Knowing the fretboard is a crucial skill that every guitarist should have down cold.  Many players, myself included, skip this step.  It just doesn’t sound fun.  I mean, I’m supposed to stop learning the intro to Stairway so I can recite note names?  I don’t think so.

And so I barely gave the note names any attention and I feel like I paid dearly as time went on.  I was lost.  Plain and simple.

Sure, I could play tablature, but if someone (or some book) didn’t tell me where to put my fingers, I couldn’t play.  I was clueless.

But when I devoted time to this, things started to click.

So if you’re a beginner maybe this lesson will help you avoid my mistakes.  If you have some serious time under your belt as a player, don’t you think its time you stopped for a second and learned this stuff?  🙂

A 6 Step Plan to Learn the Fretboard

So, a quick review of my plan for learning the fretboard:

  1. Learn the Open String Names
  2. Learn the Notes on the 6th String
  3. Focus on the Key Frets
  4. Learn the Notes on the 5th and 4th Strings
  5. Use Octaves to Learn the Notes on the 3rd and 2nd Strings
  6. Use the 6th String Notes to Learn the Notes on the 1st String

Learn the Notes on the 6th String

In the video below, I show you what each of the note names are on the 6th string.  Jot them down as I cover the notes from the open string all the way up through the 12th fret.

Keep in mind, the notes above the 12th fret just repeat the sequence that starts with the open string.  To say it another way, the 12th fret is the same note name as the open string.  Always.  So there you go, we just cut the 130 or so notes down to 65!  We’re halfway there and we’ve barely started!

Focus on Key Frets

Check out this video for a great technique to help you really focus your efforts to just a few frets on the 6th string.  I recommend this approach since these notes seemed to be used alot in most songs you will play and it helps memorizing as few notes as possible in a setting.

This is the 2nd installment in a series of posts on How to Learn the Fretboard.

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