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> Learning The Notes On The Neck Pt. 1, Explanation and practice tips for learning the notes in C on the neck
The Professor
post Jan 24 2013, 11:52 AM
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When learning how to play guitar, one of the biggest obstacles many beginners face is learning all of the notes on the fretboard.

Learning chords, scales and even licks seems fairly easy to many of us compared to knowing what notes are on the 8th, 10th and 11th fret of the 3rd string.

While learning all of the notes on the guitar can seem like a tall order, by breaking these notes up into two sections, notes without accidentals (sharps and flats) and those with accidentals, you can break up the learning process into more digestible chunks as you learn these notes on the fretboard.

As well, by looking at exercises that present and break up the notes on the neck into individual strings, you will be dividing these notes into sections rather than tackling the whole fretboard at once, making it easier to see and memorize the notes on the neck at the same time.

In this lesson we’ll be focusing on notes with no sharps or flats, where they lie on each string, and check out both technical and improvisational exercises that you can work on in order to bring a sense of fun and excitement when learning the notes on the neck in your practice routine.


Open-String Notes


To begin, let’s take a look at the notes on the open-strings of the guitar. This might be new for some of you, and review for others, but having a strong understanding of the open-string notes will make learning the notes on the rest of the neck much easier when you are ready to move in that direction.

If you are new to the notes of the open strings, make sure to memorize them before moving on to the next sections of this lesson, as it will make moving forward much easier than if you are still working on learning these notes.

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Notice that none of the notes have #’s or b’s on the open strings.

These notes, the “white notes on the piano,” are from the key of C major, which we will look at next in our exploration of notes across the neck.

White Notes on the Piano (C Major Scale)


To begin learning the notes on the fretboard, one of the best places to start is the C Major Scale, which is built of all the “white notes” on the piano, with no sharps or flats.

Before we take these notes across the fretboard, here are the notes in the C major scale, C D E F G A B C, presented in a one-octave scale fingering in open position.

If you have worked on scales before, this will be a bit of a review.

But, for those of you that are new to notes on the neck, or scales, this will be a good introduction to seeing scale fingerings and scale notes in one position from lowest string to highest.

Attached File  C_Major_Scale_Notes.mp3 ( 248.9K ) Number of downloads: 907



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After playing through this fingering to get the shape of the scale under your fingers, and the sound of the scale in your ears, try playing the scale and saying each note out loud as you do.

This will begin to create a connection between the sounds you are hearing from the guitar, the notes you are seeing on the fretboard, and the names of the notes themselves.

In fact, saying the names of each note out loud as you play it is a great way to internalize and memorize the notes on the neck for any exercise/example in this lesson.

So feel free to say the notes when working on any exercise in your practice routine.


Low E-String Notes


Now that we’ve reviewed the open-string notes in the key of C major, as well as looked at the C major scale in the open position, we can now begin to learn the “white notes of the piano” across the entire fretboard.

While this might sound like a tall order, especially if this is the first time you’ve begun working on learning the names of the notes on the neck, we will be breaking up the guitar into individual strings in order to make each exercise easier and more productive.

We will begin by playing and learning the notes of C major on the low 6-string.

Here, you are starting on the note E, the open string, and playing all the notes from C major, E F G A B C D E, on that one string.

Here is how these notes look in tab and notation to act as a guide when you work through this exercise.

Attached File  Notes_on_Low_E_String.mp3 ( 248.9K ) Number of downloads: 443


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Again, saying the notes out loud is a great way to memorize these notes on the 6th string, and get the notes of the C major scale internalized at the same time.

When you have these notes memorized and can play them while saying each note without making any mistakes, then it’s time to move on to the A string and repeat the same exercise.


A-String Notes


You can now repeat the same process, playing the notes of C major scale and saying them out loud, on the 5th-string of the guitar.

Here is how those notes look in both tab and notation.

Attached File  Notes_on_A_String.mp3 ( 248.9K ) Number of downloads: 305


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When you’ve got these notes memorized, you’re ready to move onto the 4th string notes.


D-String Notes


Here are the notes on the 4th string, starting on D and working up to the D on the 12th-fret, for you to play and say out loud in order to memorize their positions on the fretboard.

Attached File  Notes_on_D_String.mp3 ( 248.9K ) Number of downloads: 258


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G-String Notes


And here are the notes on the G-string to practice after you have internalized the lower 3 strings.

It is at this point that most guitarists struggle with visualizing the notes.

If you have learned barre chords you are used to seeing notes on the lower 2-3 strings as roots for the chords you are playing at the time, but may be less familiar with the notes on the 3rd string and higher.

So, take your time with this string and really get these notes down, testing yourself to make sure you know them, before moving on to the top two-strings of the guitar.

Attached File  Notes_on_G_String.mp3 ( 259.92K ) Number of downloads: 260


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B-String Notes


The second to last string is the B string, the 2nd-string of the guitar.

Again, this string is usually less familiar to most guitarists than the lower two or three strings, so take your time and make sure you have these notes down before moving to the last string in this exercise.

Attached File  Notes_on_B_String.mp3 ( 248.9K ) Number of downloads: 247


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High E-String Notes


The last string is usually an easier string to learn the notes on, since it has all the same notes in the same order and position as the low-E string which you’re already learned.

Here are the notes of the C major scale, no sharps or flats, on the high-E string for you to practice playing and saying out loud.

Attached File  Notes_on_High_E_String.mp3 ( 254.41K ) Number of downloads: 264


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Now that you have memorized all of the notes on each string, here are some technical and soloing exercises that you can practice in order to get these notes further solidified into your playing and applied to practical, musical situations.


Technical Exercises to Learn Notes


1. Play the notes on each string from the lowest notes to the highest notes on each string, saying the names of each note as you play them.

2. Play the notes on each string from the highest notes to the lowest notes, saying the names of each note as you play them.

3. Play up the 6th-string notes, then down the 5th-string notes, saying the notes as you play them. Continue this exercise up and down every second string, so up 6-down 5, up 4-down 3, up 2-down 1.

4. Repeat this last exercise but reverse the order, so play down 6-up 5 etc.

5. Test yourself by picking a random note from the C major scale, such as F, and then playing it on each string in a row, so 1st fret 6th string, 8th fret 5th string, 3rd fret 4th string and so on.


Improvisational Exercises to Learn Notes


1. Put on a C chord backing track, or a backing track in the key of C major such as C-F-G, or Am-G-F, and solo using only the notes on the E string.

Practice backing track : Attached File  C_Major_Scale_backing_track.mp3 ( 8.56MB ) Number of downloads: 1526

2. Repeat this exercise using only the notes on the 5th string, then only on the 4th string and so on until you cover all six strings.

3. Using the same or similar backing track, solo using a random pair of strings, such as only using the notes of C major on the 4th and 2nd strings to create your solo.

4. Repeat this last exercise with as many different string combinations as you can think of for two strings on the guitar.

5. Solo on any/all strings using only the notes of the C major scale, saying the notes and/or singing the notes as you play.

Related GMC lessons :

* Beginners Corner 13: C Major Scale
* Acoustic Solo C Major
* C Major Fingerstyle Solo
* C Major Rock Solo (Satchy)

Learning the notes on the neck is an important skill for any guitarist to have, but it often seems like a daunting and boring task.

By working on 1 string at a time, and incorporating the technical and improvisational exercises listed above into your practice routine, you’ll be able to learn all the “normal” notes on the neck, (no sharps or flats), without becoming bored or frustrated in the practice room.

Lesson part 2 : Learning The Notes On The Neck Pt. 2

What do you think of these exercises?
Have any questions on how to learn these notes on the neck?
Share your thoughts and/or questions below.


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snackajacks
post Jan 24 2013, 12:46 PM
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Thanks biggrin.gif !


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The Professor
post Jan 24 2013, 12:50 PM
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QUOTE (snackajacks @ Jan 24 2013, 11:46 AM) *
Thanks biggrin.gif !



No problem, hope it is helpful!


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Jan 24 2013, 02:24 PM
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Excellent stuff!


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The Professor
post Jan 24 2013, 02:57 PM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Jan 24 2013, 01:24 PM) *
Excellent stuff!



Thanks, sometimes it's the fundamentals that seem simple but are the most important to review and/or get under our fingers!


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Dieterle
post Jan 24 2013, 09:47 PM
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Thank you very much !
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The Professor
post Jan 24 2013, 09:48 PM
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QUOTE (Dieterle @ Jan 24 2013, 08:47 PM) *
Thank you very much !



NP, got a new lesson coming up shortly on how to learn the "black key' notes on the guitar


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vonhotch
post Jan 25 2013, 12:25 AM
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When I was you learning guitar it never dawned on me that notes went in order A,B,C,D,E,F,G. It wasn't till I started playing again years later that I realized something so simple. And I used this kind of approach to learn notes. I figured if I learned C major all over then everything in between was a # or b. Great stuff!


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The Professor
post Jan 25 2013, 06:52 AM
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Cool, glad you figured that out, great lesson to learn smile.gif


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Sensible Jones
post Jan 25 2013, 02:23 PM
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Great explanation Matt!
biggrin.gif


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The Professor
post Jan 25 2013, 09:06 PM
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QUOTE (Sensible Jones @ Jan 25 2013, 01:23 PM) *
Great explanation Matt!
biggrin.gif



Thanks!


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Headbanger
post Jan 26 2013, 11:22 PM
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Some good ideas...if it makes learning the fretboard fun..it must be good..thanks!


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The Professor
post Jan 27 2013, 12:24 AM
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NP thanks for checking it out. Hope the exercises are fun!


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Dieterle
post Jan 27 2013, 08:47 PM
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This exercises are real Fun !

I like it and it is a bit strange to think backward right now for me :-) but everyday sometime for This rolleyes.gif
i am sure it will DO !

Thank you again , Dieter !
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The Professor
post Jan 27 2013, 08:52 PM
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Cool. yeah I figure if the exercises are fun, then we will want to practice them more. So enjoy!


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Bas Cuthach
post Jan 29 2013, 08:46 PM
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