Finding the Notes on the Guitar Fretboard

Welcome to the art of guitar! Learning your guitar basics, it’s important to learn about the guitar fretboard and understand things like your guitar neck notes, the guitar frets, how to play frets on guitar, etc.

Today we’re looking at understanding the fretboard! More specifically guitar fretboard memorization. And for this I am going to give you some basic reference points to help you with understanding the guitar fretboard.

Maybe these are your first guitar lessons and you’re looking at how to learn guitar fast!  Well, I got you covered!!!

To start, here’s a simple guitar fretboard chart.

Notes on Guitar Neck

As you can see, these are all the notes on a guitar…

Now that you have a simple fretboard map (also known as a fretboard diagram, or guitar fretboard diagram), let’s look at some of the simple reference points that make guitar fretboard memorization much easier!

Reference Points

The first reference point is simply knowing the names of the strings on guitar. They are E A D G B E

The second reference point is knowing that the 12th fret is the same note as the open (which you will readily understand if you read the previous blog post):

Knowing this makes you able to essentially cut the guitar fretboard in half, so that you understand that after the 12th fret it’s all the same notes, just one octave higher…

Guitar Notes on Neck – 5th fret

Your next reference point is understanding that the 5th fret is the same note as the next open string (there is one exception: going from the G string to the B string, as you will see below).

For example, the 5th fret of the low E string is the note of A, which is the string underneath that (underneath as in towards the floor):

As you can see, the 5th fret of the A string is the note of D, which is the open underneath that. The 5th fret of the D string is the note of G, which is the same as the open underneath it.

Now, our one exception is that the 4th fret on the G string is the note of B, which is the open underneath it (again, I’m speaking in the laymans term when I say underneath, not in the sense of lower tone since this post is for those new to guitar).

When we move to the B string you can see that the 5th fret is E, as is the open underneath it.

Same notes, same octave!

This is something some of you may know from tuning. Well, it’s also a reference point! Because if you understand that the 5th fret of the E string is A, then it’s pretty easy to figure out that the 6th fret is A#, or that the 4th fret is G#…

Guitar Neck Notes – 7th fret

Another reference point is knowing that the 7th of each string is the same as the open string above it (above as in an upward direction ~ toward the ceiling).

Again, there is one exception, and it is again between the G and B string.

As you can see, for the B string it is the 8th fret that is the same as the open above it: the G string.

These are all the same notes, one octave apart!

This is good to know because, again, if you know that the 7th fret of the A string is E, then it is pretty easy to figure out that the 8th fret is F, and so on…

Fundamentals of Guitar – Octave trick

Ok, one last trick for you!

If you are holding a note, you can skip a string and hold the note that is two frets higher and these will be the same note, one octave difference:

As you can see in the next two examples it is different with the B and E strings: these both have to be up one more fret to get the octave, making them three frets apart:

This difference with the B and E string can be an enigma to guitarists for years… An easy way to think about it, to begin, is to just think that the B and E strings are just one fret higher in relation to the other strings.

Guitar Basics

I hope this helps you with understanding the fretboard and how to remember guitar notes! Your goal should be to ultimately be able to know each note on each string, and these reference points help you memorize the guitar fretboard quickly!

Online Guitar Lessons

Thanks for reading! If you need a guiding hand on your path of learning guitar and someone with a experienced eye on you to make sure you’re well rounded in your training and learning proper basics, coordination, and growing into music in a real living way, feel free to get in touch with me for one-on-one online virtual guitar lessons!

Rock on!
Coren Smith
Divine Guitar Lessons