How To Remember The Guitar String Notes The Easy Way

Are you struggling to remember your guitar notes? Are the guides on the internet just too complicated and confuse you by memorizing random shapes? I'm here to fix all those issues for you.

There are many methods to remember the guitar string notes. Most people teach you using complicated patterns to remember the notes. Though this is hard to understand and isn’t efficient. The way that you should learn to recognize notes is by references. I’ll explain what I mean soon.

Before we dive in this article assumes that you know the following:

* What fret notes are

* What sharps and flats are

* Know that the musical alphabet is from 'A' to 'G'

Ok, so the first step to remembering guitar string notes is to understand your open guitar strings. And those notes are:

Thinnest string - E

B

G

D

A

Thickest string - E

This ‘E’ above here is the thickest string, and the thinnest is on the top.

To remember these strings, keep it simple by just repeating the letter of each string. Its recommended that you go in and do some repetition. Just repeat to yourself whatever string you are looking at and repeat the letter of the string. If you are on the thickest string which is the ‘E' string, say ‘E', and do the same for the other strings.

Question time:

Q: How long should I practice this for?

A: Until you are familiar with it.

 

Quick Quiz:

Q: What is the guitar string note of the top and bottom string of the guitar?

A: It is the ‘E' string. The thickest string is the low  ‘E' string, and the thinnest string is the high ‘E' string.

Question time: Why is it called the low ‘E' string and vice-versa? Well, the thickest string makes a lower sound, and the thinnest string makes a higher highest sound.

After practicing the string names and having then down confidently, now comes time to remember the fret notes. There are a lot of frets to remember, but I will show you a method or an algorithm so you can retain them easily.  Remember it will still require a bit of practice, but you will get it down faster than any other method. Let me show you how to remember multiple notes at once, in a straightforward fashion. What you will do is to focus on the 5th fret of every string except the 'G' guitar string which I will explain why soon.

guitar fretboard chart

In the picture above where I've highlighted, that's the 5th fret. What I want you to do is to look at a fret, for example, the 5th string of the low 'E' string. If you look at it the 5th fret, you will see that note is the same note as the next string down, which is 'A' and it keeps ongoing. The 5th fret of the 'A' string is the note is 'D' which is the next string down and so on.

But! There is an exception, which is the 'G' string. With the 'G' string, you need to put your finger on the 4th fret then that note is 'B,' which is the next string down. Why is this the case? Because the 'G' is tuned in a way that makes it, so you have to put your finger there. If the 'G' string wasn't tuned in that way, then the guitar would sound different.

Practice Schedule: Here is your mini step-by-step practice schedule that you should practice until you get familiar with it.

Step 1) Realize that the 5th fret of any string is the next string down except for the 'G' which is the 4th.

Step 2) Practice this until you get familiar with it.

That's it! Just a 2 step process, but that's only for that section of the guitar fretboard. Now let's go to the next easy section. We will do the easy sections first then do the hard ones last (don't worry though, I will make the hard parts easy to identify).

 

Ok, so we have covered that section of the guitar fretboard. Now it's time to do the next easy step, which is the easiest and that's the 12th fret of every string. The 12th fret of every string is the same that you are on. If you are on the 'E' string, then the 12th fret is 'E'. If you are on the 12th fret of the 'A' string, then the note is 'A' and so on. Here is the guitar fret diagram so you can see what I mean.

guitar fretboard chart

Now let's move onto the next section, which is the 1st fret.

guitar fretboard diagram

This fret is easy to remember because it's just one fret after the open string. So after 'A' is 'A#' and after 'B' is 'C' and so-on. As usual, practice this, get familiar with the first fret of every string and quiz yourself by asking for example "What is the 1st fret of the 'INSERT STRING NAME HERE'.

Ok now it starts to get tricky, but I'll make it super easy for you. Now we need to start going backward. As you should already know there 12 notes in music and these notes are:

guitar fretboard chart

The goal now is to be able to read this chart backwards and forwards. The reason is that to remember the next set of notes, you need to be able to read your letters backwards.

Don't be alarmed! This isn't difficult, only needs a tiny bit of practice. You can start by following this easy step by step guide:

Step 1) Starting talking. I want you to start talking out loud and keep repeating the notes of music. Say the following, "A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#"

This is easy because the notes are going forward and its the same as remembering your regular alphabet which you already know. The goal is to remember the notes going forward.

Step 2) Once you are familiar with the notes going forwards now its time to go backward. Do the same thing now but read it out loud backward. Say the following:

"G#, G, F#, F, E, D#, D, C#, C, B, A#, A"

This one might take a bit of extra practice but keep practicing until you are confident with doing it backward.

Onto the next process! We are almost there. Now let's focus on the 11th fret of every string.

guitar fretboard chart

As you can see, they are all sharp notes. So know do you remember these notes? Easy! You should already know the 12th fret notes so count one-note backward.

Practice Schedule: Same as usual. Just get familiar with the notes on the 11th fret of all strings. Also, quiz yourself and ask your self, for example:

"What is the note on the 11th fret of the 'String name here'?

Now let's tackle the 10th fret, which is pretty easy as well. The 10th fret is just two letters before the 12th fret. So if you know that the 12th fret of the 'E' string is an 'E' you can go backward two letters which is a 'D' and so on — same practice schedule.

guitar fretboard diagram

We have a lot of ground covered! We need to start filling in the blanks. Lets now cover the 6th fret of every guitar string.

guitar fretboard chart

The same process applies as above. Since you already know the 5th fret of every string and are confident with it, know that the 6th fret of every string is just one fret up from the 5th. It's that simple! Same practice schedule as above.

Are you noticing a pattern yet? Notice how I said before that if you know the open string of every string, you will know the next note because its just one guitar fret up? Well, it applies similiar for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th, and the 9th fret. Let me show you a diagram.

guitar fretboard diagram

The red highlights the notes we have covered. The blue shows what we need to cover, BUT we will remember it by reading the notes forward (I will explain this soon).

Last but not least, the green color shows the notes that we need to remember backward. We will finish off the final pieces to the puzzle. Let's focus on the blue notes.

Since you are confident with reading the musical alphabet forwards, you need to remember the 3rd and 7th fret of every string. This should be simple now since you have already memorized the 1st fret and the 6th fret of every string you only need to count one fret forward.

Last but not least! The 3rd and the 8th fret of every string. For the 3rd fret position, count 2 frets up from the 1st fret, and you should easily be able to remember that.

For the 8th fret, count 2 frets before the 10th fret. The reason I chose the 10th fret is that all the notes are natural and it's easy to count back because no sharps of flats are involved.

That's it! We have covered the entire fretboard from the open string to the 12th fret. Remember to keep practicing and quiz your self. You might be wondering what about the 12th fret to the 24th fret? It is very similar, and I will cover it next time.