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Memorize the fretboard notes the guitar

Here's a picture of all the fretboard notes. Very useful=) click on the picture for a larger version


Why should I bother learning these notes?

The secrets behind virtually all of your favourite guitarists (except Jmi Hendrix and Django Reinhardt and other rare geniuses), is not really secret. I will tell you right now what they are:

1. They know every single little note they play of the fretboard, at any speed they are playing

2. They know their chord theory, and scales

3. They have very disciplined practicing routines to keep their technique fine tuned

and lastly 4. They have experience. Music is not all about theory and technique, but also feeling and getting the beat down - this comes with time as you play along with songs, listen a lot to music you like and - hopefully - try to create something of your own.

Knowing the first secret is a major step in understanding the second point - the notes of the fretboard are the words of the language of your guitar and music in general, whereas the scales and chords can be seen as formal sentences. A solo, however, is poetry, if played correctly.

Don't get scammed!

There are many different sites out there build for the sole purpose of making you buy some kind of memorizing software etc to help you "speed up" your learning. Don't be fooled - there are no short-cuts in this. All it takes is repetition, repetition and again - repetition.

What I will give you below (for free, of course =)) is in my opinion the best way of memorizing the notes.

Don't do it if you don't have to!

I want to just mention that if you are merely playing guitar for some fun simple open chord-jamming etc, and maybe some light-weight soloing - it is not necessary for you to learn all the guitar notes. This process is only going to be worth your time if you truly want to understand what you're playing, and coming up with new ideas.

Okay so now here follows a few useful methods which will help you on your way.


1. Write, write, write

This method is BORING, but EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE. It's almost like trying to beat the notes into your head, with a pen and paper.

Step 1 - Print

Print the following:

Word-document with pre-made fretboard miniatures - click here

or simply download the image below and do what you want with it. Click on the image for a larger version.

Personally - I taped some plastic wrapping paper onto it and used it as a whiteboard ( good for tree-saving =)).





Personally - I taped some plastic wrapping paper onto it and used it as a whiteboard ( good for tree-saving =)).

Step 2 - work

a. Start by memorizing the spots of all the natural notes (that is, all the notes without flats and sharps; the notes from the C major scale).





It helps to take it fret by fret - don't try to memorize everything at once!

For instance, start with the first two frets, then add a fret when you feel comfortable with those two. Also try to vary the strings that you start writing on, and practice skipping strings on the paper - that way your brain will rather memorize the exact spot of the note instead of trying to derive it from adjacent strings.

b. When you feel comfortable with the C-major scale, then start with the sharps and flats. I suggest to start off with flats,and then move on to sharps, and then do both at the same time. Remember - fret by fret. Don't be afraid to skip frets back and forth as with the strings.

c. When you feel absolutely comfortable writing all the notes on one fret vertically in any string order - you have finished.

Give it time... - try to do it 30 minutes everyday (or more, up to you), as long as you do it regularly. Also try to say the notes loudly to yourself in the beginning. That way the stuff will be really imprinted into your grey matter;). Have some cool music on in the background to help you relax and make it more fun.

Depending on you, this approach can take anywhere between 1 week and 1 month or longer. Discipline is key =).

2. Repeat, repeat, repeat

Writing notes on paper's one thing, putting it into practice is another. Randomly pick out notes on your guitar, play them, and say them loudly! You cna use the same approach as I described before - you will know pretty soon if you know your stuff or not

3. Same, same, same

This is simply a final check, if you know all of the notes, and you cna also use it as a reminder every now and then.

This exercise is simply to play the same note on every string (don't bother that they are in different pitch - it's the same note). Do it slowly at first, then speed up.

Go chromatically from A to G#, using one note at a time.

I will get you started with an example of A and A#/Bb



I think you get the picture. Hope this guide was helpful, and that you will master the fretboard =).

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