Guitar Theory and Mental Mapping : Post 11

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Learn the notes on the fretboard – some examples

Note: Name 1: Name 2: Name 3:
1 A
2 A# Bb
3 B Cb
4 C B#
5 C# Db
6 D
7 D# Eb
8 E Fb
9 F E#
10 F# Gb
11 G
12 G# Ab

As we saw previously in the above table, many notes have more than one name – let’s first look at some name 1 examples, then at some name 2 examples.

In the next post we’ll think about the third name and when to correctly use the various names.

Some Name 1 Examples

Below is a diagram of the first 6 frets of a standard tuned guitar fretboard with the notes using the name 1 name

E (1)
F F# G G# A A#
B (2)
C C# D D# E F
G (3)
G# A A# B C C#
D (4)
D# E F F# G G#
A (5)
A# B C C# D D#
E (6)
F F# G G# A A#
Open String
Fret 1 Fret 2 Fret 3 Fret 4 Fret 5 Fret 6

Here’s some examples of how you’d work out some notes:

Example 1:

  • Q: What’s the note of the 2nd fret on the B string?
  • A: Start at the open B and go up 2 frets. Remembering that there’s no sharp between B and C, you know that the note is a C#

Example 2:

  • Q: What’s the note of the 5th fret on the bottom E string?
  • A: Start at the open E and go up 5 frets. Remembering that there’s no sharp between E and F, you know that the note is an A

Example 3:

  • Q: Thinking outside the diagram, what’s the note on the 10th fret on the G string?
  • A: Since you know there are 12 notes and therefore the note names repeat from the 12th fret on the guitar fretboard, in this case, it’s going to be quicker to start at the 12th fret and work backwards rather than start at the open string and count up
    This yields the answer of F.

Some Name 2 Examples

Just for completeness, here’s a piano keyboard with the notes of 3 octaves labelled as their flat names.

Here’s the first 6 frets of the guitar fretboard with notes labelled by their flat name

E (1)
F Gb G Ab A Bb
B (2)
C Db D Eb E F
G (3)
Ab A Bb B C Db
D (4)
Eb E F Gb G Ab
A (5)
Bb B C Db D Eb
E (6)
F Gb G Ab A Bb
Open String
Fret 1 Fret 2 Fret 3 Fret 4 Fret 5 Fret 6

Example 1:

  • Q: What’s the note of the 2nd fret on the B string?
  • A: Start at the open B and go up 2 frets. Remembering that there’s no sharp between B and C, you know that the note is a Db

Example 2:

  • Q: What’s the note of the 4th fret on the bottom E string?
  • A: Start at the open E and go up 4 frets. Remembering that there’s no sharp between E and F, you know that the note is an Ab

Example 3:

  • Q: Thinking outside the diagram, what’s the note of the 11th fret on the G string?
  • A: It’s going to be quicker to start at the 12th fret and work backwards rather than start at the open string and count up. This yields the answer of Gb.

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