GUITAR THEORY REVOLUTION. Part 1: How To Learn All The Notes On The Guitar Fretboard

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1 GUITAR THEORY REVOLUTION Part 1: How To Learn All The Notes On The Guitar Fretboard

2 Contents Introduction Lesson 1: Numbering The Guitar Strings Lesson 2: The Notes Lesson 3: The Universal Pattern For All Notes Lesson 4: The Exercises Lesson 5: Diagrams for the notes F, G, A, B, C, D and E Lesson 6: Test Yourself Lesson 7: Filling In The Blanks What Next?

3 Introduction Thank you for taking an interest in this e-book. Within it you'll find exercises which will help you memorize all the notes on the guitar fretboard within a very short time. Before you jump into the lesson I just want to give you a brief overview of my teaching philosophy. Although there are countless resources available online showing you what you need to know about music theory for the guitar, very few actually show you how to go about learning it all. Many resources use methods that are hundreds of years old and that were developed for teaching piano music. This leads beginner guitar players to believe that they aren't cut out to learn music theory when it's actually the teaching methods that are at fault. I can't tell you how many times I've spoken to guitar players who have tried to learn music theory several times but had to give up because the language and terms being used were only complicating things and creating confusion in stead of clarity. I'm aware that the way I teach things is different to how a lot of other people do it. That's because many conventional ways of doing things are illogical and confusing. I'm not afraid to break away from conventions and do things in ways I think are better. Please feel free to share this resource with your friends, or even better get them to sign up to the free newsletter at for free updates and new lessons. Although you are free to distribute this resource you can not edit or change it in any way or use the images in it for your own purposes other than as a learning aid for yourself. If you have any questions or comments please don't hesitate to get in touch. Until next time, Neill neill (at) guitartheoryrevolution (dot) info

4 Lesson 1: Numbering the Guitar Strings I mentioned earlier that I'm not afraid to break away from the conventional way of doing things and in my mind there is no better place to start than with the way the guitar strings are numbered. The conventional way is to number the guitar strings from the thinnest to the thickest. However in every other aspect of music a lower number indicates a lower pitch, so it's only logical that we do the same when numbering the guitar strings. So in this book and all of my future resources I will number the strings in the following way: the thickest string (the low 'E') is #1 while the thinnest (the high 'e') is #6. Below is a picture of a guitar fretboard from the 1 st to the 12 th fret as seen from above (Note this is how it looks for someone who frets the notes with their left hand and strums the strings with their right hand. I'll soon provide resources for left handed players on my website). The thickest string is, the low 'E' is marked as 1 it is the one closest to your face when holding the guitar. While the thinnest string, the high 'e' at the top of the image is marked as the 6 th string. Most guitars have dots at the 3 rd, 5 th, 7 th, 9 th and 12 th fret to help you see where your fingers are placed on the neck. The head of the guitar with the tuners is off screen to the left of the brown nut while the guitar continues to the right past the 12 th fret up to the 22 nd or 24 th fret depending on your guitar. Note that everything after the 12 th fret (where the two black dots are located) is a repeat of the first 12 frets. The first 12 frets span one octave and everything after that is in the second octave. So learning everything between the 1 st and 12 th fret will also teach us the other half of the fretboard. An additional bonus of numbering strings in this way is that we can treat the fretboard as a grid and describe note locations with coordinates. So imagine there is an X axis horizontally along the bottom of the above image and a Y-axis vertically along its side. Coordinates for notes can be given in the standard (X,Y) format. So the coordinates for the G note at the 3 rd fret of the 1 st string can be noted as (3,1) and the A on 2 nd fret of the 4 th string can be noted as (2,4).

5 Lesson 2: The Notes There are 12 different notes to learn: C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab, A, A#/Bb, B All the notes appear on the strings in this order, but with different starting points. This is one way that many people think you should learn all the notes but it is slow and ponderous. There are much better ways to do this which I will show you in a moment. Depending on how many frets your guitar has (most have 22 or 24 frets) you would normally have 144 note locations to learn. But remember this spans 2 octaves with everything repeated after the 12 th fret. This means we can cut down the amount of notes that need to be learned in half. Each of the 12 different represented 6 times within the first 12 fret stretch giving us 72 note placements to remember. I'll show you how to cut this down to only 42 in a moment. Right now it's not important to know why the notes are named in this way other than that C, D, E, F, G, A B are the notes of the C Major Scale and that the notes between C and D, D and E, F and G, G and A and A and B can be known by two names. For example the note between C and D can be called either a C# or Db. C# is pronounced as C Sharp and Db is pronounced as D flat. Sharp means raising the relevant note by a semi-tone and flat means lowering it by a semitone. If this doesn't make sense right now don't worry. It will be covered in future lessons. In this e-book I've given the notes C, D, E, F, G, A and B the colours of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Purple and Pink. These coloured notes are not any more special than the grey notes in between. However it is important to engage as many different senses as possible when learning new things. In the case of playing guitar I want you to use your visual as well as your aural and kinaesthetic (touch) senses. For now you will only focus on these coloured notes, of which there are 42. Notice how the notes of the open strings (the ones you get when striking the string without fretting it anywhere; represented by the white notes on the left) are the same as those at the 12 th fret namely EADGBe (I'm using a small 'e' to show that it is the thinnest string). This means that all the notes repeat in the same way after the 12 th fret. The notes at the 13 th fret are the same as those at the 1 st, those at the 14 th are the same as those at the 2 nd etc.

6 Lesson 3: The Universal Pattern For All Notes Now you are going to start learning the locations of all the notes, just one note at a time between the 1 st and 12 th fret. You'll be able to do this a lot quicker and easier than you may think when I show you the patterns they follow and the exercises to practice. Lets start with the location of all the F notes. As you can see there are 6 F's on the fretboard between the 1 st and 12 th fret. Each F note appears only once on each string between the 1 st and 12 th fret. Remember the exact same pattern repeats after the 12 th fret. So there will be an F on the 13 th fret of the 1 st string and on the 13 th fret of the 6 th string, an F at the 15 th fret on the 3 rd string etc. This pattern is the same for all other notes, each note appears 6 times between the 1 st and 12 th fret. The only difference is that each pattern has a different starting location.

7 Lesson 4: The Exercises Exercise 1: Vertically Across The Strings Place your finger on the F of the 1 st (the thickest) string at the 1 st fret. Hold down the string, strike it and sing or hum along with the note. Then, move up towards the next string and find the next F, it's at the 8 th fret. Again hold it down, strike it and sing along. Also imagine a green circle at each point where you play an F as this will aid your memory. Continue moving to each next string until you have played all the F notes. Once you have reached the top go back down again in reverse order. Exercise 2: Horizontally Along The Strings Start with the F notes on the 1 st and 6 th string then find each F note as you move up the fretboard to the right. The next one will be the F on the 3 rd fret of the 3 rd string and the next on the 6 th fret of the 5 th string. Once you reach the last one move back in the opposite direction till you are at the F notes on the 1 st fret on the 1 st and 6 th strings. Exercise 3: Pedal Point This exercise is probably the most important. Choose any of the the F notes, for example the F at the 1 st fret on the 1 st string and use it as a pedal point, moving back to it between each other F note. For example find the F notes in the following order: (1,1), (3,3), (1,1), (6,5), (1,1) etc (Remember I represent the locations as X,Y coordinates. The X is the fret number and the Y is the string number). These are the 3 exercises that will teach you all the locations of the notes F, G, A, B, C, D and E. I'll show you the diagrams of all those notes in the next section. Make sure to sing along with the notes. Engaging sight, sound and touch all together at once will make learning the notes easier. It is better to practice several times a day for a couple of minutes than for one hour once a week. Your memory works best when you repeat what you are trying to learn often. You've learned the location of a note when you can randomly skip between all its different locations without having to think too long about it or feel the need to count string or fret numbers to find locations (although this is fine in the beginning). Only move on to the next note once you've really ingrained the one you are working on. There are even more ways to learn the notes but these exercises should be enough for now.

8 Lesson 5: Diagrams for the notes F, G, A, B, C, D and E Below you'll find the patterns for the notes F, G, A, B, C, D and E. As mentioned earlier they all share the same pattern but each one starts at a different location on the fretboard. The pattern for F starts at the 1 st fret, G at the 3 rd, A at the 5 th, B at the 7 th, C at the 8 th, D at the 10 th and E at the 12 th (or with the open E and e strings). Remember that all the patterns continue on past the 12 th fret and that the notes from the 13 th fret to the 24 th are the same as the first 12. So you can imagine that once the pattern reaches the 12 th fret it loops around and continues at the 1 st fret. It will make sense when you look at the diagrams below. F: Starting at the 1 st fret. G: Starting at 3 rd fret. A: Starting at the 5 th fret. Note that the pattern continues past the 12 th fret with an A on the 14 th fret of the 4 th string and so there is also an A at the 2 nd fret of the 4 th string.

9 B: Starting at the 7 th fret. Now there are 2 notes past the 12 th, so that means the pattern loops around and also appear at the 2 nd fret and the 4 th fret. C: Starting at the 8 th fret. D: Starting at the 10 th fret. E: Starting at the 12 fret. Or imagine it starting with the open E and e strings.

10 Lesson 6: Test Yourself It's time to consolidate what you've learned so far. Below you'll see a diagram with all the coloured notes. Notice again how the notes of the open strings (the letters in the white circles) repeat at the 12 th fret. So the notes at the 13 th fret are the same as those on the 1 st, the 14 th are the same at the 2 nd etc. all the way up the neck. Take a few days to really memorize these notes with the three exercise I've provided. The goal is to be able to look at the fretboard and see the note names in your minds eye. Singing along with the notes and vividly visualizing the coloured circles will help you achieve this.

11 Use the following blank diagrams to test yourself and see if you can identify all the notes. Practice this exercise with your guitar so you can fret the notes and hum or sing along. For a bigger challenge try finding all the notes on this blank fretboard. Make sure to cover the earlier diagram.

12 Lesson 7: Filling in the blanks Finally it's time to fill in all the blanks that are still left on the fretboard. This will be easy since they are named after the notes they lie between. For example you already know now where all the F's and G's are located. So it's easy to see that between them you'll find the F# / Gb notes. If you've practised the previous exercises correctly you'll automatically see these. But if you still aren't sure you should know that all these notes follow the same pattern as the others, 1 note on each string. To really burn this into your memory practice naming all the notes vertically across the strings at each fret and horizontally along each string (the latter will be easier since you can just follow the spelling F- F#/Gb- G -G#/Ab- A -A#/Bb- B- C- C#/Cb- D- D#/Eb- E. Use the blank fretboard image I gave you earlier, or test yourself with your guitar. Congratulations, by investing just a couple of minutes a day it shouldn't take more than a week to know all the notes cold. You'll be able to put your finger anywhere on the fretboard and know the note name.

13 What Next? What I've provided you with so far should be more than enough to keep you occupied for a while (although I do have more exercises to make the learning process even quicker). It's certainly worth spending a couple of minutes a day learning all the notes on the fretboard, it is one of the most important parts of your guitar education. But there is a lot more I can teach you. I've created a comprehensive resource that will take you step by step from beginner to total fretboard mastery. Some of the topics covered include: How to see the notes on the fretboard like matrix code in front of your eyes. How to play chords all over the neck with the CAGED chords pattern. How to unlock the inherent strengths of the fretboard with a simple 7 note formula. The best way to train yourself to recognise musical intervals by ear. How to be able to construct chords wherever you want on the neck and not by just relying on memorising chord shapes. How to learn scales more quickly and efficiently and without being trapped in 'scaleboxes'. You'll understand the inner workings of Major, minor, pentatonic and other scales rather than just memorising finger positions. The power behind the circle of 4ths and 5ths including how to figure out which chords fit together in which key and how to transpose keys easily. You can check out this comprehensive resource by clicking the link below: Guitar Theory Revolution E-Book and MP3s It will teach you all the above and much more in a new and refreshing way that other teachers and resources just don't do. If you've struggled to learn music theory for the guitar in the past I guarantee that the way I teach the subject will comes as a breath of fresh air and remove the pain and frustration from working with what are in my opinion methods that have been out of date for hundreds of years. If you found the information in this book helpful then please share it with your friends and advise them to sign up for the free newsletter at so that they can receive more free lessons and resources straight into their inbox. Thanks again for taking an interest in these lessons. Until next time, Neill

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