I'm on my way to learning all the positions of notes on the fretboard. I want to do this to help my understanding of chord composure, scales, and increase my knowledge of the greatest thing on earth; playing guitar.

So far I've gone up and down, left and right, diagonally, etc around the fretboard. Gradually, I am memorizing the fretboard as selecting different notes at random which tests and improves my fretboard knowledge. The question I have: "Are there any enjoyable or more efficient or other practical ways of learning the fretboard?" I've been practicing inconsistently for the past few weeks and am also wondering is there any type of step-by-step/schedule practice you could recommend for me?

Thank You

Alex
A-mart
One thing I did that was very helpful was to find backing tracks in each key, and solo over them using only one string at a time. It'll help you learn the entire fretboard quickly and can help with your phrasing as well.
I understand the composure of scales...at least all majors and pentatonics because they are simply in patterns. How about saying the notes out load as I play each one? But I like that idea...thanks
A-mart
Well, do you know the patterns or the actual notes? I'm talking about the note themselves. In addition to singing the names of the notes, sing a certain melody before you play and see if you can play it back, it's great ear training.
I have a poster in my music room that was my dad's and he's had it there for years. It has a guitar neck on it and all the names of the notes. That really helped me a lot, but recognizing octaves is probably what makes it easiest. Memorize 3 strings: E A and B. If you can memorize those, it's easy enough to work out the rest of the neck by seeing the "octave shape". That shape is 2 frets higher, then 2 strings higher. For example:

``````
e -------
B -------
G ---8---
D -5---2-
A ---6---
E -3---0-
``````

The first one is G. By knowing that the third fret on the E string is G, we can easily determine that the fifth fret on the D string is G.

The second one is Eb/D#. By knowing that the sixth fret on the A string is Eb/D#, we can easily determine that the eighth fret on the G string is Eb/D#.

The last one is pretty straightforward.

Pretty easy, huh? Here's the exception:

``````
e ---11-
B -7----
G ---7--
D -4----
A ------
E ------
``````

The hell? Why is it three frets over now? Well, that's because the specially tuned B string to make playing chords possible. Basically, that's the bit that shifts everything over a fret. You probably know this already but I'm saying it as a general statement. This is why you should memorize the B string just so you don't get mixed up.

Now, for memorizing the strings themselves. I found it easier to memorize the natural notes (ones that aren't sharp or flat). From there it's really easy to work out the flats and sharps. Just use those little dots on your fret board to help you out.

So, if I wanted to memorize the E string:

``````
E -0-1-3-5-7-8-10-12-
E F G A B C D  E
``````

Try memorizing the first 5-7 frets first. This will follow the dots nicely. Then get the rest of the frets down. Now, moving on to the A string. A trick here can help you out here. You probably use this when tuning by ear. By going 5 frets down and going up 1 string higher, you get the same note. For example:

``````
A --2--
E --7--
``````

E string 7th fret is a B, so A string 2nd fret is also a B. Remember, on the B string you have to shift this over a fret. So for example:

``````
B -0--3-
G -4--7-
``````

First one there is a B, the second is a D.

This is how I learned the fret board really fast, so good luck.
I'm in the process of doing it now. I've memorized most of them but sometimes when I'm practicing I have trouble remembering a couple of the higher notes, so I just think of the intervals from string to string (mostly the maj 3rd and perfect 5th intervals) and since I know my scales I can get pretty much anything with that fairly quickly.

My only guitar that's together right now has a floyd and it's tuned a half step flat (and I HATE retuning it) so I'm having to compensate for that now and it sometimes messes me up since I'm used to my standard-tuned one. Oh well, it is good practice since I'm working on some ear training as well.

All I do really is get someone who's bored and not doing anything to call out a string and a note then I play it. When there's nobody for that I just pick a random note in my head and play it in all positions and octaves then pick a new one, etc.
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Quote by Avedas
I have a poster in my music room that was my dad's and he's had it there for years. It has a guitar neck on it and all the names of the notes. That really helped me a lot, but recognizing octaves is probably what makes it easiest. Memorize 3 strings: E A and B. If you can memorize those, it's easy enough to work out the rest of the neck by seeing the "octave shape". That shape is 2 frets higher, then 2 strings higher. For example:

``e -------B -------G ---8---D -5---2-A ---6---E -3---0-``

The first one is G. By knowing that the third fret on the E string is G, we can easily determine that the fifth fret on the D string is G.

The second one is Eb/D#. By knowing that the sixth fret on the A string is Eb/D#, we can easily determine that the eighth fret on the G string is Eb/D#.

The last one is pretty straightforward.

Pretty easy, huh? Here's the exception:

``e ---11-B -7----G ---7--D -4----A ------E ------``

The hell? Why is it three frets over now? Well, that's because the specially tuned B string to make playing chords possible. Basically, that's the bit that shifts everything over a fret. You probably know this already but I'm saying it as a general statement. This is why you should memorize the B string just so you don't get mixed up.

Now, for memorizing the strings themselves. I found it easier to memorize the natural notes (ones that aren't sharp or flat). From there it's really easy to work out the flats and sharps. Just use those little dots on your fret board to help you out.

So, if I wanted to memorize the E string:

``E -0-1-3-5-7-8-10-12-   E F G A B C D  E``

Try memorizing the first 5-7 frets first. This will follow the dots nicely. Then get the rest of the frets down. Now, moving on to the A string. A trick here can help you out here. You probably use this when tuning by ear. By going 5 frets down and going up 1 string higher, you get the same note. For example:

``A --2--E --7--``

E string 7th fret is a B, so A string 2nd fret is also a B. Remember, on the B string you have to shift this over a fret. So for example:

``B -0--3-G -4--7-``

First one there is a B, the second is a D.

This is how I learned the fret board really fast, so good luck.

Good advice, learning the octave shapes is a great way to learn the notes of the fretboard:
radiantmoon is the toughest person I know. He inflects a sense of impending doom upon any who look upon his stone-chiseled face. The children run out of fear, while the men run for they know that the stories are true.
I think people spend a lot of time trying to memorize the note names thinking
it's going to open the gates to the kingdom. They certainly help, but I think it's
far more important being able to recognize the intervallic relationships between
RELATIVE positions on the fretboard, as opposed to trying to construct an absolute,
note name, map of the entire fretboad.

Pretty much most of the narrative of music theory is given in scale degrees and
thier relationships. Where are the scale degrees on the fretboard? Nowhere and
everywhere. As theory goes, so is it the tendency to be the way thinking goes in
actual playing -- it's more relative than absolute.

So, if your goal is understanding chord composition, I think you'll likely get further
by being able to recognize the intevallic pattern on the fretboad as opposed to
trying to see them as note names (which you're going to have to translate anyway).

I'm not saying you should not spend some time memorizing note names, I just think
the work put into it doesn't really buy people what they think it's going to buy them.
I just pretend I'm playing a 7 string guitar and bar my index finger
at the 7th fret. It's like seeing it as open posistion. It just moved down one
string.

If i bar it at the 5th fret, it's like the open posistion patterns moved up
one string

I chopped the guitar in half at the 12 fret.
Then I divided it in half again.

also practice modes in the key of C using the A sting as placement the root of each mode. I practice going toward the bridge and also toward the nut for each mode.

also practice doing maj and min arppegios.

also do hammer/pulls on the of the 1/2 steps in C

I just tap 12th fret then hammer/pull the diatonic interval for each string
Quote by :-D
One thing I did that was very helpful was to find backing tracks in each key, and solo over them using only one string at a time. It'll help you learn the entire fretboard quickly and can help with your phrasing as well.

We can just call this the Richard J. Stone method .

I learned the fretboard by learning all my major, natural minor, harmonic minor, and jazz melodic minor scales. What I would do is pick like an area of four or five frets on the low E string, say open-fret #4, and play each scale, in all 12 keys, starting from the lowest note available in that position. If you pay attention, you'll notice patterns emerge based on if you're starting on the 7th/root, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th if I remember correctly. Normally I'd go around the circle of 4th (if you don't know what that is, look it up, it's all over the interwebs) and then do the reverse (aka the circle of 5ths). Say you do this for a week (granted when i did this I was practicing 7 hours at day and was still a performance major), the next week (or whenever you've mastered this position) you move up to frets 5-8 and repeat. Another way to go about this is pick a key, and just play it from every starting note possible on the 6th string. It's basically the same exercise, just you're doing the whole fretboard instead of a position. Either way you achieve the same goal. The big trick is to do EVERYTHING YOU EVER PRACTICE in all 12 keys. If you only do this in C major, you'll have learned nothing. Even if you only do this exercise in the 12 major keys, and you've mastered it, you'll see a massive improvement in your ability to traverse the fretboard.

And as I ALWAYS say, learning to read music will enhance your knowledge of the fretboard tremendously. You will come to recognize what position you want to play in just by considering your range (what octave/s you want to play in).

I think I'm gonna make a thread devoted to learning to read, with suggestions and stuff. That way instead of repeating myself, i'll just come into threads and drop links....

How about saying the notes out load as I play each one?

This is actually an EXCELLENT idea. It forces you to actually think about the scale while you'll playing it, which keeps it from becoming a mechanical exercise for just your fingers!

Last edited by Guitar_Theory at May 14, 2008,
The thing that helped my fretboard knowledge the most as far as actual note names was reading music. When your reading your making that connection between what the note is called, and where it is on the guitar.

The short cuts like the octave thing can help quite a bit as well.
Quote by GuitarMunky
The thing that helped my fretboard knowledge the most as far as actual note names was reading music. When your reading your making that connection between what the note is called, and where it is on the guitar.

The short cuts like the octave thing can help quite a bit as well.

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What helped me alot was spending 20 minutes or so each day using the trainer at musictheory.net
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There's a good exercise for this in Joe Satriani Guitar Secrets. Set a metronome to 60bpm then on the beat play a note, for example e, in every position on every string