the neck:
Low E, 6th string: F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab, A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E
Know vs. Internalize the Guitar Fretboard Notes
Learning all of the notes on the guitar fretboard is a great accomplishment, but it is only the first step. The next step is to internalize them so you can use them in your playing.
There are two ways to learn the notes on the guitar fretboard: by knowing where they are or by internalizing them.
- Knowing where the notes are is simply a matter of memorization.
- Internalizing the notes on the guitar fretboard is a matter of understanding how they relate to each other and being able to find them without having to think about it.
Again, we want you to PLAY IT rather than simply memorize it. Playing it repeatedly builds muscle memory, putting off the burden of memorizing.
Exercises to help you master the guitar fretboard
It’s time to PLAY!
This is not a race of speed, but rather one of consistency and repetition. The goal is to find, play, and remember.
Here are the guidelines for the two exercises that follow:
- Focus on 12 Frets, No Open Strings
- Start by Learning Only Natural Notes
- Begin with a metronome set to 40 bpm, one note per click
- Speak out loud the note names as you play it
- Spend at least 5 to 10 minutes a day
- If you’re comfortable with the exercises, try increasing the speed to 80 bpm
Exercise #1: Play all of the notes in each string.
The first exercise is effective since it teaches you to think linearly. Practice all natural notes going up and down the guitar’s twelve frets, calling out the name of each note. You should practice each string at least ten times.
- Low E, 6th string: F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab, A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E
- A, 5th string: A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab, A
- D, 4th string: D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab, A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, D
- G, 3rd string: G#/Ab, A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G
- B, 2nd string: C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab, A, A#/Bb, B
- High E, 1st string: F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab, A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E
The octave of the open strings’ notes is marked by the 12th fret. From the 12th fret onwards, everything repeats.
Exercise #2: Play one note in all strings.
The second activity is completely different from exercise 1 and will seem considerably more difficult. That’s why it works so effectively – it forces you to recall the notes in a manner that is impossible to “cheat.” Repeat the exercise for each note at least 10 times, and don’t forget to call out the note name every time you change position.
Note 1: A
- e | —————————5——5——————————–
- B | ———————10————–10—————————–
- G | —————-2————————–2———————–
- D | ————7———————————-7——————-
- A | ——-12——————————————12—————
- E | —5—————————————————–5———
Note 2: B
- e | —————————7——7———————————
- B | ———————12————–12—————————–
- G | —————-4————————–4———————–
- D | ————9———————————-9——————-
- A| ——-2——————————————–2—————
- E | —7—————————————————-7———–
Note 3: C
- e | —————————-8—–8———————————
- B | ———————–1————–1——————————
- G | ——————5———————–5————————
- D | ————10——————————–10——————–
- A | ——–3——————————————–3————–
- E | —8—————————————————–8———-
Note 4: D
- e | ——————————10—–10——————————
- B | ————————-3—————–3————————
- G | ——————–7————————–7——————–
- D | ————-12———————————–12—————–
- A | ———5———————————————–5———-
- E | —10——————————————————-10——-
Note 5: E
- e | —————————12——–12——————————
- B | ———————-5——————–5————————
- G | —————–9—————————–9——————–
- D | ————-2————————————–2—————
- A | ———7———————————————-7———–
- E | —12——————————————————12——–
Note 6: F
- e | —————————1——-1———————————
- B | ———————6—————–6—————————-
- G | —————-10————————10————————
- D | ————3————————————3——————
- A | ——-8———————————————8————–
- E | —1—————————————————–1———–
Note 7: G
- e | —————————–3——3——————————–
- B | ————————8—————8—————————-
- G | ——————12————————12————————
- D | ————–5———————————-5——————-
- A | ——–10——————————————–10————–
- E | —3———————————————————3——-
Remember, you don’t have to memorize the pattern. Just play and keep track of where the notes are. If you’ve mastered all of the exercises, add accidentals (b), sharps (#), and flats (b).
You may also try combining two notes at a time, with one note going down and another note going up.
Ready to get started? Let’s go!
When you start learning where the notes are, this will put you in a great position to begin creating chords. The better you know the fretboard, the better you’ll be able to play guitar. By learning all of the notes on the fretboard, you’ll be able to find any note instantly. This will make it much easier to improvise and compose your own music.
It’s time to get moving on the guitar neck!