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Lyle Ronglien >> Beginning Guitar II - The Basics >>

Beginning Guitar II - Lesson 1

Learning The Fretboard

Lyle: In this lesson you will learn how to find and name any and all the notes on the fretboard. First you need to understand that the musical alphabet is simply: A-B-C-D-E-F-G, then it repeats. That is a total of seven tones. There are 5 other tones that are referred to as the sharp (#) and flat (b) notes.

all the notes

Lyle: All the natural notes are two frets apart, but the B & C and E & F are next to each other.

Lyle: So, take those 7 tones, A through G, plus the 5 sharp and flat tones and you have a total of 12 different tones in music to work with. That's it! Think of all the music you've heard in your life, it has all been made using any of the 12 tones. It's all how the musical puzzle is put together, which is how you get the chords and scales used to make melodies and songs. You'll learn all that kind of stuff in later lessons, but for now you'll focus on the name of just the notes.

Doug: So naturals are non-flat, non-sharp notes in the C scale?

Lyle: That is correct Doug. Playback this TAB file and you'll see all twelve tones on the 5th string going from A to A:

12 tone scale

Smitty: Are the circled notes the flats?

Lyle: Smitty, when you playback the TAB file for the 12 tone scale, you'll see the name of the notes on the fret board. The circled notes are the sharp/flat notes.

Lyle: For now, I feel it's best to learn where all the natural notes are, the A through G notes, all over the neck. Once you have memorized them, the sharp and flat notes will be easy to find. Here is where they are on the 1st string:

A B C D E F G on 1st string

Lyle: A# is the same as Bb, just called different depending on what key you're in. Notice that the B and C and E and F are next to each other, and all the other notes are two frets apart.

Lyle: Here's these notes on the 2nd string:

A B C D E F G on 2nd string

Lyle: Here's A through G on the G/3rd string:

A B C D E F G on 3rd string

Lyle: Be sure to play the TAB files back so you can view them on the virtual fretboard. It will help you visualize the note locations and names.

Lyle: Here's A through G on the D/4th string:

A B C D E F G on 4th string

Lyle: Now look at the 5th string, the A string:

A B C D E F G on 5th string

Lyle: The E/6th string is the same as the E/1st string. All the note names will be in the same "place" or fret location:

A B C D E F G on 6th string

Lyle: When you playback the next TAB file, it will be a good reference for you to "see" all the natural notes laid out over the neck:

All the Natural Notes

Lyle: Here's a simple exercise for you, find and play ALL the A notes on your guitar neck:

all the A notes

dh: Interesting how the 5th,10th,12th fret have all natural notes on each string of that fret!

Lyle: Yes, and the zero fret, the open strings!

Lyle: After you have mastered finding and playing ALL the A notes on your guitar, or the ones you can reach, try this with ALL the B notes, ALL the C notes, etc....:

all the B notes

all the C notes

all the D notes

all the E notes

all the F notes

all the G notes

Lyle: Simple, yet challenging stuff, finding and playing just selected notes all over the neck. Make it a game or a "solo" for yourself.

Lyle: Just remember, All the natural notes are two frets apart, but the B & C and E & F are next to each other.

Lyle: The next part of this lesson can be a little advanced for the total beginner, but it is a very important part of your journey if you are dreaming of becoming a virtuoso on the guitar. It is also tied in with these natural notes we have been dealing with.

Lyle: You don't have to learn all of the next part of this lesson, but you can always come back to it at a later time when you feel you're ready. Here we go:

The Five Distinct Fingering Patterns

Lyle: The “five distinct fingering patterns” when laid end-to-end cover the entire fingerboard from the lowest to the highest points in any key. A full command of scales and variety of intervals is a prerequisite to the command of each of the “five distinct fingering patterns”. You should reach a point of visually seeing what you hear and be able to relate to one or more of the five basic fingering patterns.

Lyle: When all of the five basic fingering patterns are telescoped into one position, you can play with ease in five different keys. In other words, two octaves and a third of chromatic tones are playable in one of the basic fingering patterns without moving the hand. A finger per fret is the general rule. The first finger is available to stretch down a fret and the little finger is available to stretch up a fret. Harmony does result from scales, and so do chord fingerings result from the “five distinct fingering patterns”. The “five distinct fingering patterns” can be visually related to the five basic chord forms; A, C, D, E, G, which are derived from the open string six-note chords fingered in the first position. You'll learn all about these soon.

Lyle: Here's your first pattern, it uses all the natural notes. When you playback the TAB file, the correct fingering will be displayed on the virtual neck:

Fingering I

Fingering I

Lyle: Just for fun, learn that fingering pattern and then play it along to this looping jam track. Each natural note will fit and sound good with the jam track:

Jam Track in C major

Lyle: Now I'll post the remaining 4 fingering patterns for all the natural notes.

Fingering II

Fingering II

Fingering III

Fingering III

Fingering IV

Fingering IV

Fingering V

Fingering V

Lyle: Two basic rules for connecting the “five distinct fingering patterns”;

1.Slide the fingers on the half steps.
2.Stretch with the little finger in ascending lines.

Here's a look at connecting them:

Sliding on the half steps - ascending

sliding on the half steps - ascending

Sliding on the half steps - descending

sliding on the half steps - descending

Lyle: Remember, these might be a bit much for some of you to be working on right now, but maybe in the near future you'll work on these fingering positions. When you do practice these fingering patterns, use alternate picking starting with a down stroke. Just keep alternating going down, up, down, up...etc.. Here's a close up of this technique:

picking hand close-up

Lyle: Here's a video clip of me "improvising" some of these fingering patterns against the looping jam track. Any of the natural notes will sound good against the jam track:

example 1 - improvising with the notes

Lyle: The first half of the lesson is easy and good for you to know, the second half is real good reference stuff that some of you may want to skip for the time being and come back to it later when you're real curious! :-)

Lyle: Memorize the name of the natural notes on the neck! see you at the next lesson!

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