When it comes to playing the guitar, what truly separates the good players from the greats is their ability to effortlessly navigate the fretboard.
Learning the notes on the fretboard is one of the most useful things you can practice. Because simply put, it gives you the FREEDOM to navigate and play wherever you want on the fretboard so that you can express yourself better on guitar!
Today's lesson is for players of all levels, I am going to show you how to memorize your fretboard using a simple system.
After this video, you will be able to:
- Find Any note anywhere on the guitar fretboard
- Consistently do so every single time, no matter your guitar fretboard knowledge.
And for you advanced players yes we are covering some foundations and basics at the beginning but stick until the end, it will all make sense then. Besides to become a master you need to master your basics first! Let's go!!
First things first. This system will work no matter the starting point or the note I am trying to find. We will be using octaves to find the same note across the fretboard!
Note: an octave is the same note but on a higher or lower pitch.
To find the octaves, you can visualize:
- The major scale (in the diagram below) and counting.
- A few different shapes (more on that up next)
Start playing the scale and count until 8, starting from the note you want, and you will find its next octave. Let's talk specifics!
If the note is on the Low E and A strings (strings 6 and 5):
You either visualize the major scale as mentioned before or you visualize the power chord shape we will call this shape 1.
Notice how we are moving down, skipping a string, and moving 2 frets up.
The same shape works if the note I am looking for is on the A string.
If the note is on the D and G strings (strings 4 and 3):
Those couple of strings are very similar to the first couple. But here we need to take into consideration the difference in tuning between the G and B strings.
If you know your fretboard geometry then you know exactly what i mean! If not then you could just use what we will call shape 2.
Notice how this time I'm still going down 2 strings but here I move up 3 frets.
That's because we are still using a power chord shape but taking into consideration the difference in tuning between the G and B strings i move everything up a fret hence why we moved 3 frets up instead of 2.
Same goes for notes on the G string.
If the note is on the B or high E strings: (string 2)
Here things get a little tricky, for the last couple of strings we will have to change strategies. Going down the major scale like we were doing just wont do, we would run out of strings before hitting the octave!
What we do here is either go in reverse, check out @4:53 of the video lesson for a more comprehensive demonstration.
Or just simply use this next shape we will call that shape 3 or the C shape.
Notice how this looks like a C open chord.
So for this shape we went 3 strings up and 2 frets up.
Last but certainly not least when my note is on the high E string (string 1), the shape we use is really simple. Since strings 1 and 6 are both E strings they share the same notes! We will call this shape 4 or the G shape.