Guitar Alternative methods for "Unlocking the Fretboard"

Rexxavier Mcgee

Free Bird Player
Nov 11, 2019
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Ive seen a few posts here and there that have asked questions like " How do i unlock the fretboard?" or "How do I memorize every note on the Fretboard?"

Ive been playing guitar for almost 15 years, and its never been my goal to memorize every note on the fretboard, but I do have a couple easy tricks to be able to figure out where you are on the fretboard at anytime without memorizing the fretboard.

Trick One: A BC D EF G. Whole steps and half steps

Each fret is a half step away from each other. With the exception of BC and EF, each whole note is a full step (2 frets) away from one another. B and C are half steps (one fret) away as well as E and F.

Okay... So now look at your guitar. Assuming you know how its tuned, in this example I will use E standard, I can now explain how to figure out where you are.

Lets take the Low E string first. Open note is E, and from open to 1st fret is a half step. So fret 1 is F. Now, simply calculate the rest.

Open(E), 1(F), 3(G), 5(A), 7(B), 8(C), 10(D), 12(Octave point, E)

The notes above are whole notes, meaning they contain no sharps or flats. If you want to fill the sharps and flats in, depending on if your ascending from open(sharp), or descending from 12(flat), you would plug in a sharp after every whole note between 1 and 3, 5 and 7, 8 and 10, and 10 and 12.

This is the confusing part with the half steps.

Bsharp is also C. Esharp is also F. Vice versa for flats. C flat is B, and F flat is E.

Think of this not as a key, but as a roadmap. If youre ever wondering where you are on the fretboard, remember the formula, and do some quick arithmetic to answer your question.

Over time, in doing so, the process will become easier and easier each time you do it.


The next steps to unlocking the fretboard would be training your ears to spot intervals and learning some basic scales.
 

Lindsey

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  • Nov 16, 2019
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    It also helps to learn the octaves by starting with the lower two strings.

    There's an easy trick for it. Pick any note on the lowest string, go two strings higher and two frets to the side. There you find the same note an octave higher.
    This also works on the A string. (2nd thickest string)
    E-octave.jpg


    The D string to B string is different, there you need to move two strings up, but 3 frets to the right.

    Bb6VD.png


    You don't need to do this on the G string because the high E strings notes are the same as the low E.


    I personally memorised it when I learned the Caged shapes over the neck. Through the rootnotes of the chords but you can practice it with power chords as well.
     

    Riff36

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    Ive seen a few posts here and there that have asked questions like " How do i unlock the fretboard?" or "How do I memorize every note on the Fretboard?"

    Ive been playing guitar for almost 15 years, and its never been my goal to memorize every note on the fretboard, but I do have a couple easy tricks to be able to figure out where you are on the fretboard at anytime without memorizing the fretboard.

    Trick One: A BC D EF G. Whole steps and half steps

    Each fret is a half step away from each other. With the exception of BC and EF, each whole note is a full step (2 frets) away from one another. B and C are half steps (one fret) away as well as E and F.

    Okay... So now look at your guitar. Assuming you know how its tuned, in this example I will use E standard, I can now explain how to figure out where you are.

    Lets take the Low E string first. Open note is E, and from open to 1st fret is a half step. So fret 1 is F. Now, simply calculate the rest.

    Open(E), 1(F), 3(G), 5(A), 7(B), 8(C), 10(D), 12(Octave point, E)

    The notes above are whole notes, meaning they contain no sharps or flats. If you want to fill the sharps and flats in, depending on if your ascending from open(sharp), or descending from 12(flat), you would plug in a sharp after every whole note between 1 and 3, 5 and 7, 8 and 10, and 10 and 12.

    This is the confusing part with the half steps.

    Bsharp is also C. Esharp is also F. Vice versa for flats. C flat is B, and F flat is E.

    Think of this not as a key, but as a roadmap. If youre ever wondering where you are on the fretboard, remember the formula, and do some quick arithmetic to answer your question.

    Over time, in doing so, the process will become easier and easier each time you do it.


    The next steps to unlocking the fretboard would be training your ears to spot intervals and learning some basic scales.

    Loved the explanation brotha. For myself to explain i would be using C as an example as C have no # or flat. ☺️ and C to C is already 1 Octave or Unison. ☺️✊🤘🐰🐇🐇🐇🐰✊🤘

    Regarding unlocking the entire fretboard from fret 1 till 12.., as for myself I will try not to make things difficult or hard rather be smart and learn fret 1 to 5 3 string per day or just 2 string per day and slowly but surely u WILL unlock the fretboard for sure brotha. ☺️
     
    Last edited:

    Rexxavier Mcgee

    Free Bird Player
    Nov 11, 2019
    20
    66
    Loved the explanation brotha. For myself to explain i would be using C as an example as C have no # or flat. ☺️ and C to C is already 1 Octave or Unison. ☺️✊🤘🐰🐇🐇🐇🐰✊🤘

    Regarding unlocking the entire fretboard from fret 1 till 12.., as for myself I will try not to make things difficult or hard rather be smart and learn fret 1 to 5 3 string per day or just 2 string per day and slowly but surely u WILL unlock the fretboard for sure brotha. ☺️
    Hey man thanks for the feedback! As i said in the post, I usually dont concern myself with "Memorizing the fretboard" haha. instead, i like approaching guitar like a blank canvas, unless im practicing something specific haha. I let my ear do alot of the work actually. I do want a solid understanding of chord theory so i can communicate my ideas in a common language among musicians!

    I like your approach though, breaking it down with digestible chunks like thats sounds much easier to manage.
     
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