Fretboard Geek

Learning The Guitar Fretboard: Three Tips To Get You Started

The guitar is a beautiful and fantastic musical instrument. There are few things that compare to the ambiance and aesthetic of an acoustic guitar filling the room with warmth and light, or the epic tones of an electric guitar charging a room with energy. While beginners might find the guitar fretboard confusing and difficult to understand, all it takes is a bit of effort and practice, with a payoff well worth the time spent in the end. Learning the guitar fretboard is a slow process and one that shouldn’t be rushed. 

However, there are a variety of tips and tricks beginners can use in order to help them understand the fretboard of a guitar so that they can more quickly and easily learn how to play the guitar with skill and mastery. The fretboard of the guitar, which refers to the neck of the instrument that the strings run along, is responsible for changing the note of each string on the guitar. Placing a finger on a specific position along the fretboard alters the length and tension of one of the strings, changing how it sounds when it’s played. For beginners to guitar, here are three tips to help you along your journey learning the guitar fretboard.

Use The Chromatic Scale

Any student who’s studied music for a length of time is familiar with the chromatic scale. A staple of music theory, the chromatic scale consists of all available notes in an octave starting at C. There are twelve notes in the chromatic scale in total, accounting for all the possible sharps and flats between notes in an octave. 

Each note in the chromatic scale is one fret apart. Therefore, understanding the chromatic scale can help a new guitar student remember which note each fret on the fretboard corresponds to. For example, consider the note G on the guitar. If the sixth fret of the fretboard is pressed down upon, a student can interpret that impression as occurring three notes above G, which is the note of that string when it is open. Three notes above G on the chromatic scale is A#/Bb, so the sixth fret of the fretboard is A#/Bb. By understanding the chromatic scale, students can more easily interpret the fretboard on the guitar.

Learn How To Find An Octave

In music theory, an octave corresponds to a set of eight notes between two notes of the same letter but different pitch. Every eight ascending letter notes on a scale, you arrive at the same note but at a higher pitch. On a fretboard, the twelfth fret of each string corresponds to an octave of the note of that string, since the fretboard contains all sharps/flats in between letter notes, corresponding to the twelve notes of the chromatic scale. With this information, you can identify where notes of a different octave are located on the fretboard by identifying the pattern between two of the same letter notes in an octave.

Take It One Step At A Time

Finally, the most important part of learning the guitar fretboard is taking it one step at a time. Attempting to memorize or learn too much at once can be discouraging and overwhelming. Instead, work your way up from a foundational level. Try starting with the two lowest strings on the guitar and continue from there. A large number of chords of the guitar have their root note on these two strings, so you’ll be able to make the most of your practice that way. As always, as long as you keep practicing, you’ll get better slowly but surely until you’re able to play the guitar like a whiz!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *