How To Learn The Fretboard

This article will discuss ways to help learn the notes of the fretboard and will include a chart showing all notes on the guitar.

Ultimate Guitar
Hello, while learning guitar there is one thing that you will have to do somewhere along the line that you will not want to do, this thing is learning the fretboard. There are so many notes on the fretboard that you may not want to do this ever, but to truly KNOW how to play guitar, you will need to do it at some point. This article will discuss ways to help learn the notes of the fretboard and will include a chart showing all notes on the guitar.

First you will see the chart showing the frets below then further down you will find a short summary of how to tackle learning all of these notes. First the chart:

*e||F |  |G |  |A |  |B |C |  |D |  |E |
 B||C |  |D |  |E |F |  |G |  |A |  |B |
 G||  |A |  |B |C |  |D |  |E |F |  |G |
 D||  |E |F |  |G |  |A |  |B |C |  |D |
 A||  |B |C |  |D |  |E |F |  |G |  |A |
 E||F |  |G |  |A |  |B |C |  |D |  |E |
    1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10 11 12
*The blank frets in between frets with letters on them are the sharp(#) of the note before it and the flat(b) of the note after it. (|F |f#/gb|E |) Next: If you observe the chart, you may notice two things. The first is that it stops at 12, this is because, the 12th fret shows the open notes of the string it's on which indicates that the whole chart repeats itself after 12. The second thing you may notice is that after some notes, there is no sharp note that follows it. When you think of it this way, the only thing you have to remember in order to learn the fretboard, is the following information: *EF G A BC D E Or in alphabetical order(starting with A): *A BC D EF G A *Where the spaces in between are the sharps/flats. If you can remember this information, then you should be able to learn the fretboard instantly. Just start the cycle with the open note of the string you're on, and work your way up. Or if you are above the 12th fret, do the same starting with the note of the 12th fret. Example: 7th fret, 2nd string? Open note on 2nd string is B, making the first fret C, and the seventh F#/Gb.

If you can learn all of the above information and review it while practicing guitar, you will find that you can name the notes quicker and quicker until eventually you will have memorized the fretboard.

Thank you, for reading. Written by: Neil Mack

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    This is nice for beginners, but you could still have put some more information in it, like that the fifth fret of the string is the same note as the open string of the previous string. Except for the third string, where it's fourth. And you could have mentioned that you'll get the octave of a note by moving two frets up and one string apart, for example you get F from the first fret of E and from the third fret of D. Also, you did not directly mention that the twelfth fret is an octave of the open string too. Of course, you can pick this up from the picture you have there, but I doubt that an absolute beginner would spot that that easily. The infromation was correct, but it was lacking. It was still a fine lesson, it'll probably help some beginners.
    Dude, good on you for sharing this information with everyone. Most people who aren't beginners should know it, hence the beginners tone, so it's a good article. I have a suggestion though. Can you write an article for the commentors on how they could do a better article than the one the contributors write? After all, they're obviously all geniuses and could have written it better than you. Also, show them how to take the lesson to it's logical conclusion, include even more information, and only stop on 8 finger tapping in a phrygian dominant jazz fusion song. However, even THAT might be lacking in information for some commentors..... Sheesh. There's no pleasing some people.
    @Theophillis is correct in saying this is a nice article for beginners. A beginner really needs things in simple terms. I have taught for over a decade and know this to be true. I might also offer the suggestion of using note cards with each fret or string written on it with the notes. You can use them to test your memory with the string number on the front and the notes on the back. Then see how well you can recall without looking. Seems basic but very effective.