Learning the notes on the guitar fretboard

To start, here’s a couple things you should already know:

  • Each of the guitar’s six string’s E,A,D,G,B,E
  • The musical alphabet has seven natural notes A,B,C,D,E,F,G

Okay so there is seven notes, that’s sounds easy enough…

But why does it take 12 frets to reach the same note again (octave)?

The distance between the notes are not the same.

You need to know two basic guitar music theory rules:

  1. The distance between B-C and E-F is one fret
  2. The distance between the all the rest of the notes is two frets.

So for example let’s start with the open E string

Likewise, if you start on the A string you have

And the same thing for the rest of the strings

But wait….

What about the notes in between?

That’s where the sharp’s and flats come into the picture.

The notes in between can be called sharp or flat depending on the key of the song. It has the same pitch, but two different names. This is more important when reading music. But the basic idea is simple. If the note is above, then the note is called sharp, if its below , then it’s called flat.

Let’s take for example the 1st fret on the A string. The note isĀ above A so it’s called

  • A Sharp or A#

That same note is also below B, so we can call it

  • B Flat or Bb
To really learn the notes on the fretboard takes time, and practice.

Here is how you practice

  1. Start with each string going up and down and say just the natural notes. Try for one string a day.
  2. Then go up each string and say the natural notes and call all the notes in between sharps.
  3. After that do the same thing and call all the notes in between flats.
  4. A good game you can play is to just randomly pick a note and figure out what note it is. This is even better if you have someone pick the note for you.
  5. Learn the notes of your favorite songs