How To Learn Your Fretboard!
I have had a few requests for music theory lessons so i have been thinking, whats one of the biggest bang for your buck theory lessons i can come up with. Well here it is! There are so many times and situations where learning the notes on your fretboard are useful. From naming chords, naming scales, working out music theory and unlocking the musical world around you to communicating with other musicians. Particularly musicians who might not even have a fretboard!
For beginners, the most immediate use if for learning your barre chords and knowing how far you may need to shift a shape up or down the neck to get your desired chord.
With 21 (in some cases 24) frets and 6 strings the task almost seems unrealistically demanding. Thats 144 note positions to learn! But there is a very easy way of knowing any note on your fretboard with 3 quite simple concepts
Step 1: learn the musical alphabet, if you know the english alphabet your half way there! all thats left is knowing what a Sharp and what a Flat is and how it relates to the musical alphabet, watch in the video as a demonstrate. When you know the musical alphabet you can theoretically count up from any note on any string and work your way up the fretboard. it can be pretty slow going though! Particularly if your note is high up on the fretboard, its a long way from the first fret! Remember No # between B and C, E and F
Step 2: learn 3 anchor points. I call them anchor points but all I'm referring to is the fact that you are going to need to memorise them and you already know 2 if your have followed my beginner guitar course or just know your open strings. EADGBE (Elephants and dogs grow big ears) The 5th fret is also your friend as its exactly the same as the open strings but 1 string out ADGBEA. you should see that this was pretty quick stuff. 1 more anchor point which isnt so easy to remember, but hey, i have saved you a lot of time already! So this one your gonna need to learn. C# F# B E G# C#. Say it over and over again until you can recall it.
Step 3: Learn the 2 main octave shapes. One is two frets up and 2 strings along, its much easier for me to demonstrate in the video so take a look and notice what happens when you are on or across the B String.
Not you are ready to learn any note on the fretboard. If a note falls on an anchor point your in luck, just name that note (if you know your 3 anchor points) if a note is only a fret away from your anchor point, just count up 1 in the musical alphabet. If a note is quite a distance from an anchor point it might be quicker to use an octave shape to jump it up or down by a few frets so it falls nearer the anchor.
I give you a few tests in the video so test yourself and see if you have learnt it, even with half the knowledge in this video you will have a massive advantage next time you try and name a chord, move to a new scale or just generally try and do some music theory
The forums are the ideal place for help and to really get stuck in with other members of the guitar playing world. Ask questions or help others struggling on this section