Learning the notes on the guitar can be overwhelming. For a beginner guitar player, or anyone that doesn’t know the notes. With these 11 Tips you will be able to master the guitar fretboard.
So your probably thinking right about now. What are the 11 tips for learning the notes on the guitar? The 11 tips for learning the notes on the guitar are: know & remember the strings. Learn the fretboard & musical Alphabet. Know what notes are sharps. Practice one string at a time; Picking & saying the notes. 12th fret is an octave. Play them backwords. write them out.
That seems like a lot, but really it’s not hard at all. Once you know the steps you will be able to learn the notes. Continue to read for a step by step process “how to learn the notes”.
Tip #1 know the Notes of the Open Strings
The guitar makes a sound when you just pluck an individual string. When the guitar is in tune. Tuned properly, each string played open. Meaning played without freting the string anywhere. Then that sound is a note. There are 6 strings. When they are played open there are 6 notes.
Starting with the 6th string. Which is the thickest string. This string played open makes an E. So the sound that you are hearing is E note. The next string is the 5th string. The 5th string played open is an A.
The 4th string is a D note. Next we have the 3rd string, when it’s played open it is a G note. The second string open is the B, and the 1st string is easy to remember because it is the E note again. The high e.
The strings are also the name of the note that they sound out. They are all easy to remember if you use tip #2 below.
Tip #2 How to Remember the Guitar Strings
Here are two easy ways to remember what the strings are named. Like when you were a kid word association.
The strings from the lowest sounding & thickest string is: E A D G B e. To remember them you can use word association like this. The first one I have heard used a lot. It is very memorable.
E A D G B e
Maybe you connect with this one.
Eagles And Doves Glide Beautifully with Ease. Either one will work you just need a way to remember the strings. This is all elementary. Like everything you learn you need to start at the basics. Then once you get it. You won’t even think about what the strings are called. You will just know them.
What I would recommend you practice saying out loud. One of the word association statements. Then look at the guitar strings. Look at the 6th string say Eddie. Then look at the 5th string, Ate. The next string is the 4th string. You should remember Dynamite, and so on.
Do this until you get down to the first string. Then do it again. This time try to think of the actual notes. After doing this a couple of times. Then you will have learned and memorized the names of the strings.
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Tip #3 Learn the Musical alphabet
Yes the alphabet! Just like in school you learn the alphabet. Well in music you have an alphabet too. It works the same way except. The are not as many letters. The musical alphabet goes from A – G.
Just like the alphabet it goes A B C D E F G and that’s it. Back to A.
Tip #4 B & E Don’t Have a Sharp
In the musical alphabet. All the notes in the alphabet have a Sharp. Except for B and E. In music this # is the sign of a sharp.
What does sharp mean? Sharpening a note is to raise the Pitch. An example of this is. The note A if we sharpen the pitch by one half step or a fret. Then the notes is an A sharp shown like this in music A#.
All right so lets look at what we have learned so far. We know the Strings open are notes that have names. We know that there is a musical alphabet. That all the notes have a sharp except for B and E.
So now that we know these basic concepts. Lets see how to use them to find the notes on the guitar.
Before we get to far ahead. Lets review a couple of things. The neck of the guitar. The frets are metal wires going down the neck of the guitar the first fret is the one closest to the headstock.
Related Article: 10 Tips for Learning Guitar Chords.
Tip #5 Guitar Technique to Learn the notes
We know that the first string is E then the second strings is A. Lets use the 5th string for the purpose of learning the notes on the 5th string.
If you pluck the 5th string the sound is an A. From here we go to the first fret on the 5th string. Which remember is the second string from the top. First thing you want to think is. Does A have a Sharp? The answer is yes.
All the notes have a sharp except B and E. This means the first fret of the 5th string is an A#. Next we need to go through the musical alphabet. What is after A in the alphabet? You got it B. Does B have a Sharp? No! B does not have a sharp. This means the next note on the 2nd fret is a B.
Move up to the next fret. What is after B in the Alphabet? C is after B in the Alphabet. So on the 5th string at the 3rd fret if you place your finger there. Then play that string you are playing the C note.
Does C have a sharp? Yes, C has a sharp. Now we are on the 5th string 4th fret. Which is a C#. Whats the next letter in the alphabet? D is the next note on the 5th string 5th fret. D has a sharp so the next fret is D#. Which is the 6th fret.
At the 7th fret is the E on the 5th string. Does E have a Sharp? Nope! E does not have a sharp. What happens here is we go to the next letter in the alphabet. Which is the letter F. The F is the note on the 8th fret, 5th string.
F has a sharp. This means the 9th fret on the 5th string is F#. The next fret is a G note at the 10th fret. Does G have a sharp? Yes, the 11th fret is G#. Then we get to the 12 fret.
12th fret Octave
The 12th fret is what is called an octave. Which at the 12th fret all the notes are the same as the open strings. Except the notes are at a higher pitch at the 12th fret.
5th string 12th fret is an A note and an octave. The notes don’t stop there they start over at the 12th fret, and continue up the neck. The 13th fret 5th string is a A#. Then B, C , C# etc.
Tip #6 Talk it out!
When your learning these notes on each fret. The best way to learn the notes is to talk. Say what the note is.
Start by saying what string you are on. For this example lest’s use the E string. Do you remember which one the E is? Your right theres two E strings. A high and low 1st and 6th string. Lets go with the 6th string.
First pick the E string and let it ring out. Say that’s the E string. Next you want to know if the E has any sharps. So say to yourself does E have a sharp. Remember B and E does not have a sharp.
We are trying to find out what note would be at the first fret of the 6th string. So if E doesn’t have a sharp the next letter would in the alphabet it F. Which means F is the first fret of the sixth string.
Place your first finger on the 6th string at the first fret. Press the string down and pick the E string. That sound that you are hearing is the F note. See it’s a lot easier than you thought. Lets continue; next we need to know if F has a sharp. Yes, F has a sharp. We are trying to find out what the note at the second fret is. We know that F has a sharp. So the second fret is F#.
Don’t forget to say it out loud. The more ways you can think about it the quicker you will learn it. There is something about saying the notes that helps you remember them. Also play the F# so you can here what is sounds like.
Now we are at the 3rd fret of the 6th string. What is the next letter of the Alphabet after F? You got it, G. After saying out loud G. Place your finger on the 6th string at the 3rd fret, and play the G note.
Bonus Tip –
Dot’s on the neck of the Guitar help you know what fret you are on. They are located on frets: 3, 5, 7, 9, and two dots at the 12th fret.
Are you getting it? I hope so. I’m not going to do all the strings. This way you can practice them too. I might as well finish the E string to the 12th fret.
After the G we need to know if the G has a sharp. We are trying to see what note is on the 4th fret of the 6th string. G has a sharp, because we already said that all the notes in the musical alphabet have sharps. Except for B and E. The note on the 4th fret is a G#
The 5th fret is? Think what is the letter after G in the alphabet. The A, the 5th fret 6th string is A. Play the A and listen to how it sounds.
What I would do while your practicing is stop. Go back to the beginning, and see how far you can go. Talk it out along the way.
- Does A have a sharp? yes A has a Sharp A# is the 6th fret of the 6th string.
- What’s the next letter in the alphabet? B, Does B have a Sharp? Nope! B doesn’t have a sharp. The 7th fret of the 6th string is B.
- Since B doesn’t have a sharp we go to the next letter in the Alphabet. Which is C, The C is the note on the 8th fret. Remember pick these notes.9th fret 6th string is C#
- What is after C? The D, does D have a sharp? Yes it does. D#.
- Back to E on the 12th fret.
Tip # 7 Practice One String at a Time
Start with the 6th string and work up the guitar neck. Remembering to say the notes out loud as you go. pick the string at the different frets to hear the notes.
Then go to the next string. Say all the notes on the A string. When your practicing the notes. Take your time you don’t have to do all 6 strings at one sitting. Just practice a little bit each day.
Remember playing the guitar is to be fun. So don’t spend to much time on one aspect of learning. To the point that you get board. Just do a little and then the next time you pick up your guitar do some more. It won’t be long before you know where a lot of the notes are.
Tip #8 Pick the Notes
We went over this earlier, but as your learning the name of the notes. It will help when you pick it, and hear what it sounds like. The more you hear a note, and chords the easier it will be to identify them when your listening to music. this is called playing by ear.
Related Article: What to practice on guitar.
Tip #9 The 12th Fret is the Same as the Open Strings
We have E A D G B e when you play the strings open. Then 12 frets later you have the same notes. They are an octave higher in pitch at the 12th fret. If you continue past the 12th fret the notes are the same as the previous frets.
For example the 13th fret is trhe same as the first fret. When you place your finger on the fret, and pick the string. The 14th fret is the same as the 2nd fret. 15th fret is the same as the 3rd fret, and so on.
You can use the same techniques to find out what the notes are. You would start by placing your finger on the 12th fret. Which on the 6th string is E. There is no Sharp so the 13th fret note when played is F. I hope this is clear for you. Which brings us to the next Tip.
Tip #10 Learn the Notes Backwards
I know you are just now learning them forward. But since you have worked your way to the 12th fret. You should try to go back down the neck.
When you are going up the neck. Which is towards the 12th fret you think of the semitones as sharps. But if you go down the neck. Meaning towards the headstock or first fret. The notes are thought of as flats. The sign for a flat is b.
What I mean by this is if you are playing the G note on the 6th string. You are at the 3rd fret of the 6th string. If you go up half a step or a fret this is a G#, played on the 4th fret.
If you go from the G down half a step or one fret. This note is the G flat, Gb.
When you look at this on the E string it looks like this:
E F F# Gb G G# Ab A A# Bb B C C# Db D D# Eb E
Tip #11 Write it Out on Paper
Take a blank sheet of paper, and start at the first fret. Write down the notes. Go one string at a time. Talk it out. The more ways you think of the notes the faster you can remember them. Here is a Sheet to print out and use for this part of your practice.
What are the Easiest Songs to play on Guitar?
Some of the easiest songs are played with open chords. That’s what makes them easy to play. The second thing is there are not a lot of chords in the song. Click the link for 11 easy songs on guitar.
How do you read Guitar Chords?
There are basic chords that every beginner guitar player should know. These chords are called open chords or first position chords. Once you have learned all the open chords. Then you will be able to play 1ooo of songs. To get a complete list of the chords. With instruction where to place your fingers to play the chords. Click this link for first position chords.