I've got nothing to do for several days while I wait for my PRS SE One to arrive, so I'm going to spend the time memorizing the fretboard. I devised a little method of my own which I've been using for the last couple of hours, and I've already got about half the fretboard down cold. (Keep in mind I'm a total noob, just throwing an idea out for whatever it's worth.) Here's what you do.

Load this game:


Start with the low end of the low E string. Look at the first fret and say to yourself, "F". Drill it into your head that that's F. Don't think about the rest of the fretboard at all. The only thing that matters is that the first fret of the E string is F. Start playing the game, but don't worry about your speed--actually, pause the timer so you're not even tempted to worry about it. The game will start testing you on notes all over the fretboard. Don't worry about getting them fast--do get them right, but don't rush. What's important is that you're poised like a spring to hit "F" the instant you see that dot light up the first fret of the low E string. Anticipate it and pounce. Keep playing until the dot has indicated that fret about five times.

Move to the third fret of the low E string and think, "G". (I'm skipping the sharps and flats for now--they become obvious once you know where the other notes are, anyway.) Drill G into your head. Play the game at a nice, leisurely pace until either that fret or the F is indicated. When that happens, hit G or F as fast as you can.

Continue up the E string and keep adding frets. If you suddenly find you've overwhelmed yourself with too many, cut back. Go back to however few you need to so that you can easily click the note instantly when that fret is indicated.

You get the idea. I admit it's pretty tedious, but it's been working great for me. I'm fully confident I'll have the fretboard memorized before my guitar gets here.
Gota say, i do really like this game. Its pretty damn useful. In two minuts i got 13 right and 5 wrong. I dont even know the fretboard!! Thanks very much for posting this, i'll play it a lot.
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i did 2 minutes and got 23 right w00t haha
Originally posted by primusfan
When you crank up the gain to 10 and switch to the lead channel, it actually sounds like you are unjustifiably bombing an innocent foreign land.

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The game would be much better if it would let you confine the randomly appearing dot to whatever section of the fretboard you had already memorized. It shouldn't test you on the whole fretboard at once until you've actually memorized the whole fretboard.
This is really helpful (and an embarrassing reminder of how much I need to practice this...)
If I knew how to program, I'd write my own program that would let you confine the game to the frets you'd already memorized. That mod is just screaming to be done.
That's a good program - I have the actual install application of that same program, but forgot where I got it. I think someone posted here on UG a while back. I still haven't learned all the notes yet.

Anyway here's another one that's very similar, hope you guys like it:

22 right 2 wrong in 2 min... all the 2's
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2 minutes: 32 right, 0 wrong... 3 times. Now I'm up to 37. Definitely helpful.
Those games are okay, but the "knowledge" you get from them doesn't always translate that well to the real thing. It's all very different when you pick up the guitar and try to apply what you've learned - just be careful that you don't simply end up good at the game. There's no substitute for working at identifying the notes on the guitar itself and learning their relationships with their neighbours.
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Very true. To be honest though for myself I was more applying what I know on guitar to the game. It's been a decent indicator of my actual level of knowledge of the fretboard which isn't as good as I thought it would be. Bit of an eye opener.


As an extra... try and grasp how the "conveyor belt" effect as I like to call it over the fretboard can help with memorizing notes.

      1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10    11    12
      |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |


G ||-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|--G--|

A ||-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|--A--|

Two helpful things to remember are:

4 |-----|-----|--O--|--          3 |-----|-----|--O--|--
5 |-----|-----|-----|--          4 |-----|-----|-----|--
6 |--O--|-----|-----|--          5 |--O--|-----|-----|--

These 2 notes will always be the same no matter what fret you are on.

2 |-----|-----|-----|--O--|--          1 |-----|-----|-----|--O--|--
3 |-----|-----|-----|-----|--          2 |-----|-----|-----|-----|--
4 |--O--|-----|-----|-----|--          3 |--O--|-----|-----|-----|--

As will these.

2 |--0--|-----|-----|--
3 |-----|-----|-----|--
4 |-----|-----|-----|--
5 |-----|-----|--0--|--

And these.

Just a couple of simple things I thought might be worth mentioning in this thread.
Last edited by ChrisN at Jul 11, 2008,
Great Method Therion!

And great post Chris, very helpful.



great, but I haven't realy memorized the fretboard other than the E and A strings. I guess I'm memorizing it gradually. If I need to find a note, I use the octave to find what it is.
^^The above is a Cryptic Metaphor^^

"To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity." Everything is made up and the facts don't matter.

i find memorizing the marked frets really important, and it's less daunting then trying to memorize every fret

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This is great!! Thanks so much, and good posts here too, all really helpful. Memorizing the fret board is nothing if you've had to bust out the whole periodic table on an exam
I started with the E string. If you know one E string, you know the other, and you've got 1/3 of the fretboard taken care of.

Thanks for the diagrams, ChrisN. I actually remembered the octave rule from my bass-playing days as soon as I saw it. Can't believe I needed to be refreshed on that!
haha this is a little harder cause im lefty...i bookmarked it for later though so i can keep checking it out...thanks, good thread man!
How about just learning scales, and saying the notes as you play them. That speeds up the learning process a great deal, as you quickly identify patterns on the fretboard.
Marcus, I actually had the same idea. My guitar just needs to get here so I can do it.

Thanks to the one who posted the link to the free fretboard mastery download. I'm about to try it out.
ysottot, that program **ROCKS**! It has exactly the features I was wishing the other program had. I recommend it to everybody.