Learning The Fretboard. Part II

Continuing with the previous lesson, we take a look at the notes found on the higher three strings.

Ultimate Guitar
Welcome to Learning the Fretboard Part 2. Glad that most people enjoyed the previous lesson. I really enjoy writing these and it's nice to know that people are appreciating it, so thanks for everyone's support so far :) If you haven't read the previous article, please do so now! The lesson is called "Learning the Fretboard". Let's begin: Remember: when learning these scales, say the note names out loud, slowly, and make an effort to internalise each fret as a note, rather than a number. Second Octave:
E Phrygian
    E F G A B C D E
F Lydian
    F G A B C D E F
G Mixolydian
e|----------------3-------------------G-----  Hint: Try to make note of  
B|----------3-5-6---------------D-E-F-------        similar notes on
G|----2-4-5---------------A-B-C-------------        different strings.
D|--5-------------------G-------------------        eg. The 6th fret of 
A|------------------------------------------            the B string (F) is
E|------------------------------------------            the same F of fret 1
                                                        on the e string.
    G A B C D E F G
A Aeolian
e|----------------5---------------------A---  Also: Do you notice that on 
B|----------5-6-8-----------------E-F-G-----        most strings, the 7th
G|----4-5-7-----------------B-C-D-----------        fret is the same note,
D|--7---------------------A-----------------        one octave higher, of
A|------------------------------------------        the open string above it?
E|------------------------------------------   eg. 7th fret on the G-string
                                                    is a D! 
    A B C D E F G A
B Locrian
e|---------------------7------------------B--   Note: The previous rule
B|---------------8-10-----------------G-A----  doesn't apply on the B-string
G|-------7-9-10-----------------D-E-F--------   Instead, the 8th fret of the
D|--9-10--------------------B-C--------------    B-string will give you the 
A|-------------------------------------------    same note, an octave higher,
E|-------------------------------------------    of the open G-string - a G!
    B C  D E F   G A  B
C Ionian
   C  D E F  G A  B C
D Dorian
    D  E F  G  A  B  C  D
Just one more useful tip: The fifth fret of a string is the same note as the open string below it (except for on the G-string, where this rule applies to the fourth fret).
eg. Fret 5 on the D string is a G. 
    Fret 5 on the A string is a D
and Fret 4 on the G-string is a B
You've probably noticed this if you've ever tuned a guitar by ear before. And there you have it! I hope my little "handy tips" aren't annoying or patronising. I just find that if you can make some kind of connection with a note, you will remember it better. The tips about similar notes on the 5th and 7th frets always helped me to remember where those certain notes are. As you practice these exercises, see if you can find any cool tricks like that to help you 'connect' with specific notes. But remember: the only things that will really help you to learn your fretboard is sheer hard work, patience and proper practice! Next week I will post a lesson that combines the scales from this lesson and the previous and start to introduce the notes past the 12th fret. What happens next is a surprise (about as exciting as finding an old potato chip under your keyboard). I hope this lesson was as good as the last. Enjoy, practice hard, and have fun :)

14 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I'm glad Hopefully other people enjoyed it too. I will post the next one next week Tuesday, most likely.
    Tiago Silva
    Thanks for this lessons. Now I do know how to tune a guitar xD Ive been practicing this but I've a very honest question...What is this used for?
    In my previous article I went into a bit of depth as to how this is useful. Firstly, if you only know your fretboard in terms of numbers, nothing is relative. Example: Fret 6 on the E string and Fret 5 on the A string don't mean anything to someone who only knows them like that. But if you understand them as notes, you will know them as Bb and D, which is a major third, which you might find useful in constructing chords, playing arpeggios and soloing more "cleverly". Also, you can use this to read music (a few other lessons would be required first), which is in many ways is more useful than tab, which rarely displays rhythm and makes no effort to analyse a song's construction or use of harmony on a more theoretical level. If you know which notes are being played, you can say "Oh, that C major 9 chord sounds cool over that F in that solo," and maybe use that as something to learn from. Last but not least, and this is going to sound rude...But there is a reason that most guitarists are laughed at by classically trained musicians. Because most learn from tab, they don't actually learn any theory, or anything "musical" other than how to play fast. And lets be honest - not all of us are going to become super mega rock stars who write songs for millions of Dollars. You need to scope out your options and become a fully rounded musician if you want to make any money out of this business. If you want to be a session musician, do you think you'll be taken seriously if all you understand is tab and numbers? Do you think you might get a teaching job when you actually know very little about music because you can't even state the notes of a major scale, describe the construction of a basic chord and have absolutely no grounding in theory? That is why this is useful. It's the start to becoming a real musician; one who is more well rounded, who understands what he or she is doing. Sorry that was so long, but I think I needed to say it!
    Sorry about the bad writing. I typed that quite quickly and didn't think about it beforehand. I'm sure there are many reasons that it is useful, but just trust me that if you want to be taken seriously as a musician, know what you are doing. Don't be like most other guitarists out there who only knows tab. I don't mean to sound mean...
    No problem I'll post another lesson fairly soon. Maybe tomorrow. But I haven't been getting much response from this one...Thanks for the rating too Good luck!
    Thank you so much for these lessons. I had no idea where to start with guitar i am very very new. Once i learn these scales I will finnaly be able to learn my favorite songs!
    Cool! Though I would suggest learning some easy chords first maybe? But if you're motivated to learn these, then that's great I just know that a lot of people would run away from the guitar if they started here