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Guitar Lesson: Five Ways To Learn The Notes On The Guitar

Aug 17, 2007
To find your way around the fretboard of the guitar is very important. It will help you in guitar improvisation, sight reading, and in understanding chords and more. In this guitar lesson we will explore five ways to learn the notes on the guitar fretboard.

How much do you need to practice?

A couple of minutes a day with one of these exercises will help you improve your skills in finding the notes. In this guitar lesson we will focus on the fretboard and not the actual guitar sheet music.

Learning to read guitar sheet music will be much easier when you master the notes on the guitar keyboard. I have divided this article in five lessons that you can alternate between until you master the guitar fretboard.

Guitar lesson 1

Learn the basic notes, the notes of a C major scale (the white keys on the piano) on every string. Let's test this on the first string on your guitar. The first note is an E. You will find F on the first fret. G on fret three. A on fret five. B on fret seven. C on fret eight, D on fret ten and the next E on fret twelve.

The sixth string on the guitar is an E too. It's just two octaves lower but you will find the same note names on this string on the same frets two octaves lower.

On the second string you will find the notes on the following frets:

fret 0-B, 1-C, 3-D, 5-E, 6-F, 8-G, 10-A, 12-B

On the third guitar string you'll find the following notes:

0-G, 2-A, 4-B, 5-C, 7-D, 9-E,10-F, 12-G

I guess you can figure out the names of the notes on the next strings by yourself but here they are in case you will double check. The fourth string:

0-D, 2-E, 3-F, 5-G, 7-A, 9-B, 10-C, 12-D

The notes on the fifth string or the A-string:

0-A, 2-B, 3-C, 5-D, 7-E, 8-F, 10-G, 12-A

I would suggest that you concentrate on one string at a time and learn the names as you play the notes on your guitar maybe by saying the note names aloud as you play.

Guitar lesson 2

Learn a specific note on all strings. This is a great way to learn the notes and quite amusing too. Let's use the note G. You'll find it on the third fret on string six. Where can you find the note G on string five? Right, on fret 10.

The G notes on the strings from the sixth string to the first are on the following frets:

3 10 5 0 8 3

You can make an exercise of this by playing the G notes from string six down to the first string and back again. Try this with other notes too. For example E.

If you devote a couple of minutes a day on this exercise you will soon be able to play the sequence of strings fast, spotting the notes without effort.

Guitar lesson 3

Learn the names of the notes on a fret. We can start with the open strings starting from the sixth string to the first. The names will be:


Now, play the notes on the third fret in the same order. At the same time try to say the names of the notes aloud. I will help you this time only by writing the note names down:

G C F Bb D G

Try this exercise on different frets and say the names of the notes aloud.

Guitar lesson 4

Learn the notes in a chord. Play any chord and name the notes aloud from string six to string one. This guitar exercise will also help you to understand how the chords are built.

Guitar lesson 5

In this guitar lesson you will use your ability to create random notes on the guitar. As you play notes on your guitar at random you also say the note names aloud.

Play in an even pace, just fast enough to make this exercise a challenge for your mind so your mind will concentrate on the task and not wander off.

All of these small guitar lessons can be used together with a companion. One playing the notes on the guitar and the other saying the note names.

As I mentioned before I think it's best not to overdo these exercises. Choose one of the guitar lessons and work a couple of minutes a day on mastering the exercise.
About the Author
Peter Edvinsson is a musician, composer and music teacher. Visit his site Capotasto Music with free guitar sheet music and his free sheet music blog
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