Lots of beginning and intermediate guitar players are scared that they have to learn the names of the notes on their guitar fretboard. So let me reassure you immediately: thre is nothing to be scared it’s much easier than it seems. In fact, learning them is a game (more on this below) - and you probably have learned harder things than this already!
Before we see HOW to learn the notes on your guitar, though, it’s more useful to see WHY you should learn them. Here are a few compelling reasons:
While most of the basic guitar techniques do not require a complete, extensive knowledge of all the notes on the fretboard, many intermediate techniques do. So it is worth to start early in learning the notes even if you don’t see an immediate need.
It will make you more confident when you play the instrument as the fretboard will not just be a “blank slate” that you play “by numbers”: rather it will be a familiar place and you will know your way around it.
You will be able to communicate with other musicians (like pianists/keyboardists, vocalists, etc). Other than guitar players, very few musicians will understand when you say “I am playing the G string at the 7th fret” in answer to “what note are you playing?”
You will be able in future to really understand how music theory works. You may have noticed that many guitarists are confused by music theory - that’s because many guitarists do not know the notes on their fretboard, so they can’t apply they theory they learn. But once you know your notes, everything becomes clearer, or at least possible.
Now that we know why, let’s see the how: what is the best way to learn the notes on the guitar fretboard? Ideally we would like a method that is simple, effective, and possibly fun. Yes, there are many methods around, some do actually work and but most do not. Here is a video on a method that works 100% of the times provided that you practice it as explained.
I suggest that you watch this video and you incorporate it in your daily practice. And as usual, check with your trusted guitar teacher on how to integrate this exercise with your regular practice.
As you can see, this is more of a game than an “actual” exercise: so have fun learning all the notes on your guitar fretboard!
About The Author:
A professional prog rock musician, Tommaso Zillio is a regular writer of columns about Music Theory for Guitar.
3 Very Good Reasons Why You Need To Learn The Notes On Your Guitar, And How To Do It
by Tommaso Zillio