Guitar Notes Explained:
The Most Complete Guide To Learn All The Notes On The Guitar Fretboard

The Method To Never Forget The Notes On The Guitar Neck Anymore

By Antony Reynaert

Having a clear overview of the guitar neck is essential as this is one of the areas where advanced guitarists distinguish themselves from beginning guitarists. But when first confronted with the task, it seems a really overwhelming task to decipher the jumble of notes, intervals, chords, arpeggios, scales, etc. on the guitar fretboard. 

So what most aspiring guitarists keep from becoming a master of the guitar is that they lack a clear step-by-step method for understanding the guitar’s complexity.

Before you can unravel the structures of the guitar neck, it is not only necessary to develop the ability to quickly find the notes on the neck of the guitar, but also to permanently memorize the notes.

The Essential Step-By-Step Method To Localize Every Note On The Guitar Fretboard:

1. The Notes Of The Guitar Strings

Before you can localise a random note on the fretboard of the guitar, you first have to learn the notes of the guitar strings. The name of the note on a given string will then become the starting point for finding any note on the guitar neck.

1st  string = E note (thinnest string)
2nd string = B note
3th string = G note
4th string = D note
5th string = A note
6th string = E note (thickest string)

To easily memorize the note names on the guitar strings you can use the simple phrase “Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie”. The initial letters of each word represent the notes from the thickest to the thinnest string.

2. The notes horizontally on one string

The order of the notes on one string can easily be remembered as they take the order of the alphabet from A to G.

Se we get: A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G, and so on.

If we had an infinite long guitar neck, we could repeat this pattern over and over again.

However, what we must take into account is the fact that we sometimes skip a fret on the guitar and sometimes we don’t. As a general rule you can state that you always skip a fret except between the B and C note, as well as between the E and F note. Thus we get the following pattern:

3. Find all the notes on the fretboard

So far we have always started from the A note. However, this is not always the case as we must start from the names of the string notes that we learned above. When starting from the names of the guitar strings, you can locate all possible notes on the guitar neck.

What happens is that you will start somewhere in the middle of the ‘chain of notes on one string’. Take for instance the G string. You will have to start from the G string in the chain of notes. The image below illustrates this principle:

4. Complete diagram of the guitar notes

Once you have found a note on the guitar neck, it’s a good idea to check yourself for mistakes. You can print out the complete diagram of the guitar notes below and hang it in a visible place:

The Best Strategy To Permanently Memorize The Notes On The Guitar Fretboard

The approach most guitarists use is staring at the above diagram of the guitar neck, hoping to memorize all notes. This is the reason why so many guitarists fail to master the guitar neck.

Instead, we will look at a completely different and clear approach that allows you to memorize the notes PERMANENTLY.

Take your guitar and follow these steps:

  1. Choose a note out of the following row: A, B, C, D, E, F, G.
  2. Suppose you have chosen the G-note, then play the G-notes on the guitar on all the strings from the sixth (thickest) string to the first (thinnest string) and back. It is very important that you do not jump over strings and that you do not play open strings (an open string is a string that is strung without holding down that string with your fretting hand)! In the beginning it is essential to stay between the limits of the first fret and the twelfth fret.

This is what the G-note pattern should look like:

Once you are comfortable playing the G-note, move to another note and repeat the procedure.

Avoid These Pitfalls Or You Will Never Know All The Guitar Notes By Heart

Most guitar students will notice the second time they try to play a G note (after a few days), they’ve forgotten the "G note pattern" and have to start again from scratch. This is 100% normal!

The purpose of the above practice strategy is NOT to memorize a pattern, but to study the notes in such a way that when you need them you can indicate or name them in a split second!

For this reason you must regularly adjust the boundaries of where you play the notes on the fretboard. After you have performed the above exercise several times for a note between fret 1 and 12, do the same between these frets:

  • Between fret 5 and 16
  • Between fret 9 and 20
  • Between fret 13 and 24 (if your guitar has 24 frets)

Now that you know how to find and play all the notes on the guitar fretboard, it is essential that you build up your guitar technique in a way where you are free to express yourself. At any given point in a guitarist's development it is essential to overcome guitar technique limitations that are holding your development on the guitar hostage. In this free downloadable guide you learn exactly how to open the door of your guitar technique development with the best blues guitar exercises.


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