How to learn all the notes on a guitar

How to learn all the notes on a guitar
How to learn all the notes on a guitar

On a piano, the notes follow each other in a logical order from octave to octave, on a guitar, it is quite different. Knowing where all the notes are placed on the neck of your Fender or Gibson will allow you to play with almost total freedom. A little patience and perseverance will allow you to achieve results that will surprise you the first. The information you will find in this article is for guitars that are tuned in standard mode, i.e. MI, A, D, SOL, SI, MI.


Part 1 of 2: Learn the basics

Learn All the Notes on the Guitar Step 1

Step 1. Familiarize yourself with the open thong

We are talking about open string when playing an open string, that is to say without touching the string on the neck of the instrument. On an unmodified guitar, there are 6 strings. The thickest is at the top and the thinner at the bottom. You will name the strings from the thinnest (lowest) to the thickest (highest), the thinnest being the first (1st) and the lowest (thickest) the last (6th): mi si sol re mi. There are several ways to memorize the name of the strings, here is an easy one.

  • Midshe
  • Yesnges
  • Groundidaries
  • Dparent
  • The
  • Midcheline
Learn All the Notes on the Guitar Step 2

Step 2. Familiarize yourself with musical notes

Seven in number, the notes are as follows: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si. This is how they are called in France and many other countries. In some countries, in particular the English-speaking countries, they have kept their original name A, B, C, D, E, F, G. It was the monk Guido d'Arrezo who created in the eleventh century the notes that we know in France. Once you get to B, the next note is C and it starts all over again. On a guitar (especially), you have to take into account the sharps (#) and flats (b). If you play the low E string open, placing your finger on the 1st fret of the neck, the note is an F, on the 2nd fret, you will produce an F #, then the next is a G …

  • The next note is higher. In a scale, the E is therefore higher or above the D.
  • The previous note is lower. So, always when naming the notes of a scale, the B is lower (or lower) than the C.
Learn All the Notes on the Guitar Step 3

Step 3. Learn what sharps and flats are

As we have just seen, the note following the F on the neck of the guitar is not the G, but an F #. On a score, the sharps are noted (#) and the flats (b). They are also called alterations. An altered note can have 2 names. Indeed, imagine that you place a finger on the 2nd fret of the G string to play an A. If you go up (towards the neck) one fret and place your finger on the 1st fret, you will get a lab (a flat). Play the open string (a G) then move your finger down the neck (towards the body of the instrument) on the 1st fret, you will produce a G # (G sharp). It is however the same note! By playing the A string empty then placing your finger on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd fret … you will get this:

  • la, la #, si, do, do #, d, d #, e, fa, fa #, sol, sol # and again la
  • mi # also exists, but it's usually called fa, just like if # is called do. This does not usually apply to pop music, because in classical and sometimes in jazz, you have to name the notes by their real name for technical reasons, but for now you don't have to take into account the B #, mi #, fab and dob
Learn All the Notes on the Guitar Step 4

Step 4. Play the open MI6 string

The open string is symbolized by a 0, the 1st fret by a 1, the 2nd by a 2… Now place your finger on the 1st fret of the neck of this string to produce an F. The space between all notes (this includes sharps and flats) is called a semitone. From E to F you have 1 semitone, like from A to A # or from B to Bb. Each time you move your finger one fret, you move a semitone. By moving it 2 squares, you will cross 1 tone. 3 boxes, 1 tone and a half …

  • So you've just played an open E on the thickest string, the MI6 string.
  • Place your finger on the 1st fret and play the note. Well done ! You have just produced an fa.
  • Now place your finger on the next square (the 2nd) and you play an F #.
  • Continue and put your finger on the 3rd fret to play a G.
  • You can continue like this until you reach the very bottom of the handle. For this exercise to be useful, you must name the notes and watch where you put your finger. It is not necessary for the moment to go beyond the 12th fret.
Learn All the Notes on the Guitar Step 5

Step 5. Locate the natural notes on the 6th string

Remember, the natural notes are do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si. And the 6th string is… the thickest. Yes ! On most guitars you will find that the natural notes are marked on the neck with a white dot, or sometimes brown or a square, but there is a mark in the center of the fret.

  • The open string produces the note E
  • Play an F by pressing the 1st fret
  • Play a G by pressing the 3rd square
  • Play a la by pressing the 5th fret
  • Play an if by pressing the 7th fret
  • Play a C by pressing the 8th fret
  • Play a D by pressing the 10th fret
  • Play an E by pressing the 12th fret and so on
Learn All the Notes on the Guitar Step 6

Step 6. Imagine that the neck of the guitar has just 12 frets

The neck of your guitar is divided into small sections, the boxes, separated by small metal bars called the frets. When you place a finger on a fret, you produce a note, changing fret, another … When you arrive at the 12th fret, you produce the same note as that produced by the open string, but at the octave (octave = 8 natural notes). By learning the notes from the open string to the 12th fret, you will advance very quickly, because beyond that, the cycle only repeats itself.

  • When you play all the strings by pressing the 12th fret (of all strings) you will get (like open strings from 1st to 6th): E, B, G, D, A, E.
  • In Western music, there are only 12 musical notes that we have skimmed over above. You remember ? Come on, a little reminder: mi fa fa # sol sol # la la # si do do # re re #. And it begins again…

Part 2 of 2: locate a note anywhere on the fretboard

Learn All the Notes on the Guitar Step 7

Step 1. Memorize the notes individually

It is better to try to memorize the notes by separating them from each other rather than playing them endlessly one after the other. By playing them repeatedly for too long, you will remember the sequence of notes, but you will not be able to name a random note. Play a G then a B, a D, an A… out of order, and vary all the time. To memorize them quickly, you need to concentrate and never get used to strings of notes that you only repeat mechanically.

  • Play a note at random. Place a finger on a fret without looking and determine which note it is. Then place your finger on another box at random and name this note.
  • When you quickly recognize all the notes at random on the 6th string, then it will be easier for you to find those of the other strings, because you will have a reference.

Step 2. Work the octaves

The octave is the same note as the previous one, but played 12 notes higher or lower (including sharps and flats). An octave is made up of 12 semitones (12 frets on the neck). If you are a singer, you may find it easier to understand octaves. For the guitar, play an E while plucking the MI6 string open then press the 2nd fret of the D string. You produce the E in the octave. Play the MI6 string by pressing the 3rd fret and play the G string open. You have found another octave! Continue like this and let your ear guide you. By focusing, you know whether or not you got the right note.

  • There is however one exception to the rule (that was too easy right?), Which is the B string of your instrument. It is in fact not granted like all the others. By pressing the 5th fret of MI6, you get a la (the next empty string). By pressing the 5th fret of the LA string, you get a D (the next empty string) … On the other hand, you must press the 4th box of the G string to produce a B (the next open string).

Step 3. Practice switching from one rope to the other

As you can now find the note reproducing the next open string by pressing the 5th fret of the previous string, practice doing this, but starting from the 1st fret of MI6 and no longer from the open string.. By pressing the 1st fret of the MI6 string, you produce an F. Try to find the F on the next string (the LA string). Can you do it? For the notes to be identical, there must be 5 boxes of difference (4 for the SI string). So the 1st fret of the MI6 string, and the 6th of the A string produce the same note. The 2nd fret of the MI6 string and the 7th fret of the A string produce the same note, and so on …

  • Now practice doing the same thing, but in reverse. Start from the thinnest string and work your way to the thicker looking for the same notes.
  • Remember you have an exception with the IF string. If you switch from the high E string to the SI string, all is well, but to switch from the SI string to the G string, there are only 4 frets of difference to produce the same note. Always take this into consideration when moving between the SI chord and the others (and vice versa).
Learn All the Notes on the Guitar Step 10

Step 4. Memorize the intervals

You can make your job easier with octaves, but also with other intervals that will allow you to orient yourself on the neck and recognize all the notes more and more quickly. Practice as often as possible by working the following intervals.

  • Remember that the 6th open string and the 1st open string (the thinnest and thickest) produce the same note: E!
  • The D string (the 4th) and the MI6 string produce almost the same note. The 3rd fret of the MI6 string allows you to produce a D.
  • When you press the 2nd fret of the G string, you get an A, like the note of the open A string.
  • If you press the 2nd fret of the A string, you produce the same note as the open B string, an B.
Learn All the Notes on the Guitar Step 11

Step 5. Spend some time on the guitar each day

As you know perfectly well, it is impossible to do something without working. The same goes for music. It sounds easy watching the musicians on TV, but in reality they have spent years and hours working on their instrument. Without necessarily wanting to become a professional, the only thing to do to play an instrument well is to play every day. As much as you can. The more you play, the better you will play… For example, practice finding all the E that can be played on the guitar, then all the labs, then all the Cs and so on. Everything you do will help you progress.

  • Find all the E you produce on the neck, then play an E on one string, on the next, on the next… using all the strings of the instrument. You can do this by going from one string to the next to begin with, then skip strings and do this exercise in a random fashion, playing all possible E's of the neck. Then do it with other notes.
  • Familiarize yourself with the natural notes to start, you will practice the sharps and flats afterwards.
Learn All the Notes on the Guitar Step 12

Step 6. Learn to read musical notes

Yes, that can sound a bit off-putting, and it's true, just the word solfège can make you nauseous. However, if you really love music and want to learn how to play, putting all the cards on your side can only do better. Don't believe fairy tales or movies about geniuses who can play without having touched an instrument. These are children's stories. In reality, anything is possible, but by working, not by magic (we are not in a movie). If you like the guitar, don't hesitate to take lessons. Contact a teacher in your area. He is in the best position to help you progress than anyone.

Popular by topic