Musical notes on the guitar neck
Now that you have decided to take the guitar seriously you must learn to play all the notes along the arm or neck. For this, the neck is divided by zones and levels according to the difficulty they present.
Remember that if you practice with an electric guitar, use the pick with alternate movements from the bottom up on each note. If you work with a traditional Spanish or acoustic guitar, use your thumb on strings 4, 5, 6 and the index finger on strings 1, 2 and 3.
1. Guitar notes, open strings
The open notes, from the thinner to the thickest string, are E, B, G, D, A and E. The first bottom-up note is E, the second B, and so on. Say them aloud while you practice, so you can memorize them by associating the note with their name. Try, as you pulse them, that each interval between note and note remains uniform.
2. Guitar notes in the first 3 frets
Now that you know the open notes, it is time for you to learn the ones found in the first three frets. To learn it correctly we recommend that you follow this order:
Frets 1 and 3 of the first, second and sixth strings.
Fret 3 of the third string
Fret 2 and 3 of the fourth and fifth strings
Again, take your time so your hands and fingers get used to playing the notes of the first three frets. To facilitate your learning, perform these exercises and do not go to point three until you master them easily. Do not hurry, be patient and practice a lot.
3. Three notes per string
We hope that if you are reading this section you are now able to perform all the exercises in point two with ease. Therefore, it is time for us to go further: let’s play three notes per string.
We recommend that you start with the sixth string with the F- G- A sequences. Practice it a bit and then do the same with the other strings. At this point, check that your guitar is tuned. Try tuning by ear: although it can be easily done with a mobile application or a digital tuner, training your ear will make it easier for you to find the perfect note and realize if during a song the instrument has lost its tuning.
4. To fret 5 with altered notes
So far we have only seen the notes until the fifth fret: those are the normal or unaltered notes. However, in this step we will go further and learn the notes of the guitar that appear in the halftones, that is, the altered notes: the sharp and flat notes.
One trick to learn them easily is that if we move a fret to the right, the notes will be # (sharp). If instead, we move a fret to the left will be b (flat). Practice, and if you have problems with memorizing them, use the same technique as when you learned the open notes: say them out aloud every time you play them, until the note and the finger position is recorded in your muscular memory.
When you master the first five frets, you will be prepared to enter the next level.
5. Conquering Fret 6
We had insisted that you learn the previous level well, because to learn the notes of the sixth fret you only need to move a fret forward so that you get a sustained note.
However, there is a very important detail that you should not ignore: all the notes that are B, are followed by a C, while E, is followed by an F. This applies to ALL THE NECK, so forget about B # or E#. Therefore, the sixth fret would be the way I show you:
6. Frets 7 and 8
From the beginning, we insisted that you learn all the levels well before moving on to the next one. This recommendation will now begin to give results. If you know the notes until the fifth fret, the seventh will not give you problems, since it has no altered notes, except for the second string (F #). And, the order of the notes of the major scale is the same, only higher: C-D- E-F-G-A-B.
For the eighth fret we will continue with the sustain rule, remembering that after a B goes a C and after an E there is an F.
7. The 12th and 10th fret (going back)
For the 12th fret, notes are the same as the open notes: E-B-G-D-A-E
Now we will go back two frets and learn the missing notes. And, because you know the C major scale, you won’t have trouble finding the other notes that are in the neck two positions behind.
8. Fret 9 and 11, the highest register
You only need to master the notes of the nine and eleven frets and you will already know all the notes of the guitar. Again: a back fret is a flat and a forward fret is a sharp. We will reapply this by taking ten fret as the reference.
Remember also that F is not flat and C neither since between E – F and B -C there is only one semitone.
9. B flat or sharp, how to I write them?
If you are a clever student you should have noticed that there are notes that have the same names, which in practice is the same. Therefore, remember that:
C # = Db
D # = EIb
E # = F
F # = Gb
G # = Ab
A # = Bb
B # = C
10. Fret 13 onwards
Congratulations! You have already mastered all the notes on the neck of the guitar. From the tenth third fret, the notes will be equivalent to those of the first fret, those of the 14th fret to those of the second fret and so on, only on a higher register.
Mastering the neck of the guitar is just a matter of practice. In this article we have used a single major scale, but practice with all the scales you know so that you can play them all over the neck easily.