Before learning the notes on the fretboard you must learn and memorize the Musical Alphabet. This a very easy thing to do so don’t over-think this.  There are 12 notes in the Musical Alphabet. It is just like the traditional alphabet but there are accidentals (sharp # or a flat b) between some of the natural notes.

the musical alphabet written out showing which notes do not have sharps

Just remember that there is not a sharp between B and C, and E and F.

Memorizing the notes on the fretboard

You will memorize the fretboard notes in steps. The first notes that you want to memorize are the notes in the key of "C Major".  These notes do not have a sharp or flat.

C  D  E  F  G  A  B  C

1. Start with the "Open Strings"...     E  A  D  G  B  E

2. Memorize the "High and Low E Strings".

3. Memorize the "A String".


Sharp (#) - Means "higher in pitch" and the sharp symbol raises a note by a half tone.

Flat (b) - Means "lower in pitch" and the flat symbol lowers a note by a half tone.

Enharmonic - Notes that have different names but are the same pitch.

A# is also called Bb.

D# is also called Eb.

a guitar fretboard illustrating where the common notes are on the fretboard

Semitone - The distance between two notes which are next to one  another in pitch (a half-step).

To go from a D to a D sharp is a semitone.

To go from an F sharp to a G is a semitone.

Whole Tone - A distance of two semitones.

To go from an A to a B is a whole tone.

To go from a D to an E is a whole tone.

We will learn a quick way to find the notes on the D, G, and B strings in later lessons.

Chromatic - A scale consisting of 12 semitones (the musical alphabet).

red guitar logo illustration