Ways To Remember That Fretboard

Learning the fretboard is one of the most important things any guitarist should do. After two years fo experience, I've seen so many people just resort to wanting to know the fret numbers, as opposed to notes, and completely bury their head from the topic. Here are my personal methods of remembering the neck.

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Quick note about this Article These points are all based around a guitar which has been tuned to a regular E standard, but can be replicated on D Standard, C Standard etc. When in a Drop tuning, such as Drop D, the rules still apply, but on the sixth string, go two frets higher on all rules. B STRING NOTE! Remember that the B string is tuned irregularly to the others, and the rules below should be applied, but making sure that an extra fret is added when moving UP ONTO the B string from the Low E, A, D and G strings, and and extra fret is removed when moving DOWN ONTO the Low E, A, D and G Strings. Going from the B string to the high E string doesn't require any difference to the rules. REMEMBER THIS! I won't be explaining it in the main text in this article, so make sure these rules apply. My Methods Alright Guys, here are pretty much all the rules I've either picked up from places, or discovered myself, which I use to remember the fretboard. Here goes: Fret Locations There are certain Frets that seem to follow a pattern, when it comes to what note they play. Throughout this article, I will use examples as if I was playing to a normal A 440 tuning (That's E standard to you and I). These are a few of the main fret-located patterns. -The 12th fret of a String is always going to be an octave higher than if the string was played on an open note (e.g. E string will have an E note at the 12th) -The 5th fret is the same note as the next highest string's open note (e.g. 5th fret on the low E string will be an A note, which is also the same as the Open A stirng above it). -The 7th fret is an octave higher than the open note on the previous lower string (e.g. 7th fret on the A string is an E, which is an octave higher than an open note on the E string below it) -The 22nd fret, the note type played will be a whole step (two frets) lower than the open note (e.g. on the E string, the 22nd fret will be a D) -If you're awesome enough to own a 24 fret guitar, then the 24th fret will be two octaves higher than the open note, or one octave higher than the 12th fret (e.g on the B string, the 24th is a B, same as an open note and the 12th fret) Using Power Chords as a Guide Power Chords are made up of a Root note, the fifth, and sometimes, the octave. Using power chords can be a great way to quickly locate other notes, especially during a shred-session. Here's three ways to manipulate power chord shapes to find notes. -Choose any fret, and then go two strings and two frets higher up the guitar. The new location you are at will be an octave higher than where you started (e.g. you may start on the 5th fret, E string, which is an A. By going up two strings to the D string, then two frets up to the 7th fret, you get an A note too, but an octave higher. -For this and the next point, make sure you learn your fifth intervals. Then, by going one string up and two frets up, you'll be at the fifth interval of whatever note you started at (e.g. By starting at the 5th fret, on the low E string, moving up one string and two frets, you get to an E note, the 5th interval of A). -This one's easy. Find any fret and go one string down from it. You'll be at the fifth interval of whatever note you started at (e.g. Starting on the 7th fret, A string (an E note) and going down a sting will get you to a B note. Going by Scale Patterns Learnt a scale pattern recently? Then use it to its full potential, and learn the board with it! Most scale patterns lead you from a root note to its octave. Simply follow the pattern as you usually do, and get to the octave. Then from here, just do the same pattern, starting from that new octave. You'll find that the notes you pass through are the same, but at higher octaves too. (At this point, I'm going to remind you, and hope you're remembering the B string rule stated at the start!). Four more Methods that don't fit anywhere else -It's typical music knowledge to know which notes are followed by # note. All notes besides B and E possess a # Note. remember this when studying the fretboard. -In a Standard tuning, the 1st and 6th string are of similar note values, just at different octaves. Because of this, the notes on the sixth string are EXACTLY the same as the 1st. So if you know one of the strings, then you instantly know the other. That's a Third of the fretboard learnt! -Most of the Points discussed can be replicated on the 12th fret, the 12th fret acting as an open note is in the above rules. Think of the open to the 12th fret as one fretboard, and 12th and onwards as a smaller, but similar fretboard. -My last point is to just grind a note type into your head. What I mean is, that some notes and their positions just end up coming naturally to you. For me, I now know instantly that the 3rd fret on the E string is a G, just because, I've naturally come to recognise that. This will happen to you at times. So anyway, I hope at least one of these points comes in help to you guitarists. Good luck with one of Guitars most mentally challenging tasks! :)

18 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    Disturbed_EMG
    I'm not too sure on how helpful this would be, but that's probably because I learnt all of this years ago. If it's helpful to people reading it, good stuff!
    shadowmaster036
    I don't know how useless lessons like this get published... I didn't even need a lesson to learn all this. I've tried to publish lessons that would actually help with your guitar playing and they were ignored. Sometimes the people that review these things should really open their eyes...
    Haanz
    -It's typical music knowledge to know which notes are followed by # note. All notes besides B and E possess a # Note. remember this when studying the fretboard.
    This is pretty much the only thing you need. Remembering that (and if you can't remember the notes, you can remember it as the highest two strings on the guitar) and remembering what strings are which you can just count up.
    randomhero93
    dragozan wrote: Spreadsheet wrote: Do I lose awesomeness for only owning a 21-fret guitar? To be honest man, i didnt know they made electrics with only 21 frets haha Don't worry, you keep awesomeness for simply choosing guitar as a hobby! \m/
    most Fender MIM's and Squiers are 21 fret guitars.
    dragozan
    Spreadsheet wrote: Do I lose awesomeness for only owning a 21-fret guitar?
    To be honest man, i didnt know they made electrics with only 21 frets haha Don't worry, you keep awesomeness for simply choosing guitar as a hobby! \m/
    dragozan
    shadowmaster036 wrote: I don't know how useless lessons like this get published... I didn't even need a lesson to learn all this. I've tried to publish lessons that would actually help with your guitar playing and they were ignored. Sometimes the people that review these things should really open their eyes...
    You'd be surprised how many people don't notice those sort of patterns on the neck. I know what you mean by you didnt need an article to know this (I for one noticed most of these by myself, jsut by simple theory and stuff). The thing is, some people learn in different ways, and need certain things pointing out for them. I mainly write to help that group of learners, using the knowledge i've come to notice to assist less experienced guitarists. If you didnt need the article to know this, good for you, consider it an advantage
    p_a_morgan
    Most people know this stuff, or should, but it's great that you posted it. UG is where Google will generally lead beginners too when they search a question. People forget that we were all beginners at one time and we didn't know this stuff. Anyway, great article, dude. If I didn't know this stuff, it would help me out a lot the way you explained it in a simple way to understand and everything. I wish I wouldv'e had an article like this when I started. Haha.
    steveman_guitar
    Some of these tricks seem really helpful to me. Us people out there with a crappy memory appreciate this
    kratos379
    Nice little article. I'll apply some of this next time I'm playing guitar.
    Single Foo
    shadow_murph wrote: yay that means I'm awesome for owning a 24 fret guitar as it's been said, good read for beginners still learning their way around their guitar!
    +1 I'm also the owner of a 24fretter
    shadow_murph
    yay that means I'm awesome for owning a 24 fret guitar as it's been said, good read for beginners still learning their way around their guitar!
    bcrich1234bc
    Yeah this is all good stuff to know, but generally anyone that has a decent amount of experience should already know most of this. Good guide though.