Beginner guitarists should aim to learn the guitar fretboard notes. A good knowledge of the fingerboard is useful for positioning bar chords and guitar scale shapes. If you plan to learn to read music a knowledge of the fretboard is essential.
Guitar Fretboard Notes Chart
The numbers across the top of the guitar fretboard chart shown above are the string numbers. String 6 is the low E string, string 1 is the high E string.
The notes down the side are the fret position numbers. The shading on the diagram shows where the dots are found on most guitar fretboards.
Learn The Guitar Fretboard Notes
The guitar fretboard notes chart above shows all of the notes up to the twelfth fret. At this point the notes start repeating an octave higher up. This means that the note at the thirteenth fret is the same note – but an octave higher – as the note at the first fret. The note at the fourteenth fret is the same note as that at the second fret, but an octave higher, and so on.
Guitar Note Examples
Note at third fret of third string = G, note at fifteenth fret of third string = G (octave higher)
Note at 1st fret of 1st string = F, note at 13th fret of 1st string = F (octave higher)
On the guitar fretboard, the same note can often be played on more than one string. For example, the A note at the 5th fret of the 6th (lowest) string is the same note as the open 5th string.
The C at the 20th fret of the 6th string is the same as that found at the 15th fret of the 5th string, the 10th fret of the 4th string, the 5th fret of the 3rd string and the 1st fret of the 2nd string!
If all of this seems complicated now, don’t worry! It will soon become second nature.
You will notice that in the fretboard chart above some of the frets appear to have two notes in them. For example, the second fret of the low E string contains both an F sharp and a G flat. This is because in music, a note of the same pitch can have two (or more) different names. Most of the time (in rock and pop music) you can refer to the note using either the sharp or flat name, but in strict music theory you would change the name depending on what key the music was in. For more information on enharmonic notes see wikipedia.
How To Learn Guitar Fretboard Notes
An effective way to learn the notes on a guitar fretboard is to play chromatically up each string, while saying aloud the name of each note you play. (Playing chromatically means playing in steps of one fret at a time.) Start with the sixth string (the lowest string). Play the open string (E), then the note at the first fret (F), then the note at the second fret (F sharp or G flat) and continue upwards to the twelfth fret (and beyond). Repeat for each string.
Another good way of learning guitar notes is simply to finger a random fret and say aloud which note you are playing. Repeat this until you can get them all right!