Guitar Lab 101 - Understanding Your Fingerboard

I'll try to explain with few tricks how to find your place a bit better on your guitar.

Ultimate Guitar
Hi there! My name is Chris and in this 101 lesson I'll try to explain (in my way) how to understand your fretboard a bit better. I'd like to explain it in a way that helped me a lot.

1. Counting notes.

Firstly I'll tell a little bit about the notes you can find on your guitar and then by an easy way of counting them you'll be able to find your G# or any other note on every string.

So let's get down to business!

First of all let's assume you know how many natural notes there are. For those of who don't => there are 7 of them and they are C-D-E-F-G-A-B. And let's assume you know how many notes an octave has. Those of you who don't => there are 12 notes.

Now you're probably wondering => well if there is 7 natural notes and an octave contains 12 notes "where are other 5 notes, this guy sucks!!!'' Well 5 out of those 7 notes have beautiful things called half-steps, let's assume you know what half-steps and whole steps are (a lot of assuming going on). So 7 natural plus 5 half-steps makes 12, at least the last time I checked but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

The notes that contain half-steps are C, D, F, G and A. The notes E and B are left out and lonely so to conclude this section an octave would be: C-C#-D-D#-E-F-F#-G-G#-A-A#-B => see. 12 notes. 

So after this little theory introduction here comes the good stuff. You probably know that your E standard tuning from your 6th to 1st string is made up of these notes E-A-D-G-B-E.

In a little theory explanation up there you've learned which notes contain half-steps and which don't, well now we're going to use that knowledge. So a system with which we'll be working on is counting the notes on your low E string instead of remembering a pattern of natural notes and then adding the notes in between later on.

Since you don't want to read miles and miles of text I'll explain in for the low E string and you can do the :) \m/
             0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12
6th string ---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|----|----|---|
E F F# G G# A A# B C C# D D# E
I hope you understand what I wanted to say with this apocalyptic diagram, it represents a string with notes (down) and frets (above) written out by a technique of basically counting the notes in order they appear in an octave.

For the 5-th string you'd be starting on the A note or the opened fifth string (which is the A note) and you'll count your way to the 12 fret. Why I stopped at the 12 fret? Are there no more notes to go on? Well no,but since we said an octave contains 12 notes after the 12 fret all the you counted notes will repeat in the same order. So from your 12 fret all notes go in order as if you'd be starting from the opened string.

Well there are tons of lessons about this topic so mine will just be another fish in the sea but I hope I contributed in a bit more different way to you guys and girls willing to learn more about the guitar then just 4 chord songs (although they rock e.g. AC/DC).

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    The note diagram is distorded after the approval :/ or I should have arranged it a bit better,but I hope you understand what's given and if you don't feel free to contact me and I'll try to explain myself cheers!
    Hi, he said : "your E standard tuning" "is made up of these notes E-A-D-G-B-E" I'm used to have the A note on 5th string like him, there are different "standard tuning"
    Seriously, thanks, but I have no clue what you are talking about
    Well I'm sorry if it is a bit confusing and I can see why is that.But shortly,to find any note on your guitar all you have to know is the order of the notes (which I mentioned above) and the notes of the tuning you're in as in this case I'm in E it would make a lot more sense if I could show it to you on a video but unfortunately I have nothing to record myself with so it's a problem :/