Lessons > Learning the Fretboard

Learning the Fretboard

Learning the layout of notes on the fretboard is vital if you want to understand guitar music theory. Constructing and understanding chords is much easier when you can navigate easily around the fretboard. Knowing the fretboard also makes it easier to change between keys and adapt scales to your liking.

It is quite a daunting task to learn all the notes but there are various ways of going about it to speed up the process:

  1. You only need to learn up to fret 12. After fret 12 the layout of notes is just repeated. Start by focusing on frets 0-12.
  2. Learning all the notes that lay on the marked frets is a good start. Every fret is only one away from a marked fret, making it easy to work out what note you are playing.
  3. Some people are good with pictures and so drawing up a fret map and putting it on the bedroom wall may help, add some colour make it nice and clear.
  4. Learn the different octave chord shapes. Play these shapes up the fretboard, naming the notes as you go. Use them to spot patterns in the layout of notes between strings, demonstrated below:

E---------------8-------------------------------
B-----------8--------5--------------------------
G-------7-------5-------------------------------
D---7-------5-----------------------------------
A-------5------------7--------------------------
E---5-------------------------------------------

E-----------------------------------------------
B-----------------------------------------------
G-----------------------------------------------
D---2---3---5---7---9---10--12---14-------------
A-----------------------------------------------
E---0---1---3---5---7---8---10---12-------------
----E --F --G --A---B --C --D ---E