Guitar Theory and Mental Mapping : Post 8

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Learn the notes on the fretboard

The first major learning step you’re going to need to undertake is to learn the names of all the notes on the guitar fretboard.

Here’s a few reasons why you actually need to do this:

  • To communicate effectively with other musicians – especially non-guitarists who may not know what note the 7th fret on the G string is
  • To build chords anywhere on the fretboard – as you go through this blog, you’re gonna learn the notes that make up a chord. In order to construct that chord on the fretboard, you’re gonna need to be able to find the notes that make up the chord
  • To expand your knowledge – if for no other reason, learn the notes because it’s new knowledge and you’ll feel good when you’re learnt them; you never know when something you spent the time learning will become useful in life

This isn’t to say you can’t progress to learn other things without first knowing the note names, it just means that you need to start learning now so that you can get to the stage where you can answer the questions:

  • What’s the note on the 9th fret on the B string?” (Ans: “G#”)
  • What’s another name for that note?” (Ans: “Ab”)

Learning the notes on the fretboard is the basis for the first of my mobile apps.

It is a quiz based app which will speed you through the learning process. It will also get you thinking about and visualising the guitar fretboard when you’re away from your guitar – a great step forward in mental mapping.

Find out more about the app here.

If you don’t have an Android smart phone or tablet to run this app, then the next best way to do this would be to quiz yourself by running through questions in your head both when you’re at the guitar and when you’re away from your instrument.

Note, that when you’re away from your instrument, you may find visualisation difficult at first, but stick with it and you will reap the rewards.

Let’s move onto the next post which explains how to start going about learning the notes on the fretboard.

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