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Memorizing The Fretboard

Bob Gardynik (70) · [archive]
Style: Basics · Level: Beginner · Tempo: 120
Pages: 1

I know there's already lessons here on Wholenote concerning this topic, but I have not seen it explained quite like this before, so I decided to make my first lesson out of it.

The other day I was looking at a layout of the fretboard, trying to establish some sort of pattern to all them notes, some sort of rule to apply that would work anywhere on the fretboard. Finally, I came up with something.

Memorize this sequence of notes, in the following order:

BEADGCF A# D# G# C# F#

That's it! Well, not exactly...heh. Going from the 6th string to the 1st string, any given fret will follow the above sequence of notes. So, if you know one note on the fretboard, you'll know all the notes in that fret. You'll also know all the other frets too, because the next fret up just increments by one note. Even if you have never even seen a guitar, you should be able to sit down with a piece of paper and write out all the notes, using the above pattern. It's pretty simple, actually. There is, however, just one rule to remember:

When crossing the B and high-E string, you have to compensate by subtracting a note. G# becomes a G, F becomes an E...etc. The key word here is crossing, because if you begin on the B string you just follow the pattern as is...even better!

Even the pattern is kinda simplistic, it sorta just repeats itself:

BEADGCF ...then the #'s begin where the E left off: A#D#G#C#F#, get it? Then just go back to B again to start it all over. Take a look at the 7th fret, look familiar?

Here's some practice:

10th fret, 6th string:

it's a D

Find the rest of the notes:

5th string = G

4th string = C

3rd string = F

2nd string = (A# - 1) = A

1st string = (D# - 1) = D

That's it! Practice using that FretWarrior program, or do what I did. Make up a spreadsheet in Excel with some frets on it, 6 places to write your notes next to the frets, then use the RANDBETWEEN(0,24) function to randomize the numbers (0-24) Excel will use to label the frets. I print out like 12 pages of these and take them to work with me. It's been 3 days now, and I've already got quite a few frets memorized.

Good Luck!

Bob