Hey all, I have seen quite a few posts over the past few weeks about how to learn the fretboard and I didnt find a good lesson on it so I thought I would post a lesson. This is the method I use and its the method that my guitar teacher taught me. Its a good way to do it but I must warn you, it gets boring but if you practice it will pay off no end.

You should spend about 20 minutes a day doing this everyday, however I do an hour a day. The longer you spend doing this, the quicker it will take to learn. Learn a position a week and then revise them constantly until it is written on your brain.

This technique will help with the following areas of guitar playing:

-Learning the notes on the fretboard
-Fretting technique
-Picking technique
-Finger strengthening
-Visulisation of notes

The Lift Off

Obviously this method is called the lift off. I will explain the method now.

This method works on learning different positions. These positions are thus:

-Frets 5 - open
-Frets 9 - 5
-Frets 14 - 10
-Frets 18 - 14
-Frets 22 - 18
-Frets 24 - 20

Right, lets get down to bussiness.

The fingers you are going to use are:

-The pinky finger
-The ring finger
-The middle finger
-The index finger

I will explain how to do this by using position one (Frets 5 to open).

Take the pinky finger and place it on the fifth fret of the first string.
Then place the ring finger on the fourth fret.
Place the middle finger on the third fret.
Then place the index finger on the second finger.
Make sure that all the fingers are directly behind the frets. This will help you with finger strength and fretting.

The next thing to do is play the note on the fifth fret and then slide all your fingers back a fret. Make sure that all your fingers are directly behind the fret. By sliding back it helps with the accuracy of fretting.

What you do is play the note on the fourth fret and then lift off. Then play the next fret and lift that finger off. Keep playing and lifting off the notes until you play the open note.

Now as you are doing this sing and play the notes. This will help with pitch. If you dont want to sing, it doesnt matter but it is important that you say the notes you are playing- out loud or in your head. Singing the notes will help pitching so it is best advised.

Now as you sing the notes or what ever you decide to do, when you hit the notes with accidentals, sing their enharmonic equivalents. (See Singing the notes section).

Also, as you do this alternate pick the notes. Obviously this will help with right hand technique.

Repeat this method on each of the strings.

Then once you learn it this way, learn the notes across each fret moving back a fret whilst keeping to the positions. So learn all the notes on fret five, then four, then three, then two, then one and then open, whislt singing and playing each note.

When moving on to the positions that do not have an open string do not lift off to play the open strings. Just play the fret the index is fretting then move on to the next string (See section for the positions).

Singing the notes

Singing the notes is simple. Sing the fret you are playing and then the note that fret is. So sing:

A5, G#4, G3, F#2, F1, E0.

Since there are enharmonics of G#, and F#- learn the enharmonice of them which are Ab, and Gb [And any other enharmonic on the other strings].


-Place all your fingers on the fretboard, starting with the pinky on the fifth fret and the other fingers on each seperate frets on the same string.

-Pick the note, sing it then slide back a fret.

-After you have slid back, pick the note, sing, lift off and repeat this until you have played the open note.

-Make sure you are alternate picking.

-Once you have played up to the open note, move on to the next string and repeat.

The positions

I will now right all the notes on all the positions but I will leave the enharmonics out- They aint hard to figure out and should be the very basics of your musical knowledge.

But just incase you dont know your enharmonics I will write them out.

A# = Bb
C# = Db
D# = Eb
F# = Gb
G# = Ab

Positions one- Frets five to open

Position two- Frets nine to five

Position three- Frets fourteen to ten

Position four- Frets eighteen to fourteen

Position five- Frets twenty two to eighteen

Position six- Frets twenty four to twenty


Well thats the lesson on learning the fretboard over with. I really hope it helps people since I spent bloody ages typing it up.

The point I made about visualisation earlier is this: When you have a spare moment to yourself, on trains, on the bus to school, in the car on long journeys, think of the notes on the fret board in your head. Go through the notes in your mind as per the positions you are learning. There have been many embarrassing moments on the taint me saying "A5 G#4 G3..." under my breath in public... and then air guitairing it too for good measure- But it helps a lot.

The reason it is broken down into positions is so you dont learn it chromatically. It is done this way so you know where each note is without relying on chromatisim too much.

Again, I hope this will be of use to people. Post thoughts, comments and questions regarding this.

Peace, Guitardude19.
Sat in a lab, curing diseases. They actually LET me play with chemicals!