Finding notes on the guitar's fretboard

Mastering the Guitar Fretboard: Finding the Notes.

To make the most of this blog, you’ll need this worksheet.

Notes on the fretboard.

Finding the notes on the guitar isn’t as tricky as you might think.

We can learn the notes on the fretboard by learning to play scales C Major and A minor across the fretboard.

Mastering 70% of the fretboard will involve remembering patterns and starting positions whilst saying each note name in order as you play each fret.

C Major: C D E F G A B C

A MInor: A B C D E F G A

What is a semitone?

A semitone on the fretboard of a guitar is when we move from fret to fret or from any open string to it’s first fret.

In the form a scale such a C Major or A minor, the semi-tones are B & C, E & F.

What’s a tone?

A tone on the fretboard of a guitar is when we miss out a fret or from an open string to fret 2.

The C Major Scale

The notes of a C Major scale are; C D E F G.A B C

Here is a video of a fretboard chart which shows where you can play the C major scale. You can follow the same pattern to work out the A minor scale but starting from the note A

The A Minor Scale

The notes of the A Minor scale are; A B C D E F G A

Once you know how to play the C major scale, you can follow the same pattern starting from note A to play the A minor scale.

Same scale different positions

Each scale on the guitar can be performed over one, two or three and a half octaves – depending on where you start from.

On the guitar, you can play the same scale from different starting positions whilst keep the order of notes the same.

Ascending & descending scales

Scales can be played ascending or descending on one string, Useful for connecting the scale’s starting points across the guitar’s fretboard. .

Scales on the guitar can also be played ascending or descending by transitioning up or down each string every 3 or 2 notes.

Connecting the scales

As previously mentioned we can ascend or descend through a scale along one string or move down or to the next string.

We can move along to the next octave by connecting the different starting positions of the scale.

Normally, we’d move down to the next string after 2 or 3 notes. We can play the same notes from the next string from the same string allowing us to connect the octaves together..