# Master the fretboard using Octaves

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons, Tutorials & Tips' started by amit82cse, Apr 15, 2006.

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1. ### amit82cseSilent observeR

[[If you read the complete post in relaxed mode with Guitar in your hand, I can bet that you will never ever have to read anything which says how to learn the fretboard]]

There are very few of us who can tell while playing which note are they playing in terms of standard musical notes. Skill requires to do so is to learn the complete Guitar FretBoard. Believe me if you think to do this by cramming each and every note and its position on the fretboard then its not going to work.

The easiest way to learn the fretboard is to find a way to co-relate every note with some other known note. How good it will be to relate such notes with there octave counterparts? Below is the octave technique which will enable to you quickly tell the name of the note you are playing by simple and fast calculation.

Those who dont know what is octave here is a simple example:
A B C D E F G A* : Guess what, A* is octave of A, Got it?

There are 6 strings in a guitar, if you dont know there name here are they:
1. e
2. B
3. G
4. D
5. A
6. E

1st is the thinest one and 6th is the thickest one.

We will start with learning notes on strings 6 and 5 and then using simple corelations we will findout notes on strings 4,3 and 2. I am not going to tell you how to learn notes on string 1, guess why? Com'on 1 is the higher octave version of 6 so notes will going to remain the same

So lets start learning notes on upper string E:
What you have to learn first is to memorize that how two consecutive notes (A B, D E, C D etc) are organized on a fret. Answer is that any two consecutive notes are separated by a gap of one fret except pairs B C and E F.

Here is how they will look on frets:
A_BC_D_EF_G_A_BC_D_EF_G <- you can see all notes are separated by a gap (= one fret) except BC and EF. This is true for any intrument, whether its a guitar or a piano. (Have you notices two consecutive white note on a piano without a black one in between them? They are because of the above reason)

So now we know how notes are layed out with respect to themselves, time to look at the notes of string E (6th string, upper one, thickest one)

---1---2---3---4---5---6---7---8---9---a---b---12--d---e-- <- frets number
e|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-e-|---|---|
B|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-B-|---|---|
G|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-G-|---|---|
D|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-D-|---|---|
A|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-A-|---|---|
E|-F-|---|-G-|---|-A-|---|-B-|-C-|---|-D-|---|-E-|-F-|---|

Any confusion on why I have denoted the notes on E string as shown? What I have done is that since open note is E so next fret should represent F (remember E & F without any gap) then next note which is G will be one fret apart and so on.

Note that 12th fret is the higher octave of 0 fret (open strings) and hence notes will repeat in the same order after this point, got it? If yes then move on else repeat.

So question you will ask me that how will I remember these positions and there notes? I dont want to start from first note and calculate again and again. My answer is that if you are totally new then you dont have any other option except to practice and learn these positions and notes but if you know playing bar chords then I can make your life much easier. Here is the tip:

Play a bar-chord X, the note pressed by your index finger on string 6th is the note X. How simple it was? I am not elaborating it, try by yourself. Believe me if you do this once you will crack the notes very fast.

Since by this time you must have learned the notes on string 6th, I am going to tell you the secret of how to you this info and find out notes on strings D and then B. Fun part with this secret is that more you tell about it more you keep it close to your heart. So here is the secret:

Remembered, I talked about something called octave notes? You got me right, now is the time to explore its power. What I am going to tell you is that for a given note X on string 6th, where is its octave on string D.

Look at the picture:

---1---2---3---4---5---6---7---8---9---a---b---12--d---e-- <- frets number
e|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
B|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
G|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
D|---|---|---|---|---|-X-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
A|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
E|---|---|---|-X-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

I have omitted all the redundant information from above picture. Lets concentrate only on two X I have written there. X on the string 6th is the note that you already know (have you not learned that from above post?) and X on the string D (4th string) is its higher octave.

How simple it was, right? Two frets right and two strings down, thats it. You have not realized so far but you have learned all the notes on the string D which is string 4.

Now close your eyes and repeat the secret in your mind and heart three times. Oh..I am watching you have not done that so far. Please do that and come back to read on...

Sohoping that you have done things right enough to allow me to take you to the next secret. But before that lets revise what we have learned so far with a picture:

---1---2---3---4---5---6---7---8---9---a---b---12--d---e-- <- frets number
e|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
B|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
G|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
D|---|---|---|---|-G-|---|---|-A#|---|---|-Db|---|---|---|
A|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
E|---|---|-G-|---|---|-A#|---|---|-Db|---|---|---|---|---|

I can see questions in your mind. You will be asking me that I have not told you any thing about A# and Db, what are they, how will I learn them, how will I find them.

Oh...my bad!!! But thats very simple. Remembred we learned that most of the consecutive notes are separated by a single fret? If no then go at the top and repeat. '#' and 'b' are the simbol we use to denote these notes. Just think, if we dont have these notations then how will you represent a note between G and A? Well not to strain your brain too much, we have a simple way to do this using '#' and 'b'. '#' is called 'sharp' meaning sharping a note by one fret on which it appears and 'b' meand 'flat' meaning flatting a note by one fret on which it appears. And hence a note between G and A can be represent as sharp of G OR flat of A, meaning as G# or Ab. Got it? If yes then secret told before applies to these # and b notes as well.

Oh..I can see you are learning too fast. Given a note on 6th string you can find note on 4th string, given a note on 4th string you can find a note on 6th string. Keep it up guys and lets move on...

So if I safely assume that you all know notes on string 4 then I can tell you the next secret which is about finding notes on 2nd string. Thats right 2nd string is B string and we know notes on 4th string which is D string. You must be wondering why I am keep saying NUMBER strings and NAME strings? Reason is because I want all of you to act like professionals and talk in terms of strings name in lieu of mere numbers

So back to our little secrets. Here is the illustration of corelation between notes on string D and string B: (Yes from this point I will not address strings with there number)

---1---2---3---4---5---6---7---8---9---a---b---12--d---e-- <- frets number
e|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
B|---|---|---|---|---|-X-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
G|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
D|---|---|-X-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
A|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
E|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

Again, I have omitted all the redundant information from above picture. Lets concentrate only on two X I have written there. X on the string D is the note that you already know (have you know learned that from above post?) and X on the string B is its higher octave.

How simple it was, right? Three frets right and two strings down, thats it. Now this time I am sure that you all must have realised that you know all the notes on string B. Glad to see that!

Ah...so far so good. Thanks for reading till this point. But we still have a long way to go so please be with me...

Because of the length limitation, remaining part will come in second post.

2. ### d_ist_urb_edGenuflect b*tches!

^A good amount of information written up well, i perused through it but didnt read it thoroughly. I'm sure this will help me, i use the inlays to remember the notes, but hey that's just me...good work.

4. ### amit82cseSilent observeR

Part - II

Now you have learned notes on strings E, D, B and e. Right? If not or if you have some confusion, go at the top and repeat.

Time to learn notes on string A (okay, its 5th string). So I believe you already know how we have found out the notes on string E (6th string). Apply the same knowledge about one fret separation and zero fret separation. B & C and E & F no separation and everything else one fret separation.

Here is the illustration:

---1---2---3---4---5---6---7---8---9---a---b---12--d---e-- <- frets number
e|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-e-|---|---|
B|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-B-|---|---|
G|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-G-|---|---|
D|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-D-|---|---|
A|---|-B-|-C-|---|-D-|---|-E-|-F-|---|-G-|---|-A-|---|-B-|
E|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-E-|---|---|

Any problem in getting what I have shown in above picture? I believe not, you are all smart guys! Tip that I usually use to remember these notes on 5th string is again the bar-chords.

Try playing C [x35553] again index finger on string 5 pressed the note C. So simple for me, hope the same for you.

Moving on..here is the secret of knowing the notes on string G (3rd string):

---1---2---3---4---5---6---7---8---9---a---b---12--d---e-- <- frets number
e|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
B|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
G|---|---|---|---|---|---|-X-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
D|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
A|---|---|---|---|-X-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
E|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

You will be surprised but its true. It also have the same formula. An octave of a note on string A can be found on two string down and two frets right.

WOW!!! You have learned so much important thing in such a very small time in a manner that will allow you not to forget it again.

Thanks a lot for joining me here!!!

5. ### mubbashirNew Member

nice and very helpful post,i was searching for this type of material for a long time.thanx

6. ### amit82cseSilent observeR

Thanks and Keep rocking @mubbashir

7. ### koolstrumThe Chosen One

at the end of it all i could imagine myself shouting the note on which my finger rested on playground called fretboard, vaise yeh octave vaali technique mereko aati hai i use it to play "dhin taak dhindhin taak" kinda thing on the base guitar.itz like dhin is the lower octave note and the taak is the higher octave note.i use it in songs like mae ri
. by the way nice info to newbies

You can noodle your way using octaves through natural harmonics aswell

9. ### rahulp**Fallen Angel**

Excellent job amit82cse... reps!!! keep up the good work.

really nice thread amit:nw::nw:...helped me a lot....mastering the fretboard seemed to be a mind boggling task, but this post has made it real easy:beer:.....cramming never works.....
rock on!:rock:

11. ### Rey1970New Member

I have also used this process,about 17 yrs ago! today i still use it , its a very, very good lesson, it helps you identify scales,chords, etc in a sec. I use to see guys listen to a song and just run their fingers up or dwn. the fretbrd. and came out with scale chords . its a good ear training, and 1 of the easiest way to learn the fretbd. I also had to use scales to help me through learning the fretbd. i 've learned the formulas to scales, i got it written kept in my wallet!! if i forget. sometimes i pull it out and imagine and seeing what I'm playing ...again its a very good lesson.

12. ### amit82cseSilent observeR

Good to know that it helped someone...

Stay tunn..ned!

13. ### IntrinsicNew Member

This is an excellent lesson. Thanks.

14. ### amit82cseSilent observeR

Thanks Intrinsic...

15. ### vikramroiNew Member

nice tut
thankx for contibution :beer:

16. ### amit82cseSilent observeR

good to know that it helped you!!!

keep rocking.!!!

17. ### skawsnooze

write up a fretboard with everything on it.
then these people can print it and put it in their guitar case and next time they play something they can see for themselves what are they playing. i do that. thats how i create riffs.

good stuff. a conclusion usually helps (which would've been a summative picture of the fretboard).

18. ### jaimekixNew Member

Thanx Amit for the free lesson. What I would like to know is how does learning of scales help in playing chords or rhythm guitar? how to go about learning scales? Pls help me out.

19. ### sheeghraNew Member

Super notes

Hey Amit,
Lots of passion went into this session of yours. These are neat tricks, and I guess every beginner should learn from these notes.

Bravo...mucho gracia...hasta la vista...:nw:

20. ### mumbai_da_kingNew Member

awesome post thanks man!