Getting to know the names of the notes on the neck of the guitar is essential for many reasons. Both for lead and rhythm guitar. In this video guitar lesson you will learn how to easily get a handle on what the names of the notes are on the neck.
(Video Guitar Lesson)
The Open Guitar Strings
Step one of getting to know the names of the notes on the neck of the guitar is to learn the open strings.
E A D G B E – Note Names
6 5 4 3 2 1 – Strings
If you find it easier to memorize the names of the open strings using a mnemonic, here is a common one.
Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie
I will be honest, I find it harder to use sayings to memorize things like this. But I know a lot of people will find it easier with a phrase.
Notes on the 6th & 5th Strings of the Guitar
After learning the open strings the next step is to learn the names of the notes on the 6th and 5th strings of the guitar. The most basic barre chords and power chords have their roots on either the 6th or 5th strings. And the most basics scales you might learn at first will have the root on the 6th string.
In music we use the first 7 letters of the English alphabet for different notes. A B C D E F & G are known as the Natural Notes. A Whole Step is a term used for the distance of 2 frets on the guitar. And a Half Step is 1 fret.
As long as you know this important music theory basic you can find any natural note on the neck of the guitar.
Learning the Notes on the 6th String
So now let’s apply that idea of whole and half steps to the 6th string. The open 6th string is an E. The F would be up a half step at the 1st fret. G, A and B would all be a whole step apart. Then between B and C is a half step. Then between C, D and E are all whole steps.
When your reach the 12th fret the note names start over. E on the 12th fret of the 6th string is an “octave” higher than the open. You could continue on up the neck, but for our purposes right now we will stick to the first 12 frets.
Practice playing and naming the notes up and then back down the neck. I also give you an additional exercise in the video guitar lesson to help you master the names of the notes.
Learning the Notes on the 5th String
Now try the same thing on the 5th string from the open to the 12th and back down.
Sharps & Flats
A sharp raises a natural note by a half step (1 fret). I will be using the number sign to indicate sharps in my text. (#)
A flat lowers the natural note by a half step. I will be using a lower case “b” in my text to indicate flats. (b)
So between each set of notes ( except between E-F and B-C ) there will be a sharp/flat note.
The note between F and G is F# or Gb, they are the exact same note just with a different names. Notes that sound the same but have a different name are called enharmonic.
Note Charts for the Names of the Notes on Guitar
Below are some charts with the names of the notes on the neck of the guitar.
Natural Notes on the Neck of the Guitar
Natural Notes & Sharps on the Neck of the Guitar
Natural Notes & Flats on the Neck of the Guitar