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How to Learn Guitar Fretboard Notes?

Mastering the guitar fretboard notes is the first and foremost need for advancing one’s musical abilities.

Even when we memorize the fret numbers, we must remember the names of the notes. While this may be sufficient for a novice, the ability to recognize individual notes will be essential as you progress as a guitar player.

Learning the guitar fretboard notes may seem overwhelming initially. However, it’s doable after you know the basics. Mastering the fingerboard is necessary if you want more freedom and ease in every motion on the guitar. 

Let not the fingerboard deter you. This journey can be simpler than you would have imagined. Put on your thinking cap without any further ado and get to work. 

Guitar Fretboard Notes: At A Glance

The guitar fretboard notes start with open strings: E-A-D-G-B-E, continuing with 1 to 12th fret notes. Following the 12th fret, the guitar fretboard layout is repetitive. The 13th fret is similar to the 1st (thinnest) but an octave higher. 

A full rundown of the guitar fretboard notes chart is here-

String Fret 1Fret 2Fret 3Fret 4Fret 5 Fret 6Fret 7Fret 8 Fret 9 Fret 10Fret 11 Fret 12
1FF#GG#AA#BCC#DD#E
2CC#DD#EFF#GG#AA#B
3G#AA#BCC#DD#EFF#G
4D#EFF#GG#AA#BCC#D
5A#BCC#DD#EFF#GG#A
6FF#GG#AA#BCC#DD#E

How Do You Memorize A Fretboard? [10 Options That Won’t Fail]

Memorizing the notes is the first stage in mastering the guitar’s fretboard layout. Most learners learn the whole neck in 25 days, but some may need more time. 

That’s fine, though. The goal is not to make rapid progress through the exercises; what matters is that you fully grasp what you are learning. 

While first learning the fretboard notes, you might have shown a diagram like the picture below: 

But you’re not a computer. So, you can’t just memorize it like that. 

We have some instructions that should help you quickly memorize the notes. But you have to follow them correctly!

  1. Know The Strings

The first thing is a simple formula for finding any fretboard’s notes is to know the string’s name like E-A-D-G-B-E. 

In conventional guitar tuning, the strings are strung from lowest to highest pitch or thickest to thinnest. You should begin with the three notes played on the low string E: E-F-G. 

  1. Break It Down Into Sections

Randomly select any of these three notes(E, F, G) and play it as fast as possible. Remember, you must do this after you have called it out, not simultaneously with the other two notes. Try it out for a minute. 

By the end of the second day, make sure you’ve memorized all three notes. If you still need to figure it out, give yourself an extra day. 

If you can play the previous notes, add A note on the low key. Aimlessly utter aloud each of the four note’s names- E, F, G, and A- as fast as possible and play the notes individually. Try it out for a minute. 

Keep going in the same way. Add one additional note each day, knowing you can play the ones before it without qualms. Repeat this process for every string. 

The chart below shows the natural notes on all strings:

DaysE StringA StringD StringG StringB Stringe String
1-F1831061
2-C8310518
3-G3105083
4-D10507310
5-A5072105
6-E072950
7-B729407

On the first day, you will learn the precise spot of the F note on each string, such as the first fret of the E string, the eighth fret of the A string, and so on.

  1. Remember Notes With Mnemonics 

Mnemonics may improve your memory retention. When recalling the open string notes (EADGBE), a song like- “Every Angry Dog Growls and Bites Eventually” can be helpful. 

  1. Put Patterns And Landmarks To Use 

Understand the relationship between the fretboard’s intervals, octaves, and chord structures. Once you are familiar with the low E key, you can go up or down two strings to get identical sounds on the high E key, all by finding the same pitch. 

  1. Stick To Playing Only One Note At A Time 

Instead of attempting to recall each note in order as you start to learn the fretboard, choose one note at a time and study it well. 

Each string (inside 12 frets) will only have one occurrence of each note. However, the pattern can be moved, like the chords and keys. Make it a daily goal to commit at least one note to memory; if needed, take additional time. 

Play the notes for five to ten minutes to establish a link between your brain and muscles. For better memorization, try uttering the note’s name aloud while you practice. It would help if you did this several times a day. 

  1. Guitar Fretboard Notes 

It’s necessary to be familiar with the musical letter notes before you acquire knowledge of the guitar fretboard. Seven letters (A-G) identify guitar keynotes: A-B-C-D-E-F-G. 

  1. Musical Alphabets 

There are a few subtle differences between the musical alphabet and the one you learned in elementary school. The seven notes in the musical alphabet are natural since there are neither flats nor sharps. You’ll find all the flats and sharps to play within this range. 

The notes there are considered natural as they remain unaltered from their original shape, free of sharps and flats. To increase a note by one semitone or half-step, you use a sharp (#), and to drop it by one semitone, you use a flat (♭).

There are twelve notes in all, including sharps and flats:

The following notes are identical despite their differing names. These are known as enharmonic:

A# B♭C# / D♭D# / E♭F# / G♭G# / A♭

 A semitone separates each note. It takes two semitones to travel from A to B and one semitone to go from A to A#/B♭. B and E do not include sharps, as you can see. The reason is that the following natural note immediately follows these notes by only one semitone.

 The word “step” is often used to denote the separation of two pitches. Two semitones make up a complete step, while one semitone makes up half a step.

  1. Octave Note 

“Octave” describes a group of notes that share a name. The main distinction is an octave variation in pitch, which may be either higher or lower depending on your starting point.

Take a look at this example. Play an open D string. The twelfth fret of the D string is the note you should play next. Both notes are D, but the one on the 12th fret is higher pitched. 

If you don’t want to perform crazy finger extends, missing a string will always get you to the closest octave.

  1. Rule of BC and EF

Except for BC and EF, every natural note has a sharp and a flat between them. To get to the following natural note, just half-step between these two. From point B, you may ascend to point C. You may get to E by descending from F.

  1. String Names 

E, A, D, G, B, and E are the strings that you need to use when tuning to standard. Those notes sounded like you played an open string, meaning you’re not holding down a key at any pitch. 

This will serve as a starting point for your learning journey. Remember that your high and low strings are E, so you won’t have to learn as many notes for each.

Guitar Notes on 6th String 

A flat E begins the sixth string. The pitch rises by one semitone with each fret from an open E to an F to an F#. Remember that each time you see a sharp (like F#), it may also be represented as the flat of the natural note immediately above it (G♭). 

When you encounter a flat note, such as B♭, it is possible to write it as the sharp of the natural note below it, which is A#. Enharmonic notes are what they sound like. In other words, two notes with the same pitch but distinct names.

Guitar Notes On 5th String 

The 5th string starts with A as the open position. 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, and 12. 

Guitar Notes On 4th String

The fourth string’s open note is D, and the naturals are found on frets 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, and 12.

Guitar Notes On 3rd String

G is the open positional key that begins the third string. The natural notes are found at frets 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, and 12.

Guitar Notes On 2nd String 

The natural notes on the second string, which begins with B fretted open, are found on frets 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, and 12.

Guitar Notes On 1st String

The note difference between the 6th  string and the 1st  string is only 2 octaves higher. That’s it.

Guitar Fretboard Notes For Beginners

To simplify learning guitar fretboard notes, beginners can follow the chromatic scale. It’s used to describe all twelve notes in conventional Western music concepts. The scale is written out in the following way, beginning with the note C.

C – C#/Db – D – D#/Eb -E -F- F#/Gb – G – G#/Ab – A – A#/Bb – B-C

Regardless of the note you begin on, the pattern will keep repeating itself constantly, and the distance between every pitch will remain one fret. 

Go ahead and choose a note. 

Assume you play a note on the low E string’s third fret. Our most recent chart indicates that it’s a G. After that, what note would you play on the sixth fret? The chromatic scale reveals that note three above a G is A#/Bb.

It is easy to understand since each note is separated by one fret. For instance, the 6th fret’s note of the low E key is A#/Bb. Learning the guitar fretboard is as simple as memorizing the chromatic scale.

Take It Easy On Yourself

Avoid feeling overwhelmed by learning guitar chords and scales; instead, take baby steps. It’s important not to stress yourself out. Instead, many guitarists memorize the low E and A notes. Begin by playing the two lowest notes and gradually increase their tempo.

Check These Reddit Threads

Have a look at the Reddit threads- 

  • r/Guitar 
  • r/guitarlessons 
  • r/guitar_therapy 
  • r/musictheory 
  • r/explainlikeimfive 
  • r/InternetIsBeautiful

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Memorize The Notes On The Fretboard?

It’s under consideration. You don’t have to memorize each note on the fretboard; the goal is to learn the whole thing. Memorizing each fret is unnecessary; all that is necessary is to commit the notes E and A to memory. After that, anything else only depends on what you already know. You can easily identify the note you’re playing after understanding a few patterns and mastering neck reference points.

What Is A Natural Note Guitar?

While playing the guitar, a “natural note” is a note that does not need any adjustments, such as a sharp or flat sign. Notes A-G are the natural ones in the conventional guitar tuning. Other notes are C-D-E-F-G. They provide the groundwork for scales, chords, and melodies and are considered fundamental musical elements.

What Note Is The 12 Fret?

A standard guitar has an open string note one octave above the 12th fret. An octave higher note will be produced at the 12th fret compared to the open-string sound at the same pitch. For example, the note at the 12th fret, when played on an open string tuned to E, is an E played one octave higher. Every string on a guitar tuned to standard follows this pattern. 

What Is The 7th Fret?

You can play a flawless fifth note from an open string at the seventh fret. The key for the seventh fret is E Major. This fret is often used for sounds one octave higher than the harmonics. For instance, the B note, located at the twentieth fret of the high E string, is the harmony at the seventh fret. 

Learn Your Guitar Fretboard Notes Today!

Memorizing basic patterns is a big part of learning the guitar fretboard notes. Getting a feel for the fretboard takes more practice than it does; eventually, you’ll be an expert. Keep at it and learn all the fretboard intricacies! 

Stay calm. Avoid rushing, and fully grasp an idea or pattern before moving on to more complex topics.

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WRITTEN BY
Jolene
Jolene, a guitar enthusiast whose journey began by watching their uncle Dennis Jr. craft guitars. Growing up surrounded by the mesmerizing process of guitar creation, Jolene developed a profound appreciation for the artistry behind these instruments.

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