Understanding Sharps and Flats on the Guitar Part 1

Now it’s time to look at the notes on the neck of the guitar.  This is important guitar theory that every beginning guitarist should know.  When you understand the basic layout of the guitar fretboard, it will allow you to learn and apply guitar theory faster.  After all, guitar theory won’t do you any good if you can’t see how it can be applied to the guitar.

First, let’s start by looking at all of the natural notes (no sharps or flats) on each string up to the 12th fret.

Natural Notes on the Guitar Neck

Here is something very important to keep in mind…

Memory Tip

Most people have a hard time learning and memorizing new things.  This is normal.  It’s not that we have a poor memory system, it’s just that most of us don’t know the best ways to encode things in our brain for easy recall.

Researchers have interviewed people that can perform incredible memory feats.  Quite surprisingly, these mega-memory Olympians claim that their memory is actually quite average!

Their Secret?

Their secret is that they do very specific things to encode what they want to learn.  In other words, the don’t try to just passively learn something.  They have very specific things they do to encode things so they can recall them whenever they want.

Now take a look at the neck diagram above once more. Did you notice any patterns or relationships?  The brain loves things that are organized into patterns instead of random things.  When you organize what you want to learn in a brain-friendly way, you will learn much faster.

So what did you notice in the above fretboard diagram?

Well, the notes E and F are always found on adjacent frets (one semitone apart).

Also, the notes B and C are found on consecutive frets.  All of the rest of the notes are two frets apart (one whole tone).

Keeping in mind that E and F, and B and C are each located a fret apart, means that you could work out the location of all of the natural notes on the fretboard as long as you know one of the notes on the string.  This also means you will be able to determine the notes on a guitar when it is in an alternate tuning.

Natural Notes on Guitar

So let’s work out the notes…

Understanding Sharps and Flats on the Guitar Part 2