This is going to be a lesson about music theory for beginners and those that have always struggled to understand and apply music theory to their playing.
Let me make one thing clear, this is going to be a controversial lesson because I'm going to approach this topic in a different way than most people are used to.
The reason I'm going to take a different approach is because the standard way of teaching plainly isn't helping a lot of people. If you've never really been able to grasp this topic then this lesson is for you.
When I first started playing the guitar I was quite intimidated by the number of notes on the guitar fretboard. I never thought I would be able to remember them all because a guitar with 24 frets has 288 different note locations to remember. But thankfully I found out that there are really simple ways to memorize all the notes on a guitar fretboard within a short space of time if you know the right way to do it.
So the best and easiest way to start learning and understanding music theory as a guitar player is by learning all the notes on the fretboard in a particular way. I'm going to teach you something called the Universal Note Pattern that will make learning all the notes easy, as well as give you a great foundation for learning the CAGED chord pattern, the Major and minor scale as well as the Pentatonic scales in later lessons.
The first thing you can do is cut the number of notes that need to be remembered in half because the guitar fretboard repeats itself after the 12th fret (the first 12 frets are the first octave, the next 12 are the second octave). Because the notes appear in the exact same order from the 12th to the 24th fret as they do from the 1st to the 12th fret. So this means there are only 144 note locations for you to remember.
In total there are 12 different notes in western music, these are: C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/, A, A#/Bb and B. As you can see the #’s and b’s (sharps and flats) lie between the notes C and D, D and E, F and G, G and A, A and B. So we can now cut the number of notes we need to learn down to just 42 because we will automatically see the sharps and flats appear between the other notes once we’ve memorized the positions of C, D, E, F, G and A.
Now look at the Universal Note Pattern that I present in this video:
Between the 1st and 12th fret each note appears only once on each of the six guitar strings. If you imagine the start of the pattern to be the notes that appear on the low and high E strings then you’ll see that the pattern repeats over and over for each of the notes.
Learning this note pattern is the quickest way to memorise all the notes on the guitar fretboard, although there are other ways which will be covered in future lessons.
As I said earlier, it is best to focus on the notes C, D, E, F, G, A and B first because it will mean that you automatically start to see the sharp and flat notes in between them. By the way, remember to always sing or hum the notes that you are playing so that you improve your ability to recognise notes by ear.
Learning this pattern will provide you with a great foundation for learning music theory so I highly recommend you commit it to memory.
In the next lesson I'll show you how it can be used to learn the CAGED chord pattern which will allow you to play chords all over the fretboard, not just within the first three frets.