Learning The Fretboard

author: hounddogmusic12 date: 06/22/2009 category: chords
rating: 9.3 / votes: 35 
If you have ever known anyone who has or does play the piano... ask them what the first thing that they learned was. I bet they will tell you that they learned where "middle C" is... followed by where the rest of the C notes are... they learned how to find "octaves" by learning a very simple pattern. There is an easy pattern for finding octaves on a guitar too. But if you ask alot of guitarists how to quickly find all of the octaves of any given note on the guitar, they can't do it. Though learning the pattern will enable you to move freely around the neck. Let's get started. Start at any fret on the 6th string. For the example we will start on the 3rd fret or the G note...to find the next octave you simply skip a string and move up 2 frets. Looks like this in tab form.
e--------
b--------
g--------
d-----5--
a--------
E--3-----
Now to go from a note on the 4th string to it's next octave, simply skip a string and go up 3 frets. Like this:
e-----------
b--------8--
g-----------
d-----5-----
a-----------
E--3--------
Very easy right? How about if the root note is on the 5th string? Here's the easy part. The pattern is exactly the same. For this example I will show you C notes:
e--------8---
b------------
g-----5------
d------------
a--3---------
E------------
Ok that was part 1. Here's part 2. Starting with a root on the 6th string again, we will stay with the "G" note at the 3rd fret. This time skip 2 strings and go back 3 frets.
e----------
b----------
g----0-----
d----------
a----------
E--3-------
Pattern for the 5th and 4th string roots are same. Skip 2 strings and go back 2 frets.
e----------1--
b----1--------
g-------------
d-------3-----
a--3----------
E-------------
Obviously, the 1st and 6th strings are the same note, 2 octaves apart. Let's look at all of the "E" notes across the neck
e--0------------12-----------------24----------------
b-------5--------------17----------------------------
g------------9-----------------21--------------------
d-----2------------14--------------------------------
a----------7---------------19------------------------
E--0------------12-----------------------------------
Now...how does this help? you may ask. Let's look at scales... Instead of mindlessly learning positions across all 6 strings, lets look at scales from root note to root note. Let's start with a 6th string root scale, you have 2 ways to play the scale. "A" Major scale
e--------------------------      e--------------------------  
b--------------------------      b--------------------------  
g--------------------------      g--------------------1--2--
d-----------------4--6--7--  or  d--------------2--4-(6)----
a--------4--5--7-----------      a-----2--4--5--------------
E--5--7--------------------      E--5-----------------------
Note in example 2. You have the option of playing the 7th note of the scale at either the 6th fret 4th string or the 1st fret 3rd string. 5th string root "D" Major scale
e--------------------------      e--------------------------
b--------------------------      b--------------------2--3--
g-----------------4--6--7--      g--------------2--4--------
d--------4--5--7-----------  or  d-----2--4--5--------------
a--5--7--------------------      a--5-----------------------
E--------------------------      E--------------------------
Note, the first example of the 6th string root scale is exactly the same pattern as the first example of the 5th string root scale. 4th string root "G" Major scale
e--------------------------       e--------------------2--3--
b-----------------5--7--8--       b--------------3--5--------
g--------4--5--7-----------       g-----2--4--5--------------
d--5--7--------------------  or   d--5-----------------------
a--------------------------       a--------------------------
E--------------------------       E--------------------------
3rd string root "C" Major scale
e-----------------5--7--8--
b--------5--6--8-----------
g--5--7--------------------
d--------------------------
a--------------------------
E--------------------------
This should be all you need to know about the major scale positions, without alot of memorization. Please let me know if this lesson was helpful.
More hounddogmusic12 lessons:
+ Modes And Diatonic Chord Progressions The Basics 07/21/2010
+ DADGAD Tuning The Basics 09/14/2009
+ Chord Building 101 Chords 08/25/2009
+ Playing With Triads For Beginners 07/13/2009
+ Understanding Guitar Triads Chords 06/19/2009
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