Picking up where we left off in the last post, let’s resume our crash course in fretboard mapping and note memorization by taking a look at the 2nd (B) through 6th (low E) strings, from the open string on up to the 12th fret. We’ll look first at all the natural notes on each string, and then include all the accidentals (sharps/flats) for the complete chromatic octave along each string.
Reminders from the previous post will be included as we go along.
Here’s the B string:
Remember that each accidental has two (enharmonic) names, so C# is also Db, Eb is also D#, and so on. The name used will generally depend on the key signature. The particular names used in these diagrams are more commonly used than their enharmonic counterparts.
Moving on to the 3rd (G) string:
Remember that all of these patterns replicate 12 frets up the neck; for example, the B note at the 4th fret in the above diagram shows up an octave higher at the 16th fret.
Let’s check out the 4th (D) string:
You don’t have to worry about it too much while you work on each string one at a time, but as you put all the strings together, it’s critical that you then work on the notes that are multiply located.
Let’s take the D note at the 12th fret on the 4th string as an example. Keep in mind how standard (EADGBE) tuning creates multiple locations for notes. What other locations can this exact note, not an octave above or below, be played? For most of the strings, the same note can be found 5 frets up on the next lower-pitched string (going from D string to A string, for example), or 5 frets down on the next higher-pitched string (going from D string to G string). The exception to this is going between the G and B strings, which will be four frets in the respective direction, rather than five.
Take a look at the entire 24-fret map and see if you can spot the other locations for that note. (Answer at the end of this post.)
Here’s the 5th (A) string:
Remember to learn the natural notes first, by the time you have those down, you’re more than halfway there!
Finally, let’s take a look at the low E string, which as you’ll recall is exactly the same as the high E string, just two octaves lower:
Again, don’t try to learn and memorize every diagram and pattern all at once. Five minutes at the beginning or end of each practice session, focusing on just one string each time, should get you going within a week or so (provided you practice 3-5 times a week).
After a couple of weeks cycling through the single-string patterns, start mapping adjacent string pairs, working on all the various elements covered so far. For now, just do 1-2 (E-B), 3-4 (G-D), and 5-6 (A-E) string pairs. Work these patterns above the 12th fret as well, knowing that the notes are the same, just 12 frets (and an octave) higher.
More techniques and exercises to help you master the art of fretboard navigation will be covered in the upcoming PTG Kindle book, Maximum Fretboard Control, coming soon. We’ll give you a heads-up as to the launch date, as well as free download dates to get yours when it drops. Play hard and have fun!
[Answer to question about the other locations for the D note found on the 4th string, 12th fret: 3rd string, 7th fret; 2nd string, 3rd fret; 5th string, 17th fret; 6th string, 22nd fret. Needless to say, play all of them.]