Learning The Notes On Guitar

Learning notes on guitar is a process, which is most effective if you do it with constant practice. I have a few tips that could make your learning much easier.

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Sooner or later, you will need to know the notes on guitar, and know them by default. It will help you in musically communicating with other musicians, in understanding your guitar better and, of course, in making you see what does and what doesn't work faster. Learning notes on guitar is a process, which is most effective if you do it with constant practice. I have a few tips that could make your learning much easier, and they're based on various ways to compare the note you search to the note you already know. Imprint the note keypoints on your mental image of guitar neck, and then compare other notes to it. I believe that anyone can learn all the notes on standard 6 string guitar within a month, if you use only 15 minutes a day in implementing these tips. Here they are: 1. Notes on one string First thing to do is to try out the musical alphabet on one string. If you take sixth string (E) you should go: Try playing fret after fret while spelling it's note, and also try it backwards. 2. Open strings 12th fret I'm sure that all of you know open strings (1st string E, 2nd string B, 3rd string G, 4th string D, 5th string A and 6th string E). The same notes are on 12th fret, which are octaves. 3. Basic chords bass notes Other thing I'm sure you all know, are basic open and barre chords. See where their bass notes are and memorize them. Also try to make them sharp and flat. Put them as your mental keypoints. Compare other notes around them to those notes. Focus only on D, A and low E strings up to 5th fret. 4. Tune notes Most people usually tune their guitar the following way (if not with a tuner). 5th fret on second string has the same note as first open string, 4th fret on third string has the same note as second open string, 5th fret on fourth string has the same note as third open string, 5th fret on fifth string has the same note as fourth open string, and 5th fret on sixth string has the same note as fifth open string. Add those notes to your keypoints. 5. Same notes on adjacent strings Learn how much frets are between same notes on adjacent strings. Add this information to your note keypoint referance. Here is the example: Other thing you could do is practice the principle through whole neck, in both directions. 6. Octaves Besides helping you learn the notes, playing octaves can sound great in solos and melodies because they empower the melody line with higher or lower note. Try to play both F's on 4th and 6th string, and both F's on second and fourth string. Then try to find what other options you have with this on your neck, for all other notes, too. Another octaves you have are the octaves on adjacent strings: Experiment where are octaves for all other open string notes, and add them to your keypoints. The main reason for having keypoints is that you don't have to go all the way from open string to get to the note you currently don't know. For example, if you don't know which note is on 8th fret on fourth string, you don't wanna go from open fourth string, note by note, to get to 8th fre. It is much simpler to learn the keypoint of 7th fret, fourth string being an octave to open fifth string (which is A note), and then you easily see that 8th fret on fourth string holds A# note. So learn as much keypoints as possible, and rest of the notes will come easily. 7. Above 12th fret You can use all the principles mentioned before. Another thing is, after you know the note keypoints, to get them on frets above 12th fret, just add 2 frets. For example, you know that E note on fifth string is on 7th fret. To get it above 12th fret, just add 2 frets on last digit, so it will be on 19th fret. Work on this only when you actually need those notes, because learning without purpose won't benefit you much. The other thing you can do is trying to visualize the whole fret without actually having guitar in your hands. Or randomly choose some fret on guitar neck, and then determine it's note. You can do this anytime, and it will help you a lot. Official Josip Pesut site Visit the site and enjoy playing Josip's 'Licks of the month'! Subscribe to newsletter to get free guitar lessons!

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25 comments sorted by best / new / date

    berktt
    Great article. Although I want to add to number one. To make memorizing easier over the long run, rather than learning the notes across a string, I believe it is better to learn the notes across a fret. For example, rather than studying the chromatic scale ( E F F# G G# A A # B C etc..), memorize across a fret like the open position ( E A D G B E ). Not only is it more challenging, you will see that you will learn faster. I would recommend that you practice away from the guitar! Or at least, don't play the notes - stare at the fingerboard, pick a random fret and figure out what the notes are. If you are serious about memorizing the notes on the fingerboard, you should be able to recite the notes on a random fret as if you were telling someone your name or your home address. Another recommendation would be to do this with flashcards.
    EdguyRule_22
    GuitarFretteret wrote: I'm a little confused about the part where you said that you just add 2 frets to the digit when you went from 12 to 19. Wouldn't 2 more frets be 14? I'm sure im just misunderstanding. If anyone could clear this up for me that'd be great. thanks
    You already have 12 because it is the 12th fret, add 7 because it is the 7th fret, then you have 19th fret. Great article, I have been avoiding learning all the notes because it is a huge thing for me, but that is why I still suck!
    josippesut
    E note on fifth string is on 7th fret. To get it ABOVE 12th fret, just add 2 frets on last digit, so it will be on 19th fret. I hope this clears it up!
    GuitarFretteret
    I'm a little confused about the part where you said that you just add 2 frets to the digit when you went from 12 to 19. Wouldn't 2 more frets be 14? I'm sure im just misunderstanding. If anyone could clear this up for me that'd be great. thanks
    FriscoAnderson
    Thanks for this, man... I had a vague idea which notes were what, but I was always checking, now I have a fundamental way to actually memorize it... Thanks...
    brad_445
    Sweet. Just when you think you know it all. Which i knew barely any. Thanks.
    Instrumetal
    blazing riff wrote: 'TallicaRules wrote: 3.Basic chords bass notes Other thing I'm sure you all know, are basic open and barre chords. See where their bass notes are and memorize them Can anyone explain what the bass notes are? TIA. The bass note of a chord is the same as the root I suppose. If you play an open Em for instance, the bass note would be the low E string. Same goes for G where the bass/root note will be a G. Hope this helps
    actually the bass note is simply the lowest note (in terms of pitch, not location) in a chord. For example, an Em7 chord could have 4 different bass notes (any of the notes in the chord: E-G-B-D) depending on which inversion you play it in. If a note other than the root is the bass note in the chord, it will often be written as chord-slash-bass, ie. Em7/G or Em7/D.
    -will-
    great article. my first guitar teacher told us an acronym to help me remember open notes. that was like 5 years ago. the acronym is this: Eddy Ate Dynamite, Good Bye Eddy. just wanted to say that.
    josippesut
    berktt wrote: Great article. Although I want to add to number one. To make memorizing easier over the long run, rather than learning the notes across a string, I believe it is better to learn the notes across a fret. For example, rather than studying the chromatic scale ( E F F# G G# A A # B C etc..), memorize across a fret like the open position ( E A D G B E ). Not only is it more challenging, you will see that you will learn faster. I would recommend that you practice away from the guitar! Or at least, don't play the notes - stare at the fingerboard, pick a random fret and figure out what the notes are. If you are serious about memorizing the notes on the fingerboard, you should be able to recite the notes on a random fret as if you were telling someone your name or your home address. Another recommendation would be to do this with flashcards.
    I agree! I also mentioned that visualizing guitar neck without actually having guitar in your hands helps a lot, and you can do it while you travel, and I'm sure everyone travels a lot!
    LDellosa
    I wish there was a guide like this when I started playing geetar. Helpful.
    wesselbindt
    "Fat E string"? Really? j/k, this was a great lesson, and there should be more lessons like this on UG.
    blazing riff
    'TallicaRules wrote: 3.Basic chords bass notes Other thing I'm sure you all know, are basic open and barre chords. See where their bass notes are and memorize them Can anyone explain what the bass notes are? TIA.
    The bass note of a chord is the same as the root I suppose. If you play an open Em for instance, the bass note would be the low E string. Same goes for G where the bass/root note will be a G. Hope this helps
    'TallicaRules
    3.Basic chords bass notes Other thing I'm sure you all know, are basic open and barre chords. See where their bass notes are and memorize them
    Can anyone explain what the bass notes are? TIA.
    ILL BisCuiT
    I think you should have gone a little more in detail about the intervals of notes. You should know why the notes are where they are not just memorize random relationships.
    mdawg24
    Those are actually some really good tips. Most of the stuff is an explanation of how I think and find notes as someone who already has them memorized. Nice work.