Learn The Notes On The Fretboard The Easy Way

There are many other lessons and methods of learning the notes of the fretboard. But they seem harder than it all needs to be.

Learn The Notes On The Fretboard The Easy Way
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I know there are many other lessons and methods of learning the notes of the fretboard. I have seen a couple of these (but not all of them) but they seem harder than it all needs to be. As long as you know your alphabet up to G you can learn all the notes on the fretboard in a few minutes.

So lets look at the A-string (just for sake of staying in alphabetical order and therefore being more memorable) the notes on this string are as follows:
0    1     2   3     4     5     6     7   8     9     10   11    12   

A, A#/Bb , B , C , C#/Db , D , D#/Eb , E , F , F#/Gb , G , G#/Ab , A
Now at first seems a lot to remember but if you look closely there is a pattern. If we put write all the notes down leaving the sharps and flats we get: A, B, C, D, E, F, G. Now instead of writing in the sharp or flats in between the notes we put | instead.

So we get:

A | B C | D | E F | G | A
(if you want G string notes, start at G and work your way through the notes to G again)

Now the pattern starts to emerge, there are no notes inbetween B & C and E & F.

So we have the pattern:
A  B&C  D  E&F  G
1 | 2 | 1 | 2 | 1
and back to beginning with the | representing the notes inbetween your "regular" notes.
and that's it. So if we now look at the B string start from open string up to fret 12 and write down the notes remembering the 1 2 1 2 pattern you can't go wrong.

By simply remembering this pattern you can work out which notes have sharps or flats easily, meaning you can then know exactly what note is where on the fretboard and you can work out the notes as you play.

(This is my first lesson so hope its useful)

28 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    TheNameOfNoone
    Very useful indeed. It's a pity that I already learned them by the hard way. lol
    greg.brown.1422
    You learned it the hard way, which means you're not going to forget it any time soon. It's almost better that you learned it the hard way. :] You taught yourself, which is awesome because you worked it out on your own. It's a great skill to have.
    BrianRowland
    Now the pattern starts to emerge, there are no notes inbetween B & C and E & F.
    This statement got the message through to me the best. Thanks for the short but very helpful lesson.
    RickyThomson
    I do it this way: All you need to know are power-chord positions (and the order) on the neck (E, F, F#, G... etc). The 1st and 3rd string of the power-chord is the same note as the chord itself, then you can just combine that knowledge with the 5th fret tuning method to find your way around the fretboard on the rest of the strings. It's pretty simple
    themuddman
    1LouisianaWoman wrote: Admin-please get these trolls off of this awesome site. Thanks!
    Where are the trolls?? Btw i got some negative votes...i wasn't beeing sarcastic, i was genuanly exited to learn this, thanks again to the author
    Luowe
    this is awesome for the A-string, but what about the rest of the strings? It's not the same pattern, right?
    themuddman
    OH...MI...GOD... i've NEVER caught this pattern! Ive tried many ways to learn the fretboard and it always ended in complete failure, this is going to be sooo helpfull!! Thanks!
    MaggaraMarine
    This helps if you don't know the note names and intervals yet. But I'm struggling with remembering what note is on the 6th fret of G string for example. If you asked me that, I couldn't answer instantly. I know all notes (I have known them for a long time) but I don't know them that well on the fretboard. Remembering the note names and the chromatic scale doesn't mean you know all the notes on the fretboard. For example if you told me to find Ab on the B string, it would take me a couple of seconds to find it.
    cav22s
    isnt it 1 2 1 2 1 ? I find this more confusing than just knowing the notes and applying it to the fretboard.
    greg.brown.1422
    GREAT LESSON! After learning the notes on the 'A' string, I then applied the pattern to the rest of the 5 strings, and just to make sure I was naming the notes correctly, I would play the chord corresponding to see if I was doing nit right, and I was, thanks to you. :] Great lesson, --Greg brown-- http://www.reverbnation.com/artist/compl...
    sanabriamusic
    I am about to start. i have an electric guitar (I hope is ok, is all i got right now) and I know about 4 basic chords from an acoustic when I was a child, and know what the note letters are. But the | and the 1212 signs left me clueless, cause I basically don't know how to play yet but i am sure going to bookmark this page so that i can use it to my advantage to develop better as I plan to start soon.
    monnster
    I agree with the others. I already learned the notes, but it seems like this would've been a much easier way of thinking about it. Good Job!
    Jackie Lawless
    RickyThomson wrote: I do it this way: All you need to know are power-chord positions (and the order) on the neck (E, F, F#, G... etc). The 1st and 3rd string of the power-chord is the same note as the chord itself, then you can just combine that knowledge with the 5th fret tuning method to find your way around the fretboard on the rest of the strings. It's pretty simple
    i actually used to do something similar to that. this guide is helpful though because it reminds you that there isn't an Fb or Cb. Alot of beginners don't know that if they didn't pay attention in grade school music class.