How to Find and Memorize Fretboard Notes Fast

author: slz.mtarek date: 08/09/2013 category: the basics
rating: 9 / votes: 47 
How to Find and Memorize Fretboard Notes Fast
Here are some easy approaches helps you to find and memorize notes places efficiently fast. Let us make a deal, stop calling frets numbers, whenever you hit a note or telling someone what you plays, call notes by their names, and know what notes are you playing.

Fretboard Notes


             *         *        *        *             ** 
E:|-F-|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|-A-|-A#-|-B--|-C-|-C#-|-D-|-D#-|-E-|
B:|-C-|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|-E-|-F--|-F#-|-G-|-G#-|-A-|-A#-|-B-|
G:|-G#|-A--|-A#-|-B--|-C-|-C#-|-D--|-D#|-E--|-F-|-F#-|-G-|
D:|-D#|-E--|-F--|-F#-|-G-|-G#-|-A--|-A#|-B--|-C-|-C#-|-D-|
A:|-A#|-B--|-C--|-C#-|-D-|-D#-|-E--|-F-|-F#-|-G-|-G#-|-A-|
E:|-F-|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|-A-|-A#-|-B--|-C-|-C#-|-D-|-D#-|-E-|
1) Half step: is the distance between two consecutive frets. (Semitone) is half the distance between two consecutive notes. 2) Whole step: are two half steps. For example, {A} note [5th fret of E string], the next fret [6th] would be a half step (Semitone) which is {A#}, sharper than [A], and lower than [B]. 3) Only two exceptions if you noticed, a Half step is the distance between [B and C], [E and F]. 4) BTW, a half step is the distance between an open string and the 1st fret. SO THAT, you can find notes easily by counting them, start your count with:
  • The open string name if you are in some place close to it.
  • Any note you memorized on the same string.
  • 12th fret has the same notes of the open strings, if you near it, use it; and count in a descending order.

    B E A D Approach

    Before that there's something, it will be an exception you will need to always remember, B and High E strings exceptions, consider these two strings placed a half step forward, like this:
    e----|--0--|--1--|--2--|--3--|--4--|-----------------------------------------
    B----|--0--|--1--|--2--|--3--|--4--|-----------------------------------------
    G----|--1--|--2--|--3--|--4--|------A-N-D------E-T-C.------------------------
    D----|--1--|--2--|--3--|--4--|------A-N-D------E-T-C.------------------------
    A----|--1--|--2--|--3--|--4--|------A-N-D------E-T-C.------------------------
    E----|--1--|--2--|--3--|--4--|-----------------------------------------------
    
    I know this might be confusing, let's go back to B E A D and it will clear it. It's simple, there is always an [E] on the fret just below [B], and there's an [A] below that [E] and a [D] below the [A], check it:
                       *         *         *         *              ** 
    {{E}}:|----|-----|----|----|{A}-|----|-B--|----|----|-D--|----|-E-|
    {{B}}:|----|-----|{D}-|----|{E}-|----|----|----|----|-A--|----|-B-|
      G  :|----|{-A-}|----|{B}-|----|----|-D--|----|-E--|----|----|---|
      D  :|----|{-E-}|----|----|----|----|-A--|----|-B--|----|----|-D-|
    {{A}}:|----|{-B-}|----|----|{D}-|----|-E--|----|----|----|----|-A-|
    {{E}}:|----|-----|----|----|{A}-|----|-B--|----|----|----|----|-E-|
    
    SO THAT, you can find three extra notes, once you detect one of the B E A D.

    Intervals


    Root - minor 2 - 2nd - m3 - 3 - 4 - m5 - 5 - m6 - 6 - m7 - 7   oct.
    A    -   A#    - B   - C  - C#- D - D# - E - F  - F# - G - G# - A  
    B    -   C     - C#  - D  - D#- E - F  - F#- G  - G# - A - A# - B  
    
    What are all notes according to root? [B] is the 2nd interval of [A], [C] is the minor 3rd and etc. But how is this useful? Let's take (m7) of [A] as an example, the [G] note, it's that note just before my root, means, to find it from the [A] you can always move two frets backwards! And etc, intervals places are always constant like this:
    e|    |    |    |    |          |          |          |          |    |
    B|    |    |    |    |          |          |          |          |    |
    G|    |    |    |    |          |          |          |          |    |
    D|    |    |    |    | m7    [G]|          | oct  [A] |          |    |
    A|    |    |    |    | 4th   [D]|          | 5th  [E] |          |    |
    E|    |    |    |    | Root  [A]| m2   [A#]| 2nd  [B] | m3  [C]  |    |
    
    NOTICE we consider the B and E string exception:
    e|    |    |    |    |          | m7  [G]  |          | oct  [A] |    |
    B|    |    |    |    |          | 4th [D]  |          | 5th  [E] |    |
    G|    |    |    |    | Root  [A]| m2  [A#] |2nd   [B] | m3   [C] |    |
    D|    |    |    |    |          |          |          |          |    |
    A|    |    |    |    |          |          |          |          |    |
    E|    |    |    |    |          |          |          |          |    |
    
    Thinking this way to find intervals will improve your skills to find and memorize notes place very fast. And btw, these are not the only place for each interval, explore and learn.

    Chord Formula

    What notes are needed to create a specific chord? You need:
  • Root, and the chord will be named after it.
  • Specific intervals to create a specific type of chord. For example:
    Chord                  Intervals                 Example       
    minor Triad         Root + m3 + 5              A  + C  + E     
    Major Triad         Root + 3  + 5              A  + C# + E     
    minor 7             Root + m3 + 5  + m7        A  + C  + E + G 
    Major 7             Root + 3  + 5  + 7th       A  + C# + E + G#
    
    Try to find these notes and create chords, explore more formulas and types of chords, "It's basic chemistry Yo." (Jesse Pinkman) NOTICE intervals places will usually be the same, only [B and E] strings exception will be considered.

    Scale Formula

    Same thing, specific intervals are needed to create different types of scales, read about scale formulas since you know now what to do with it. And here are two examples:
    Scale                Intervals                             Example        
    minor Pentatonic     Root + m3 + 4   + 5   + m7          A  C  D  E   G   
    minor Blues scale    Root + m3 + 4   + m5  + 5   + m7    A  C  D  D#  E  G
    
    Same thing; Don't forget that [B and E] strings exception will be the reason when intervals places will change one fret forward. Building scales and runs will boost your mental and muscular memory about notes places on your fret-board. And more on that later, see you next time. Slz.
  • More slz.mtarek lessons:
    + How to Play Over a Backing Track Correct Practice 07/18/2013
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