Howd you guys learn to identify any note, anywhere on the fretboard?

I basically found all the A's, then the E's then the C's and soo on.
over time i just got acquainted with it really.

i didnt set out to learn all the notes all over the neck i just kinda learned them
Quote by phil-82
Howd you guys learn to identify any note, anywhere on the fretboard?

I basically found all the A's, then the E's then the C's and soo on.

over time through application.

learning to read standard notation in all positions helped me alot.

it's consistently making the connection between the note played and what it's called that your after.

I often have students do some "say n play". (playing a scale or chord.... reciting the notes within.... or reading a piece of music while reciting note names)

there are some shortcuts you can use to help such as recognizing various shapes and utilize them. beware of shortcuts though.... to rely on them exclusively leads to a fuzzy understanding at best. Context/application is very important.

to truly know the fret-board takes time.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at May 15, 2011,
It took a long time. The breakthrough came when one day I saw how easy it was.

If I had realized it sooner, I would have saved years, and I could have had it in a couple of days.

If there's a good side to this, it's changed the way/speed/approach that I use when I teach others the notes now.


As GuitarMunky mentioned, it's mainly about staying conscious of what notes you are playing as you're playing them. Don't just zone out and wank around. Stay mindful of the notes on the inlay markings for each string. Once you have those memorized, it makes it a lot easier to find the others after that. At the most you'd just have to move 3 half steps.

Also, there is a browser based game called Fretboard Master that has helped me a lot in memorizing the frets, specifically the upper range. Check it out here:
Danny L. Small

I have a method that I use when I have a student:


Find E F and G on every string and Look, Say and Play each note, ascending and descending on a random string... do this for a few minutes every time you pick up the guitar.

Find B, C and D on each string -- same deal you have to look at the note, say the name of the note and play it. Random order of strings ... 5 minutes every time you pick up the guitar.

Then, learn where A is on each string.

Voila -- you know the C major/A natural minor scale anywhere on the neck.

It take a few weeks for some people to really get it -- but if you do it every day, it becomes automatic.

As Guitar Munkey says ... it is all about context : so the next thing I do is harmonize the C scale -- playing Cmaj7, Dmin7, Emin7, FMaj7, G7, Amin7, Bmin7flat5 arpeggios all over the neck and looking, saying and playing you will automagically internalize that and E min 7 chord as E G B D and you can find 4 or 5 places to comfortably play that chord once you start considering inversions.

The next thing I do is go up the cycle of 5ths ... once you know a few places to play Cmajor7, find Gmajor7 and see where F# is. Now Dmajor7 and C#. Now Amajor7 and G# ... up to BMajor7 and A#.

With flats -- I have not figured out a really good way to teach that with arpeggios, yet.

Also -- learning to read is IMMENSELY helpful. Using William Leavitt's books from Berklee Press -- the rhythms are not complicated, you end up focusing on positional playing and knowing the notes under your fingers for any particular zone of the neck (open to 3rd fret, 2nd fret to 5th fret, 4th fret to 7th fret, 6th fret to 9th fret and so on).

Then, in real life you will be handed a sheet of music with 6 flats in the key signature, polyrhythms and LOTS of accidentals and you'll hand it to the piano player .. let that f*cker figure it out!
Last edited by Zen Skin at May 16, 2011,