"Learn How To Quote Your Notes"

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Jordan Warford here, Editorial Manager for Guitar Tips.

Thanks for taking the time to check us out. We have yet another jammed packed article to share with you this week that's sure to challenge you once again.

In this edition:

Join us as we take a journey to learn all of the notes on our fretboard... No, this isn't some sick joke, we're really going to teach you the most simplistic way to learn your notes. See, hear and watch the most innovative ways to understanding how your fretboard really works. We guarantee success!

Take a look at our new site review as we take a look at our Guitar Songs site. Hear what all of the fuss is about and why it might be the answer you've been looking for. We'll also tell you all about the great value and bonuses that come with it!

I'm pleased to say that our Feedback Booth is back and in action. Not only is it back, but it's better than before! We took a few weeks off from this section to get things in order and offer you some new insight into the operations of our Guitar Tips sites. Take a look at what your fellow subscribers have to say and get the latest update on our Guitar Forum.

Get the chance to download a new messenger tone as well as play a song that's been unleashed from our new site. In addition to all of that excitement, we have a brand new commercial set for release! Be the first to hear it before anyone else around the world!

With that said, let's get to it!

It's only 126 notes. How bad can it be?

Why it's important to know where your notes are.

I remember how daunting the task of learning all of the notes on my fretboard seemed when I first picked up the guitar. I was already well versed in music theory and knew how to read music from playing sax for nearly three years. Nonetheless, it still seemed like an overwhelming challenge that would take a lifetime for me to complete.

I actually remember saying to myself, "If I think this is hard, what about the poor dude who doesn't know how to read music?" As a result of this negative thinking, I put off learning my notes and traded it in for tab.

Unfortunately, it was something that soon came back to haunt me and I realized the importance of learning my fretboard. This story doesn't have to be you! Take your previous notion of the difficulty level and throw it out the door.

Let's look at this issue purely from a musical standpoint for those of you who are still skeptical. First, how on earth could learning more about music and your guitar hurt you? It will only increase your musical awareness and make you a better player. For example, look at your everyday band setting. You deal with many different chords and scales no matter what style or setting you're in. Knowing your notes allows you to know the root note of any chord or scale, opening up an unlimited arsenal of tools at your fingertips.

Not being able to read music or know your notes is like painting a picture without any brushes. You may have the idea in your head but you can't express it in a way that everyone around you can understand. In the professional world of music, if you can't read it or write it... you can't play it. That falls back on knowing where those notes are. Reading music also becomes a snap to learn because you have half of the work already done!

On the note (no pun intended) of professionalism, if you think that you might like to teach music, join a band professionally, go into the recording industry, composing, producing, arranging, or anything of the like, knowing the notes on your neck is the equivalency of knowing how to write words on paper.

Hopefully I don't look like the bad guy here. I'm not saying that you can't be successful at music without knowing your notes on the neck. It's obvious that many great musicians who didn't know their notes still triumphed in the guitar world but think at how much better they could have been had they known them.

How you can achieve success (the background).

Now that we've covered the reasons why learning your fretboard would be a good idea, you're probably sitting there thinking, "Where's this amazing method that you said you had." The amazing method isn't great because of a secret trick that no one knows about, rather, because it actually uses common sense... something that you hopefully won't forget to use!

Think back to the days of elementary school when you were learning the basic concepts of math. One of the first things you would look for when learning how to multiply would be a pattern. That way, if you knew how to multiply one set of numbers, the next would come to you easier. Learning your fretboard takes this concept to a new level.

However, before we dive into these easy as pie concepts, we need to take a quick look at some basic theory. Relax, it's basically your alphabet and it will help you understand why the notes on your fretboard are placed where they are.

In music, there are only eight notes: A, B, C, D, E ,F , & G. The cycle then continues back to A after you hit that G. Every cycle you complete is called an octave. There are many different locations on the fretboard where these octaves can be achieved (more in a minute.)

Most of these notes have sharps and flats which raise or lower the pitch, adding different sounds onto those natural notes. Here is the line up of notes with both sharps and flats:

Ab, A, A#, Bb, B, C, C#, Db, D, D#, Eb, E, F, F#, Gb, G, & G#

Now before you freak out, most of the above does the memorizing for you. Take a look at the notes below:

Ab, A, A#, Bb, B, C, C#, Db, D, D#, Eb, E, F, F#, Gb, G, G# bbbbbbb^bbbbbbbbb^bbbbbbb^bbbbbbbbb^bbbbbbbb^

...That arrow pointing between certain notes is signifying which ones sound the same. On your fretboard, these notes will both appear on one fret! For example, on the fourth fret of your low E string, you could be playing a G#, or an Ab... Depending on what the music (i.e. key signature) called for. They both sound the same, just under two names. Look at them as identical twins. These notes aren't some kind of weird phenomenon either, rather, they are known as "Enharmonics."

Circled below in bubbles are all the enharmonics on your fretboard:

...Imagine how long your fretboard would have to be if all of those notes sounded different! Music works in a very tight package, not unlike a puzzle.

So let's take a moment to recap. We have our seven notes ranging from A to G. An octave is when we cycle through those seven notes and land back on our A (which gives us eight notes total.) Our fretboard has numerous places where two different notes will appear on one fret which produces the same sound for both notes. These are called enharmonics.

Going back to octaves for a minute, here is a quick chart illustrating the locations of the octaves that can be found on your low E string in conjunction with your D string.

Note: They are color coated, the same color represents that they are an octave.

...You can take octaves up in pitch, or down in pitch... whichever you prefer. You will be playing the exact same riff but it will either sound higher or lower. Remember that for every note on your fretboard there is an octave to match it, although some can be hard to reach with your hands.

Now that we have the essentials in the back of our heads, it's time to get down to business and show you the quickest and most effective way to learn every note on your guitar's neck.


Remember that brief mention of math? Here's where it comes in. Whether we choose to accept it or not, music is practically math with the exception of the pleasing sounds. The notes are arranged on your fingerboard in such a way that numerous patterns can be found.

However, there's one quick catch. The only place on your fretboard where you must memorize the notes is on your low E string. The good news is that if you memorize your low E string, you have just memorized your high E string as well... Good for you! You're already a step ahead of the game.

If you get lost, have no fear. Remember that your first note is your open E. When you press the first fret of your low E string, an F will be sounded. The next fret up will be F#/Gb, an enharmonic. Then it moves to A and you just keep on counting. Here is an illustration:

The 12th fret is your open tuning of E, A, D, G, B, E all over again and the pattern repeats, the only difference being that it's one octave higher.

With your low E string taken care of, it's time to look for some patterns. Take a look at your previous octave chart. Notice how easy that many of them are to place two fingers on?

Here's some fingerings that show us a new pattern to discover all of the notes on our D string by using our low E string:

...Use your first finger on the low E string and your third on your D string. What do you hear when you play the above?

The same note! Whoohoo, we just solved yet another piece of the puzzle. Using our low E string and making an octave using the D string, we find the same notes as on the D string. When we're playing an F on the first fret of our E string, it turns out to be on the third fret of our D string!

Using this new shape, we can apply the knowledge that we already know to the D string and learn all of the notes on that string.

Now that we know our low and High E string along with our D string, we can use that knowledge to find out the notes on the rest of our strings. Here is a brand new shape to help us achieve that:

Use your index finger and your pinkie to achieve this shape. It may take a little getting used to but the purpose isn't for sound, it's so you can see the different notes. The reason why we had to start from our low E string to find the notes for that G string is because we don't know where everything is on our A string yet. That's why we needed to take a new approach.

Now that we can locate all of the notes on our G string from our high E string, we can use the G string to find out the notes on our A string using the first shape that we talked about. Here's what it looks like:

Notice how our G string allows us to see all of the notes for the A string? Now we know how to get the note locations for all of our strings with the exception of B. Here's how you can find B using your D string:

The fingering requires your index and pinkie finger. Now we know the shapes that we can use to find every note on our fretboard!

The next step is to take ten or fifteen minutes out of your day for around two weeks and run through all of the notes, saying them out loud. Sounds kind of funny but it works. A famous saying in the music world is, "Practice doesn't make perfect, it makes permanent." The same applies to this lesson. Get the basics down while you can because more great things are coming down the line for Guitar Tips and we want you to be ready!

Putting It All Together

I put together a little video for you to use as a starting point. I'll explain how I usually do things and it gives you a new visual representation from a different perspective. Hope this helps you out.

Site Review

Guitar Songs

Guitar Songs Unleashed

After you pick up your guitar and become proficient at the basics, you want to begin learning your favorite songs as soon as possible. That's why we believe that Guitar Songs is a great resource for everyone from the young to the old. Within the walls of the members only area, you can find a vast array of different songs. We worked hard on breaking down the boundaries of genre to offer you the best assortment of songs possible.

Ever hear that little riff on the radio that you just wish you knew how to play? How about that number one hit song that you can't get out of your head? You can find all of those favorite songs and maybe even some that you never thought of at Guitar Songs. If you can't find the song you want to learn, we have a special feedback form so you can tell us! You never know, your suggestion might be the next song to get published.

I was very impressed with this site as a whole when I saw the final product. It's well organized, easy to use and includes video for you to play along with. Picture yourself playing tunes by Carlos Santa, Eric Clapton, the Ventures and more! Learn the songs step by step and see the final result of your hard work.

Not only is it great practice for guitarists getting off of their feet but it also serves as a fabulous reference guide for intermediate to professional level players. Have you tried looking up the tabs to your favorite songs lately? You probably found them pretty fast but noticed that many are inaccurate and complicated to dissect, let alone learn. Guitar Songs eliminates the need to go through countless tabs to get what you want.

For the price of a high quality music book at your local music store, you can immediately get access to 44 songs, plus bonus gifts that are at no extra cost to you. The value was yet another thing that impressed me tremendously about this site. The customer service is there for you to answer any questions should you need assistance. This in conjunction with the video and audio may be your ticket to success.

As always when writing reviews on our own products, I want to reiterate that I would not give a positive review if I didn't think highly of a product. We pride ourselves on offering services that we could also enjoy and benefit greatly from if we were in your shoes.

Click here to check it out. Hope you enjoy!

Special Feature

What's a guitar newsletter without any riffs to practice? We thought it would be a great idea to give you a taste of Dire Straits. This song is called "Brothers In Arms" and was a hit song on MTV and many other music venues. Interestingly enough, it was the title of one of their best selling albums of the 1980s, which could also be accredited to the fact that it was one of the first albums in CD format that was ever mass produced.

Here's the song, have fun!

Final Product:

This video was taken from our newly launched Guitar Leads site, go there to find out more!

Credit & Copyright Info:
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Used By Permission

Feedback Booth

It's great to have the Feedback Booth back in action once again. Hearing the comments that come in from many of you continually blows my mind. You guys have awesome imaginations and ask very inquisitive and thoughtful questions that help everyone who read them learn something new.

Today we're going to cycle through some questions and opinions that have come in via mail or our online forum in addition to sharing something quite unique with you.

In our last segment I told you that I would be randomly pulling posts from the Guitar Forum and posting them for everyone to see and that's exactly what I did. It was great to see people getting involved in this budding online community.

One of the many threads I've been following has been, "Who are your influences?" I recently noticed a new post from a girl by the username of Victoria. Here's what she had to say:

"As far as my earliest influence, I guess it would be Michelle Branch. I was only 11 then, but essentially she inspired me to learn guitar. Since then, my musical taste and style has shifted significantly...I must admit that before I was pretty mainstream and all. It was 2 years ago that I really began my own journey in discovering artists who truly reached out to me. Music is so amazing, it's just overwhelming at times."

I love that last thought. You're absolutely right... Music can be so beautifully complicated that it just boggles your mind.

eque24 posted a comment and a question all rapped up into one package:

"Hello all, First and foremost I'd like to thank everyone who replied to my last thread it was very informative, gave me a few new ideas to my approach to soloing. But I've always considered myself a rhythm guy so I just wanted to represent for us rhythm moguls. There are some really colorful lead parts that you can do with chords, (very big in Jazz and Funk) ie. Nile Rogers, John Mclaughlin, Frankie Beverly,and Paco de Lucia to name a few of the guys I like.

But I can't just post to say what's up, I want to learn everything I can about my Axe so here's a question that I hope one of you guru's can help me out with. I think I understand the concept of Harmony being the 3rd,or the 5th ect... of the root, but when your dealing with chords how do you determine the harmony of that chord. for example if I was playing an Em7 what would be the harmony. More importantly what is the theory involved. Thanks, Eque"

I thought this was a very interesting question to which not many replied. Unfortunately we have a great forum established but our member base is very small at the moment, limiting the number of advanced players who would otherwise frequent the forum to answer questions like these.

I thought that it was such a great question that I might just do an article on it sometime in the future. It's one of those questions that many wonder yet few know the answer to. I'll be posting some resources on this topic in his thread within a few days. Thanks for your involvement Eque!

Willem sent along these kind words via email:

"Hello Jordan, Thanks for the newsletters you provide, keep up the good work you are doing."

All of the staff here at Guitar Tips truly appreciate the many emails of thanks and encouragement that we receive from our subscribers. We send a big "Thank you" right back your way!

Now we would like to share something with you that we're quite excited about. Recently James from our Guitar Forum did up a professional commercial for the Forum that we're hoping to get played on radio stations around the world! I think it's one of the coolest commercials for a website that I have ever heard.

It gives all the details of the site and will hopefully increase our membership. There's power with numbers and the bigger this forum gets, the more knowledge we'll have.

Here it is in its entirety! Let us know what you think by going to our Guitar Forum, or by hitting the Feedback tab at the top of this page.

If you're sick of the message notification music that's currently playing on your Guitar Tips Messenger software, we have a new download for you to enjoy. Just follow these easy steps to download and install:

Step 1 Unzip the gtmail.zip

Step 2 Right click on your messenger icon in the system tray select " Change Notification Settings"

Step 3 Then select play a Custom Sound and point the directory to where you unziped gtmail.wav

Step 4 Click preview to make sure its working then click SAVE and you should be good to go!

Just click here to download.


Learning all of the notes on your fretboard can be an extremely intimidating experience but we hope that this newsletter took the edge off that fear. Over the coming months you can look forward to tackling new problems that many guitarists deem as "Extremely hard." The truth of the matter is that it's all in your perception of the problem.

When you break things down into steps, your problem suddenly becomes much more manageable. In our next newsletter you can look forward to the beginning of an extensive series dealing with various genres such as rock, country, alternative and much more!

We're always looking for ways to motivate our current subscribers to sign up as a members to our new Guitar Forum. This week I have a brand new challenge for all of you. Over the next week, I will be taking the person who has the most number of posts in the forum by November 18th and do a special interview on them and their band if they have one.

What you need to do is as follows:

  1. Become a member. It's free and extremely simple to do, just click here.
  2. Get involved with the Forum by posting in various threads and sections. Share your thoughts, ask questions, give advice, or start discussions.
  3. Come back regularly.

If you have a band in desperate need of some media attention, or you're trying to get yourself into the music scene, this is one quick way to gain credibility. I will contact the winner of the contest on November the 19th. You'll be surprised to see how quickly your posts add up!

I am also looking for new Guitar Tips Feature Bands. If you're interested, send me an email with the following information:

  • Who you are, where you are from and your age.
  • The band's name.
  • A picture of the band.
  • Recent gigs and where you are headed.
  • If you have a CD out or a demo.

If I feel you're onto something, I will ask you for more information. If not, I'll file your package and contact you when I think the time is right. Remember, only one band per month can be shown.

Until next time, keep on picking!


If you've always wanted to learn to play the guitar but never had the chance, give me 17 minutes a day for 90 days and I'll show you how to play virtually any song you want! Visit http://www.guitartips.com.au