Getting Started Learning Notes on the Fretboard
Installment #1: "Important Guideposts on the Guitar Neck"
By Mark Hanson
May 31, 2009
Students ask me how to learn the names of the notes all over the guitar neck.
The system I have devised uses certain frets (5th, 7th, 10th, 12th) as guideposts, from which I suggest my students extrapolate to find other notes. Here is how to get started using my system for standard tuning:
|1.||I know the open strings: E A D G B E (bass to treble)|
|2.||I know the 12th-fret notes because they are the octaves of the open strings: E A D G B E|
|3.||I know the fifth-fret notes because they are the same note as the adjacent higher-pitched string (the time-honored “Fifth-Fret” tuning technique):|
|Sixth string, 5th fret = A (same as open fifth string)|
|Fifth string, 5th fret = D|
|Fourth string, 5th fret = G|
|Third string, 4th fret = B *|
|Second string, 5th fret = E|
|*||The one exception is the 4th fret of the third string.|
|4.||I know the 7th-fret notes because they are an octave higher than the adjacent lower-pitched string:|
|Fifth string, 7th fret = E (one octave above open Sixth string)|
|Fourth string, 7th fret = A|
|Third string, 7th fret = D|
|Second string, 8th fret = G *|
|First string, 7th fret = B’|
|(Sixth string, 7th fret is also B, like the first string)|
|*||The one exception is the 8th fret of the second string.|
|5.||I know the 10th-fret notes because I can count backwards in the alphabet (at least up to G!). The 10th-fret notes are all “white” notes (no sharps or flats), one letter in the alphabet before the name of that open string:|
|Sixth string, 10th fret = D (the open string is E; D is the letter prior to it in the alphabet)|
|Fifth string, 10th fret = G|
|Fourth string, 10th fret = C|
|Third string, 10th fret = F|
|Second string, 10th fret = A|
|First string, 10th fret = D|
That’s enough for the first installment. In subsequent installments I will explain how to learn the other notes on the guitar neck.
Copyright © 2009 Accent On Music, LLC, and Mark D. Hanson. All Rights Reserved.