LGTWYBL – Fretboard Layout

Learning the Fretboard:

So, let's start then with the fretboard. In the following diagrams you will find the first building blocks. No matter if you want to play rhythm or lead, this method of physically memorizing the fretboard will prepare you for amazing progress. Each diagram has four elements.

The first row labeled 'Fret' is the number of the fret that the note is played on. Notice that we start with the open string.

The second row is the string's note name and number. The strings of the guitar are numbered from the bottom to the top or smallest to the largest. When we talk about them in order it is in reverse order, six to one, or largest to smallest. Whenever we make a diagram the strings will be represented in that order because that is how we see them as we play them, looking down at the fretboard of the guitar.

Most players best visualize what is represented in a diagram when represented in that way. I will hold to this convention in ALL my diagrams. A dot represents that note being played at that position, (not the common marker dots placed on many guitar fretboards).

The next row is the note name for the position being played.

The last row is the number of the finger you are to press the string down with. '1' is your index finger or the one you point with. '2' is your middle finger, (the longest one). '3' is your ring finger. '4' is your little baby finger. If you will commit to using these fingers when memorizing the fretboard then you will also be learning use the proper finger to be used later when playing most scales and chords.

I have included 13th through 18th frets mostly to demonstrate that the pattern repeats. You may want to play through the upper frets at some point if you own a guitar that has a cutaway body and allows you access to the upper portion of the neck but it is not required.

Always use the same finger to play the note at the same position in this exercise. That will cause you to physically memorize these positions in the part of your brain where motor control movements are stored and called from. This part of learning is central to the 'intuitive' approach to learning the guitar. It is in this process that we get our instruction visually but we learn the notes of the fretboard by touching and hearing. It is central that this concept be understood and carried into all I present in these pages.


Theory Alert!
In case you are interested at this point, yes I'm going to throw in a nugget of musical theory here, these diagrams demonstrate a fundamental of what is called the "MAJOR SCALE". The Major Scale is an eight note scale arranged according to a specific pattern of half and whole steps. 1 whole step – 2 whole step – 3 half step – 4 whole step – 5 whole step – 6 whole step – 7 half step 8 The numbers are the notes in the scale – also known as the scale degree. OK. Now take this information and apply it to learning the fretboard.