Learn The Guitar Fingerboard Thoroughly in 16 Days

Part I

If I have to name two things that took my guitar playing to the next level I would say music theory and memorizing the fingerboard.

It made me understand the big picture.

Combining music theory (understanding scales, modes, chord structure, improvising over chord progressions, etc, etc.) and knowing all the notes on the fingerboard will open up a whole new world.

Guitar playing becomes more fun when you know what, when en where to play it on the fingerboard.

Part II

When you want to know where to play any type of chord shape instantly it’s pretty helpful if know the notes. For example: An F major Barre chord shape (133211) can be played on any fret. Every time the chord shape goes up a half step (1 fret) the name of the chord changes.

To know the name of the chord you need to know all the notes on the low E-string. For Example: The note on the 7th fret low E-string is a B note, so your chord shape becomes a B major. The only way to see this right away is to memorize the notes.

A Bb major chord shape (x13331) can also be played on any fret. This time you need to know the notes on the A-string to find out what chord you are playing. For example: The note on the 5th fret A-string is a D note, so your chord will be a D major.

To know the name of this Esus2 chord shape: (xx2452) on any fret you need to know the notes on the D-string. Example: The note on the 3rd fret D-string is a F note, so your chord becomes a Fsus2.

The same applies to scale shapes, triads, arpeggios, licks, etc.

Commit yourself to learn the fingerboard in 16 days and you will reap the benefits in many ways!

Here’s how you do it:

First things first: (Basic Music Theory)
In order to learn all the notes on the entire fingerboard you need to understand some music theory.
In music there are 7 natural notes: A B C D E F G.
Within these natural notes there are sharp notes. (# = sharp)
A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G
or flat notes. (b = flat)
A Bb B C Db D Eb E F Gb G

When you raise a natural note, for example: A by a half step (1 fret) it becomes a sharp note: A#

When you lower a natural note, for example B by a half step (1 fret) it becomes a flat note: Bb

This applies to all of the natural notes except for B & C and E & F.
There are no sharps or flats between B & C and E & F.

In other words if you raise a B by a half step it becomes C (and not B#). If you lower a C by a half step it becomes a B (and not Cb). The same applies to E & F.

Example 1: A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G# A

Example 2: A Bb B C Db D Eb E F Gb G Ab A

As you can see A# and Bb are the same notes
as well as:
C# and Db,
D# and Eb,
F# and Gb,
G# and Ab.

So the natural notes follow the alphabet from A to G.
After that it starts all over again: A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C… etc.
Natural, sharp and flat notes: A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B C D D# E F F# G G# A A#… etc.

Now let’s take a look at the notes on the fingerboard:

 
All the notes on the fingerboard
    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10   11   12   13   
e:|-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|-A--|-A#-|-B--|-C--|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|-E--|-F--|
B:|-C--|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|-E--|-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|-A--|-A#-|-B--|-C--|
G:|-G#-|-A--|-A#-|-B--|-C--|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|-E--|-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|
D:|-D#-|-E--|-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|-A--|-A#-|-B--|-C--|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|
A:|-A#-|-B--|-C--|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|-E--|-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|-A--|-A#-|
E:|-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|-A--|-A#-|-B--|-C--|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|-E--|-F--|
 

Note:
Assuming you already know the names of the open strings, you only need to learn frets 1 to 11. From the 12th fret upwards the notes simply repeat. The notes on the 12th fret are the same notes as those of the open strings (except for being an octave higher). Example: The note on the 12th fret low E-string is an E note, the same as the open string note. The note on the 12th fret A-string is an A note, etc.

Frets 13 to 22 are the same notes as those of frets 1 to 10 (except for being an octave higher). Example: Note on the 1st fret low E-string is an F note. Note on the 13th fret low E-string is also an F note. 2nd fret low E-string is F#, 14th fret low E-string is F#, etc.

 
Day 1

Let’s start by memorizing the natural notes on the Low E-string. By focusing on just natural notes it is easier to learn the fingerboard by heart.

    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  
e:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| high E-string
B:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| B-string
G:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| G-string
D:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| D-string
A:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| A-string
E:|-F-|---|-G-|---|-A-|---|-B-|-C-|---|-D-|---| low E-string
 
Day 2

Memorize the natural notes on the A-string. Repeat day 1 by recalling the natural notes on the low E-string.

    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  
e:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| high E-string
B:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| B-string
G:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| G-string
D:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| D-string
A:|---|-B-|-C-|---|-D-|---|-E-|-F-|---|-G-|---| A-string
E:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| low E-string
 
Day 3

Memorize the natural notes on the D-string. Repeat day 1 and 2 by recalling the natural notes on the low E and A-string.

    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  
e:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| high E-string
B:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| B-string
G:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| G-string
D:|---|-E-|-F-|---|-G-|---|-A-|---|-B-|-C-|---| D-string
A:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| A-string
E:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| low E-string
 
Day 4

Memorize the natural notes on the G-string. Repeat the previous days by recalling the natural notes on the low E, A and D-string.

    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  
e:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| high E-string
B:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| B-string
G:|---|-A-|---|-B-|-C-|---|-D-|---|-E-|-F-|---| G-string
D:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| D-string
A:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| A-string
E:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| low E-string
 
Day 5

Memorize the natural notes on the B-string. Repeat the previous days by recalling the natural notes on the low E, A, D and G-string.

    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  
e:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| high E-string
B:|-C-|---|-D-|---|-E-|-F-|---|-G-|---|-A-|---| B-string
G:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| G-string
D:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| D-string
A:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| A-string
E:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| low E-string
 
Day 6

The notes on the high E-string are the same as those on the Low E-string so you don’t need to memorize them, just recall. Repeat the previous days.

    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  
e:|-F-|---|-G-|---|-A-|---|-B-|-C-|---|-D-|---| high E-string
B:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| B-string
G:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| G-string
D:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| D-string
A:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| A-string
E:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| low E-string
 
Day 7

Another great way is to recognize octaves:
– Play a random note on the low E or A-string, then move up 2 half steps (2 frets), move up 2 strings and you’ll find an octave. (See example #1 note “F” blue and note “B” red)

– Play a random note on the D or G-string, then move up 3 half steps (3 frets), move up 2 strings and you’ll find an octave. (See example #1 note “E” black and note “A” green)

– Play a random note on the high E or B-string, then move up 2 half steps (2 frets), move down 3 strings and you’ll find an octave. (See example #2 note “F” brown and note “E” red)

– Play a random note on the G-string, then move up 3 half steps (3 frets), move down 3 strings and you’ll find an octave. (See example #2 note “D” blue)

After practicing and memorizing the octaves also repeat the previous days 1 to 6.

Example #1
    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  
e:|---|---|---|---|-A-|---|---|---|---|---|---| high E-string
B:|---|---|---|---|-E-|---|---|---|---|---|---| B-string
G:|---|-A-|---|-B-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| G-string
D:|---|-E-|-F-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| D-string
A:|---|-B-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| A-string
E:|-F-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| low E-string
 
Example #2
    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  
e:|-F-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|high E-string
B:|---|---|---|---|-E-|---|---|---|---|---|---| B-string
G:|---|---|---|---|---|---|-D-|---|---|---|---| G-string
D:|---|---|-F-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| D-string
A:|---|---|---|---|---|---|-E-|---|---|---|---| A-string
E:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-D-|---| low E-string
 
Day 8

All the notes on the 5th fret are natural notes. Memorize these. Repeat the previous days 1 to 7.

    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  
e:|---|---|---|---|-A-|---|---|---|---|---|---| high E-string
B:|---|---|---|---|-E-|---|---|---|---|---|---| B-string
G:|---|---|---|---|-C-|---|---|---|---|---|---| G-string
D:|---|---|---|---|-G-|---|---|---|---|---|---| D-string
A:|---|---|---|---|-D-|---|---|---|---|---|---| A-string
E:|---|---|---|---|-A-|---|---|---|---|---|---| low E-string
 
Day 9

All the notes on the 10th fret are natural notes. Memorize these. Repeat the previous days 1 to 8.

    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  ;
e:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-D-|---| high E-string
B:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-A-|---| B-string
G:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-F-|---| G-string
D:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-C-|---| D-string
A:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-G-|---| A-string
E:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-D-|---| low E-string
 
Day 10

Memorize all the A notes on the fingerboard. Play the A note on every string (from low E-string to high E-string) and speak the note and fret out loud. For example: A 5, A Open (string), A 7, A 2, A 10, A 5. Repeat the previous days 1 to 9.

    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  
e:|---|---|---|---|-A-|---|---|---|---|---|---| high E-string
B:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-A-|---| B-string
G:|---|-A-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| G-string
D:|---|---|---|---|---|---|-A-|---|---|---|---| D-string
A:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| A-string
E:|---|---|---|---|-A-|---|---|---|---|---|---| low E-string
 
Day 11

Memorize all the B notes on the fingerboard. Play the B note on every string (from low E-string to high E-string) and speak the note and fret out loud. For example: B 7, B 2, B 9, B 4, B Open (string), B 7. Repeat the previous days 1 to 10.

    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  
e:|---|---|---|---|---|---|-B-|---|---|---|---| high E-string
B:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| B-string
G:|---|---|---|-B-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| G-string
D:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-B-|---|---| D-string
A:|---|-B-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| A-string
E:|---|---|---|---|---|---|-B-|---|---|---|---| low E-string
 
Day 12

Memorize all the C notes on the fingerboard. Play the C note on every string (from low E-string to high E-string) and speak the note and fret out loud. For example: C 8, C 3, C 10, C 5, C 1, C 8. Repeat the previous days 1 to 11.

    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  
e:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-C-|---|---|---| high E-string
B:|-C-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| B-string
G:|---|---|---|---|-C-|---|---|---|---|---|---| G-string
D:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-C-|---| D-string
A:|---|---|-C-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| A-string
E:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-C-|---|---|---| low E-string
 
Day 13

Memorize all the D notes on the fingerboard. Play the D note on every string (from low E-string to high E-string) and speak the note and fret out loud. For example: D 10, D 5, D Open (string), D 7, D 3, D 10. Repeat the previous days 1 to 12.

    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  
e:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-D-|---| high E-string
B:|---|---|-D-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| B-string
G:|---|---|---|---|---|---|-D-|---|---|---|---| G-string
D:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| D-string
A:|---|---|---|---|-D-|---|---|---|---|---|---| A-string
E:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-D-|---| low E-string
 
Day 14

Memorize all the E notes on the fingerboard. Play the E note on every string (from low E-string to high E-string) and speak the note and fret out loud. For example: E Open (string), E 7, E 2, E 9, E 5, E Open (string). Repeat the previous days 1 to 13.

    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  
e:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| high E-string
B:|---|---|---|---|-E-|---|---|---|---|---|---| B-string
G:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-E-|---|---| G-string
D:|---|-E-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| D-string
A:|---|---|---|---|---|---|-E-|---|---|---|---| A-string
E:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| low E-string
 
Day 15

Memorize all the F notes on the fingerboard. Play the F note on every string (from low E-string to high E-string) and speak the note and fret out loud. For example: F 1, F 8, F 3, F 10, F 6, F 1. Repeat the previous days 1 to 14.

    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  
e:|-F-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| high E-string
B:|---|---|---|---|---|-F-|---|---|---|---|---| B-string
G:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-F-|---| G-string
D:|---|---|-F-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| D-string
A:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-F-|---|---|---| A-string
E:|-F-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| low E-string
 
Day 16

Memorize all the G notes on the fingerboard. Play the G note on every string (from low E-string to high E-string) and speak the note and fret out loud. For example: G 3, G 10, G 5, G Open (string), G 8, G 3. Repeat the previous days 1 to 15.

    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  
e:|---|---|-G-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| high E-string
B:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-G-|---|---|---| B-string
G:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| G-string
D:|---|---|---|---|-G-|---|---|---|---|---|---| D-string
A:|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-G-|---| A-string
E:|---|---|-G-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| low E-string
 

Tips:
Now you know the notes, apply it to your playing as much as you can to maintain your memory. See and speak out the note names of chords (as I mentioned in the beginning of this post), blues scales, intervals, triads and licks.

Also check out this really cool fretboard cyber trainer to exercise your fingerboard memory skills even more.

Get the most out of this and improve your overall playing!

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Hey Wences,

    I think it’s a great tool for advanced guitar players as well.
    A lot of great guitar players still don’t know the notes but would really benefit if they can find their way around the fingerboard and make use of it.

    Good luck with memorizing and bringing it into practice.

    Klaus

  2. Kaleb says

    For the record, those aren’t called whole and half notes… Whole and half notes are note lengths.

  3. says

    Hi Kaleb,

    You’re right. I was thinking in dutch for a moment. I changed it right away.

    Thanks for the remark. I appreciate it.

    Best regards,
    Klaus Crow

  4. Metalmaniac says

    Great Article I’m doing this as we speak I’m on day one. Excited to memorize fret board.
    Thanks Klaus!

  5. Asbury says

    Awesome thanks for going to the trouble of making this lesson. cant wait till i have mine memorized.. i shouldve started a long time ago!

  6. says

    Hi Asbury,

    Create a chain by marking your calendar each day you finished an assignment. This way you will be motivated to keep going every day without breaking the chain on your calendar.

    It works for me.

    Klaus Crow

  7. Franz says

    This is great man! Way back, when I first played, I played a classical guitar, but I only learned notes to the fifth fret. This is a great method, and I can’t wait to start with the program. Tomorrow’s my day one, then. Rock on, man.

  8. says

    Hi Franz,

    When I first started out I only learned the notes on the low E-string and A string, but I can tell you once I had learned all the notes on the fretboard it definitely opened up my eyes and understanding of how things connected which really helped my playing a lot.

    Good luck!
    Klaus Crow

  9. Martin says

    Breaking it down into smaller chunks is a better approach than most of my tutorial DVD’s on the same subject.

    Thanks Klaus

  10. Joseph says

    I was very excited about finding this site, read and printed the instructions.

    It’s a interesting process — to ID daily steps — but the instructions boil down to “memorize”

    It sure would be helpful if a strategy to accomplish that — “memorize” — were described.

    I’ve been trying, but it’s just not coming.

    Thank you!

  11. Cora says

    I can’t tell you how happy I am about having found this. I just started today but I’m already making so much progress. It’s complementing my Guitar Fretboard Workbook really nicely. I started playing a year and a half ago, and while I know tons of chords and can strum well, it bothered me that I didn’t know what any of it meant (in a formal music way). My goal is to write songs and I think this will help a lot.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to break it down into doable steps- that’s the only way I can learn, otherwise I just get overwhelmed. :)

  12. Jacob says

    Awesome!
    Really helpful!
    Do you have any tips regarding accidentals? (sharps/flats)
    Or should i just go about learning them the same way as in days 1-6 & 10 -16?

    Cheers,
    Jacob

  13. Dean says

    Thank you for this! I will be practicing this as soon as I get home. Very nice article. Let me know if you have any other suggestion such as these.

  14. Susheel says

    Hey klaus..!!
    this is helping me tremendously….
    love it…!!the info in this should be known by each guitarist..
    U rock..\m/

  15. JD says

    Great Article! This is a huge help since I’m teaching myself guitar but never knew the names of notes until i read this. I know a lot of chords and am decent at strumming but I’ve been teaching myself with tabs and thats simply too easy and my goal has always been to learn the theory behind it and this is helping a lot. Thanks a lot!!

  16. GS says

    Hey Klaus!
    Thanks much for the help. I went through the 16 steps and feel much more confident. Much appreciated.
    Cheers.

  17. SKEET says

    BEEN PLAYING FOR MANY YEARS BUT ONLY KNEW THE NOTES ON THE 6TH AND 5TH, AND 4TH STRINGS AS I ONLY PLAYED RHYTHM. I STARTED TRYING TO PLAY LEAD AND WAS LOST NOT KNOWING THE OTHER STRINGS . YOUR SYSTEM GOT THEM MEMORIZED IN DAYS AND I AM NOW SOLOING ALL OVER THE NECK … THANKS FOR YOUR HELP….

  18. Gerald says

    Hi klaus!really appreciate the time you have put to simplify everything…i never realised that we had only natural notes on 5th and 10th frets.its helping me a lot!well done!i like your site!yes!

  19. shanthmark says

    Hi
    Simply superb.
    I love this technique and even advice my friends to this site.
    I have a doubt please clarify.
    Let me take A major chord. In how many ways this chord can be played in fretboard
    Thanks
    God bless u. Cos very few do teach like this

  20. shanthmark says

    Hi
    Simply superb.
    I love this technique and even advice my friends to this site.
    I have a doubt please clarify.
    Let me take A major chord. In how many ways this chord can be played in fretboard
    Thanks
    God bless u. Cos very few do teach like this

  21. Joshua B. says

    Hey man, I really do appreciate this. Ive started to learn music theory and this
    helps me out TONS more. I’ve always been meaning to remember the fretboard notes,
    it’s just that in life you try to learn soooo much, but then you forget to learn
    the important things that actually means everything. But thank you so much man,
    this lesson will always be helpful for those who all play guitar.
    Thanks man :D

  22. Travis says

    Man, this is exactly what I need. I have fumbling around trying to learn guitar at 39 and this will open up a whole new world for me. Klaus, you are awesome!

  23. Dave says

    I was on here the other day and saw an article on step ups and step downs on parts of a scale, I think it was the E Scale, but now I can’t find the article! Can anyone help? The lesson was designed to play a part of the scale then go down a couple notes then continue with the scale then go back down and this is supposed to sound cool while solo-ing.

  24. siwic says

    You have saved me hours worth of browsing which I could put into practicing. You sure have given alot of guitarists hope! Thanks heaps Klaus!

  25. Chris V says

    To: Klaus Tol
    Thanks for the terrific fretboard memorization plan. I’ve wanted to learn the fretboard for a long time, but it seemed too daunting so I never did (beyond 5th fret). I just finished day 3, and am very excited that in less than 2 weeks from today I’ll have the whole thing committed to memory. Another nice thing about the method is that I can work on this (at least some of the days) without being tied to a computer or even to a guitar. I commute to work on a bicycle, and I have been going over the notes on the strings in my head while I commute. Then at home I reinforce what I have memorized by playing it on the guitar. All I needed was a plan. Thanks again.

  26. Mike C says

    Klaus,
    This was just the push I needed to take my playing to the next level. I’ve been playing for many years but I’ve never forced myself to learn all the notes on the fretboard. In just a few days, I’ve made tremendous progress and for the first time in my life, it’s all coming together. You’ve got a great site and I hope you keep the posts coming! Thanks

  27. dumindu says

    thank you. I have a guitar. but i do’t know how to play it. now i can try it. it’s very helpful

  28. says

    Thank you so much for this post, i’m always saying that i’ll start memorizing the fretboard by myself (i even carved the notes on the fretboard on my acoustic guitar) but finding this article will make it so muh easier, cant wait to start!

  29. rishi says

    Thanks klaus

    I got the 150 essential chords book in may mailbox, and it has helped me in so many ways.

    Thanks a lot

    Rishi

  30. Dewin says

    I can cover songs but i don’t know how to play or write original stuff. I cant read music. But i use my ear, tabs, and video tutorials. Im self taught. I could never afford lessons. I don’t know what these scales and modes you speak of are. I just learned songs i liked and progressed with that.  I been playing for 2 years so far.

    I started doing this for the past few days,  its pretty boring though.  But at the same time i aspire to be a great musician.   I want to play lightning fast.    How exactly would you use this?

  31. Dewin says

    But i tried out this pentatonic scale stuff. I try to play whatever sounds good on certain places on the neck, but i mess up alot because its at random. Confusing it is

  32. Luke says

    Wow, thanks so much. I’ve always wanted to learn this but i’ve never found a clear article; this was perfectly explained. I can play guitar (fairly well) but I have no idea about what notes im using im just going off of sound, but not anymore…thanks!

  33. Rob says

    I’ve been looking for an explination like this for a while. Thank you and i’ll let you know how I get on.

  34. says

    Thanks so much. This is going to help me i have been playing for about 7 months. I can play certain parts of songs. Im not really good at chords. But i can run up and down the board like i got the speed of a advanced guitarist. Only problem is its just random notes. And no matter how good i try to make all the notes im hitting sound good i cant. Thats why i love this page. Any tips on where the best place to start on scales i would love to know. Thanks again

  35. AlexK says

    Hi Klaus,
    I am coming back to playing guitar after many years of absence. I have just put together my old 70’s Fender Stratocaster with some new parts, and now I am ready to start learning the fretboard again. The old hands are stiff and slow any tips on limbering up the fingers?
    Alex

  36. Chris says

    This is really awesome, I have been learning guitar for a couple of years and been playing chords and knowing the chord name I was playing but this is really helping me break down those chords more into individual notes that make up the chord and I know its going to help me come up with riffs to compliment the chords now and also with different ways to play chords too, thanks buddy

  37. Max says

    I’ve been teaching myself to play guitar for about a year now and I was growing frustrated with just learning songs through tabs – your website is really helping me improve my understanding of the guitar. Thanks so much!

  38. Frank says

    Klaus, thanks for posting this for free.
    You’ve just made the world a better place
    for untold numbers of guitar players.
    I would highly recommend putting
    009 guage electric guitar strings on
    acoustic guitars for the purpose of learning.
    They make it so much easier to play for
    anyone especially beginners.
    Thanks again for helping others.
    Frank

  39. Luke says

    it’s day 1 – i’m getting so excited for day 16 (and 17, 18, etc…) – it’s hard not to skip look further ahead!

  40. Faith says

    Woo Hoo!! Day one for me too!
    Already got the first one memorized!!!
    That was so easy!!!!
    Little bites!!!
    Thank you for explaining it and breaking it down!!
    THIS is exactly what I was looking for!!!
    Going to start a log in my calendar right now!!
    Thank you, thank you!

  41. Kabelo says

    Its my day 1 and i’m so exited because i failed my church auditions only because i know how to play but i don’t know wht to play,thnx a lot

  42. Tom says

    I have started and quit so many times over the past TWO decades. Every time, I hit the place where I was lost understanding the link between notes and theory. This is it! I have NEVER seen anyone lay out the fingerboard so simply. Unbelievable. Thanks for sharing.

  43. Jessica says

    Thank you. I am a singer who fiddles with the guitar and only understood enough to memorize chords. You just changed my life. God bless you. I’m on my way to rock n’ roll!

  44. Yianna says

    Great lesson. But am I the only who doesn’t understand this:”- Play a random note on the low E or A-string, then move up 2 half steps (2 frets), move up 2 strings and you’ll find an octave. (See example #1 note “F” blue and note “B” red)”. How exactly does the description relate to the example.
    Please help on the above. Thanks a lot.

  45. Carmen says

    thankyou so much , this is what i’ve been looking for to get me to the next level!

  46. Blaine Simpson says

    Mistake in your text

    “Natural, sharp and flat notes: A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B C D D# E F F# G G# A A#… etc.”

    Missing second occurrence of C#.

  47. Lohith says

    This is an awesome explaination for beginners like ME.

    Thank you very much!!!! I am Impressed!!!!

  48. Blaine Simpson says

    Before finding this site I learned my notes using a strategy very similar to days 1 to 6 above, but which I think is better because you gain facility at fingering and plucking among multiple strings as early as possible. Instead of learning a single string down pat, you learn all notes in a single fingering position down pat. On day 1 you do the E phrygian scale (which is just the natural notes, same as learned here) using only frets 0 to 4 (which utilizes strings low-E+A+D). Day 2 you learn the E phrygian scale one octave down (which utilizes strings D+G+B+hi-E). Then for day 3 you move your hand up to the next fingering position over frets 5 to 9 and do the same thing.

    If somebody really wants to be “know” the notes, I suggest that you do both. Learn both all-notes-on-a-string and learn all-notes-on-a-fingering-position. The former teaches facility of moving hand from position-to-position; the latter teaches facility of fingering and plucking from string-to-string.

  49. Ken Hernandez says

    I’ve been playing guitar for YEARS! Self-taught and have been stuck from being able to improvise; A musician-killing curse. I will try this out from today onward and I’ll be posting to let you know how this turns out after the sixteen days. Wish me luck!

  50. Marko says

    Great ideas, I’d like to add one other great idea I’d like to see you ad.
    For memorizing all 5th fret ADGCEA. I use a mnemonic something silly to help me remember. Ate Dominos Got Cold Even Andrea. 7th fret notes low to high I use BEAD F# B. I think BEAD F%$*^&$ B. works for me. For fret 10 I use D G C F A D. Dad Got Caught Farting All Day. The crazier the better. Hope it helps.

  51. light says

    hey! Klaus Crow thank a lot,just great article,now i’m able to understand the origin of chords,scales.Man i learned all the notes in 5 days perhaps i’m not perfect but got the knowledge that was needed.

  52. Katla says

    Thank you Claus, for this! I’m excited to get better at playing guitar with your help.
    An easy way to memorize the notes on the fret board is called the “CAGED” system. I recommend you check it out (google it or find it on youtube), it helped me a lot.
    Thanks once again!

  53. says

    I am so excited to start using this and practicing it. I’ve been playing the guitar for 31 years, and I play strictly by ear. I have never had any lessons my guitar talent is a God given talent. I only play in church but want to play the lead so bad.i now no music and now only the basic cords. I did for a part of a year lost the ability to play the guitar due to a massive stroke. I lost the use of my right side and ended up in a nursing home. I was invited to come to the upper dinning room where there was a couple singing some gospel music like I use to play. I am baptist and play southern gospel. I can follow and one or a group playing thanks to The Lord. but as I started to enter to dinning room I didn’t goo all the way in, I stayed by the donor.it depressed me even more cause I was not able to use my right arm for stubbing. the sad part was I had pretty much given up and was basically wanting to die. but something happened that day, I wet back to my room after being in there for only about five or ten minutes. I prayed to The Lord and ask him to give me my arm back so I could play the guitar once again for him. I would only play it in church. I didn’t care if I could not walk alls I wanted was to play. I had my wife bring my guitar up to the nursing home to give me the encouragement I needed to work hard and start to play again. it took a few months but I know am playing once again and I only play in church. I love to play the guitar, & sadly as many I don’t practice like I should. I now this will get me to practicing and hopefully get me started to make my guitar sing with the singers. I will be praying to The Lord for the ability to do this for,him and make my talent grow.as I said I look forward to working on these step you have laid out. my problem is because of the stoke I do have some brain damage and it’s hard for me to understand some of what your saying. it’s not your instructions it’s the memory problems I have. I am in the early stages of althimers at the age of 46 years old :( ya it’s hard for me to swallow when I try to remember we’re something is or what I was gonna do. does not take but 30 seconds for me to forget something, but I know with the lords help everything’s gonna be alright.not sure if your a Christian or not but if you are. or not please also pray for me. if your a church go have your church pray to please. thank you and GOD BLESS you and have a blessed day.

  54. PJ says

    I just found out this site. I’m an absolute beginner and there are many question marks in my head right now. Thanks it is great! Gonna start memorising!

  55. Nick N. says

    I like your suggestion of memorizing notes on one string at a time. I started out with other methods of memorizing groups of two or more notes across all 6 strings at a time, but found out that the single string method works a lot better for me. Other methods just jump around too much. Thanks so much for the tips.

  56. Doug B says

    Very helpful breakdown sir, im enjoying exploring your posts and thanks much for your service to the musician community

  57. samra says

    wow! Klaus,thank you so much. I know that this basic knowledge of how notes are placed along the fretboard will advance my guitar playing a lot!! I m so thankful that you shared this wonderful page on the internet. A big thanks from Toronto, Canada.

    `Samra

  58. Ian Pring says

    Thank You so much this is awesome and everything is falling into place
    happy 2014 and beyond :)

  59. Gabe says

    Man this is what ive been looking for. Ive been playing for 4 years and havent gotten to learning the fretboard thx alot for this help

  60. Glen says

    After many hours of trying to understand the guitar and lots of friends showing me some stuff, mainly how good they are, this has helped the most, I finally have the understanding to move forward and not give up.

    Thank you Klaus. :-)

  61. Salt says

    I’ve been reading various information about guitar string physics, fret boards, etc. Thank you very much for taking the time to share this information. The manner in which you present the material is clear and concise. I will be sharing your post with others. I’m sure they will find it useful as well.

  62. says

    Brilliant Article, i been playing guitar for about 14 years and have really lacked theory, mainly beacuse i found previous information unclear. This i think is a great help, especially noticing the patterns in finding octives.

  63. Dainel says

    I have a severe learning disability, I’ve had to use tabs, so I hope this lesson will help me somehow…I want to play better, go above my current ability…thanks for the help

  64. jojo says

    you’re amazing.. so grateful for this. thank you for putting passion and effort to share to the world.
    blessings brotha

  65. Neo Marial says

    Hello everyone!! I start visiting this site until now!! Did I ve missed more!? These lessons are very very pretty interesting!!so what would I do? so I wanna receive more lessons in e.mail!!hope you answer me soon!!! have nice day all!!

  66. Emmanuel Joseph says

    I play bass and it’s amazing mr. Crow what you did !! I’m on my first day and can really see the improvement !!!!

    Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge with us

  67. says

    Hey great site. I really needed this. But once I’m done with memorizing the natural notes how do i memorize the sharps and the flats..? Same technique..?

  68. Aniruddha Bidwas says

    Wow!!! Klaus now I can move throughout the whole fretboard following “keys”, not “shapes”. Guys follow this method. Its the most detailed method available. But you need more than 16 days if you really wanna master the fretboard. Spend more than a day (3days if you may) on some exercises to get the most benefit. Its the most sure-shot & full-proof technique. Thank you Klaus for making us memorise the fretboard like the back of our hands.

  69. Aniruddha Bidwas says

    Hey Ali, you don’t need to memorise the sharps & flats. Once you let the natural notes ingrained in your memory, the sharps & flats will also be automatically be memorised. Don’t worry bro, just practice, that’ll be enough, & thank Klaus for teaching us this great technique. Happy playing!!!

  70. John says

    Great article! I think this approach is the most logical I have seen so far. Thank you.

  71. says

    This in awesome. I know my guitar neck but sort of like speaking a broken language. This is going to fill all the gaps for me.

  72. WillyD says

    Klaus, you are a good man for posting this of other people. I was a player for nearly 30 years when a motorcycle accident left me unable to play for the past 5 years. Now I am starting all over from scratch teaching my hands how to finger chord shapes, the whole thing has to be relearned. In the past I never took my playing serious. I only knew a hand full of chords and that was it. Now I am changing all that. Using this GREAT exercise and others I am learning my instrument well as it should be.

    I just bought a new Stratocaster and I am blessed with having lots of time to practice ( 4 – 6 hours a day ). And I am soaking this stuff up like a sponge. I want to play lead in a blues band. And with help from good people like you, I’m going to make that happen in 3 years, that is my goal!

    WillyD

  73. says

    Hi Willy,

    That’s an impressive story. I hope you’re doing okay now.

    I’m confident that you will reach your goal.
    You know exactly what you want so that’s the first important step in reaching your goal.
    Now make a plan, take the necessary steps that will lead you to your goal, evaluate from time to time how you’re doing and keep learning.
    Make sure you keep the fun alive at all times!

    Best regards,
    Klaus Crow

    I wish you all the best!

    Best regards,
    Klaus Crow

  74. Piyush says

    Hi! Klaus, thanks for this easy way of memorising the fretboard. Now that i have memorised the fret board, could you suggest me what should be my next step.

  75. says

    Hi there! This article could not be written much better!
    Reading through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He constantly kept preaching about this. I’ll forward
    this post to him. Fairly certain he’s going to have
    a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  76. theworst says

    Hey Klaus,

    I’ve been reading some of your articles and I have to say they are extremely well explained and helpful and I’ve taken a lot away from them. Really appreciate your resources!

  77. says

    Excellent lesson, thank you for sharing! Learning the fretboard is a critical component in becoming a competent musician/guitarist. I have all of my students master it in their first month of lessons to get it out of the way early. I’ve also found many students find it especially helpful to break the neck into sections and create easy patterns for them to memorize, similar to scale diagrams.

    Again, great lesson. Keep up the good work!

    – Dev

  78. celes says

    Estaba buscando una tecnica teorica que me explicara con claridad sobre las notas en el teclado y pienso que lo encontre me ha sido de gran ayuda .Gracias

  79. Wes says

    Klaus,

    I had stumbled on your site by accident from Google. I have been frustrated by my guitar playing for the last 4 years. I have learnt nothing. I’m a self taught player (playing since 06) and music theory intimidated me, similar to a kid scared of learning algebra. I had been visiting your site and learning the 7 modes and I’ll put this lesson into practice as well.I hope I could somehow help contribute guitar related to your site.

    THANK YOU!

  80. Betsy says

    Hi Bobby…thanks for the heads-up on the guitar note memorization game. I really think it will help me a lot.

  81. Peter says

    Hi Claus,

    Wonderful!!! This is just what I was looking for. Clean, simple and to the point. Thank you!

  82. Ruben says

    Hi:
    Great article!
    Aren’t you missing a note here?
    Natural, sharp and flat notes: A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B C D D# E F F# G G# A A#… etc.
    ⬆️Between C and D (C#)?

  83. Daniel B. Alcutt says

    Thank you. After trying to do this willie nillie, I can see that your approach to learning the fretboard is awesome and easy to follow. I will dedicate the next 16 days to placing this info in my memory bank. And, I will use this every day following those initial days to enjoy myself and be able to relax a bit due to the increased info and technique learned here. Thanks, again. I look forward to a wider knowledge and ability. Oh, and I couldn’t beat the price.

    Excited,

    Daniel B.Alcutt

  84. DAVID says

    Assuming I manage at 65 to remember each note position. That allows me to play barre chords up and down the neck without thinking because I should know the chord shape and where the root note is within the shape? It also allows me to know where to play a scale box eg a minor scale is easier to visualise because it utilises a barre across the 6 strings (I appreciate the barre wouldn’t actually be formed to play the scale), as just like in a chord shape, I should know where the root note is in the scale box. The problem I have is visualising the other scale boxes that go to make up the scale across the whole fretboard. It is compounded by the fact that the sequence of boxes moves up or down the fretboard depending on the Key. If I don’t know the notes of the Key, then I shouldn’t be trying to play, but having said that I haven’t enough time to think when playing and it causes a pause. The dots on the neck locate the 6/1 string notes too. So to avoid a failed time-consuming learning period (indefinite), how do guitarists like you play solos (or melodies) of a set of songs in different Keys? What have you been through to get to this stage where you don’t pause?

  85. Michael says

    You’ve gone to a lot of trouble here, Klaus, to create a clear, logical approach to learning the fingerboard. Your method works wonders. Thank you!

  86. Jon says

    Hey, great tutorial. Just one thing: Of course the notes B#, Fb, E# and Cb do exist, and they do get notated sometimes, so it’s necessary to be able to read them. These notes sound identical to the natural notes C, E, F and B, but sometimes it’s still required (and even helpful) to name them B# etc. and to write them down as such.

    This is to make sure that scales and chords follow the same logic in every key. The C# major scale, for example, follows the same logic as the C major scale. Where the C major scale reads C, D, E, F, G, A, B, the C# major scale reads C#, D#, E#, F#, G#, A#, B#. If you alter the root note of a scale upwards, without changing the letter, you have to do the same thing to all other notes as well. It gets even worse: double sharps and flats exist as well, for the same reason. F##, for example, which sounds like G, appears in a G# major scale.

  87. john a says

    Im a very newbie but really wanna learn so i can play for my wife on our wed. Need all the help i can get. Thanks would really appreciate.

    -JOHN-

  88. Tobias says

    Aloha Klaus,
    i’ve been playing guitar for several years now, so i’m on this slippery slope of knowing the notes half-heartedly, beeing able to deduce where the same note is on a different string and therefore beeing much too slow in finding the respective note.

    I’m pretty shure that this approach, going on for years and beeing used on 4 (soon to be 5 ;) differently tuned guitars, was quite harmful for my ability to learn the notes by heart. But nothing witch can’t be corrected with enough effort, right?^^

    This beeing said, i’m on day one and my first question is, how fast should one be able to find a note on a string at the end of a lesson (the randomly finding part).
    As an example, i want to find the “D”-note on the “E” string and sometimes it takes me up to two seconds to find/play it.

    And the second question is, what would be a recommended aproach for different tunings; this question is more concerning the later part of applying the eventually learned fret-knowledge in everyday guitar playing. The main problem is that i have to play on different tunings for different jam sessions and songs.
    I guess applying it all at once would scramble the knowledge once again.

    Greetz,
    Tobey

  89. maxz ghouri says

    it as outstanding information from you i like it so much God blesss you so so much…………….boss its supperrrrrreb i love you so much

  90. Phuong Tran says

    wow, excellent information and very clear, very helpful, easy to understand love it. .Thank you

  91. Linus says

    cool info man, I’m surely starting today. As i plan to be a bass player i just wanted more tips and ways of learning bass guitar as well

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