C’mon now! If you have a girlfriend, you surely know every square inch of her neck! You know the layout and well, the name of every little dimple. Well, your guitar’s neck deserves the same attention. Your guitar fretboard notes tell you where everything you want to know is located. A guitar fretboard notes diagram will help you learn those locations. Besides, if you play for pay, that instrument puts dinero into your pocket. You learn it, you take care of it, keep it clean, even baby it, right? Right? I sure hope so! So, let’s get started.
| This discussion applies to all six-stringed guitars and to four-stringed bass guitars|
| that are tuned EADGBE from the large E string, 6th string, up to the small E string |
First, let’s get tuned up. A guitar not in tune is just going to make noise and you’ll get frustrated, your listener(s) will get frustrated. So let’s start with a guitar in tune. Illustration 1 shows a blank guitar neck. Assume that no finger is fretting the neck at any point. The tuning is what is known as Open-E.
I recommend that you get a tuner and tune those open strings to EADGBE. The EAD are the three lowest strings, or string 6, 5 and 4. The GBE are the three highest, smallest strings, or strings 3, 2 and 1.
The next thing to do, if you do not know already, is to name the note at each fret along the low E. That’s the big string at the bottom. is more then one way to do this. I recommend learning the notes. Another way is to initially learn the bottom two strings, then derive the notes above. No matter which way you do it, don’t forget to memorize where that note is on the fretboard.
Name each fret until you come to the fret with the double-dot inlay. That fret is 12-notes up the neck, or the octave of the open, low E string. Sometimes the octave appears as the infinity sign laying on its side. Illustration 2 shows the notes at each fret of the low-E string: E, F, F#, G, G#, A, Bb, B, C, C#, D, D# and the octave E. Take each Illustration as an exercise. Do not move on to the next illustration until you can and have named all of the notes on that particular string.
Using the same methodology, the notes of the A, or second, string are shown in Illustration 3: A, Bb, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G# and the octave A.
Notice that I placed the notes on top of the string below. That is so I’ll have a little room to show you how to derive the name of the notices on the D (fourth) string and the G (third) string. If you take any given note on the low-E and A string, move up the neck two frets, then downward toward the Hi-E string two frets, you will have the note at that fret. Let me show you in Illustration 4.
So the note E is found on the open Low-E string, then moving two frets UP the neck and then two frets DOWN, we find E again on the D (fourth) string at the second fret. This E is also the octave of the Low-E. This method of determining a note works on all three of the bigger strings: E, A and D. It does not work with the G string. Illustration 5 shows the notes of the G string.
The next string I want to cover is the High-E string. That’s because it is identical to the Low-E string, as shown in Illustration 6.
And guess what? The same thing is true for the notes on the G string: Move three frets UP the neck and two frets DOWN. Bingo! Note!
The final string will be the B String. Its name comes from the D string, but instead of two frets UP and two frets DOWN, the note is three frets UP and two frets down. Prove it to yourself in Illustration 7. You don’t see the notes of the D string because you should know them.
That’s it! Those are the notes of the fretboard. Illustration 8 shows all of the notes between the OPEN position and the twelfth fret, the octave. Hey! Wait a minute!!! What about those notes above the twelfth fret? If you’ll notice, the notes at the twelfth fret are identical to those in the OPEN position. So guess what? You guessed it. The names start all over again. Don’t forget, you have to learn those notes, too!!
Congratulations!!! Now you know the notes of the fretboard!
Coming up next… Guitar Part Names
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