Memorizing The Fretboard

(I’ve stolen an image from www.CortGuitars.com for this. So there.)

These are some tips and tricks to help you memorize the fretboard. Memorizing the fretboard will help you to instinctively know where to go in order to voice different chords.

The first step is to remember the order of the open strings, which is as follows, (from deepest pitch to highest), E A D g b e. Quite often the thinnest three strings, (the ones which aren’t coiled), are written as lower-case letters. This helps to avoid confusion, being as there are two strings pitched to E.

Secondly, you need to remember that any note on the 12th fret is the same as it’s open string, only an octave higher.

The next sensible thing to do is to learn the notes on the deeper E string. Start by learning the notes on the 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th frets, which are shown below. I have yet to see a guitar that doesn’t mark these frets on the freeboard or at least on the side of the neck. Be aware that a few guitars mark the first fret as well, mostly for aesthetics, so the 3rd fret is not always the first inlay on your guitar neck.

image

The fourth step is remembering that the 1st fret on the E string is an F, the 8th fret is a C, and the 10th fret is a D. It is about this point that you will also need to learn that there are no Cb, B#, Fb or E# notes. If you are playing an E, (open E string), and sharpen the note by a half step, you will be playing F. Similarly, if you sharpen a B by a half step you will be playing C. In reverse, flattening a C will give you a B, and flattening a F will give you an E.

The next step is to memorize the highlighted notes on the A string, which are as follows. Also, remember that the 2nd fret on the A string is a B note.

image

Once you have these down, you’ve certainly done the majority of the work. Learning the notes on the D and G strings is comparatively very easy. All you need to know now, is that if you play a note on the E or A strings, you can play that note’s octave, by skipping a string and playing 2 frets above. For instance, the following pairs are the same notes, but an octave apart:

image

A similar rule is true when your first note is played on the G or D string. You need to take account of the tuning discrepancy for the B string. You’ll need to skip a string, but then play three frets higher, like this:

image

Once you have these seven steps down, it’s only a case of filling in the gaps, which is usually as simple as placing a b or # symbol next to the adjacent note. And there you have it, fretboard memorized.

Hammer-Claw Finger-Picking Technique

Hammer-claw finger-picking is a technique used in country, jazz and sometimes blues music where the guitarist plays with their fingers rather than a pick. In this style your thumb is the “hammer” and your fingers are the “claw”. Your “hammer” is intended to play the bass strings, (E, A and sometimes D), and replicate the job of a bass guitar, while your “claw” plays the chords on the higher strings. The really cool thing about this technique is it can replicate more than one instrument, which can thicken-out a solo performance remarkably.

Below are the charts for the 4 chords you’ll need. Although other notes are used between these chords, these are the shapes you’ll be holding down the majority of the time.

image

Here is the tab and notation, broken up into each figure as discussed in the video.

image

Backing track.

Example Song #3 – 7th Barre Chords in Gm

This track is intended as an exercise for students who have recently been introduced to 7 Barre Chords. Once they are familiar with the shapes this track is a good way of learning how they’re used in practice. You’re playing mainly 7 barre chords.

The Basic 7 Barre Chords lesson will be a useful reference if you need to remind yourself of the chords used below. (Use the Bm7 shape with the roots on the 5th and 3rd frets for Dm7 and Cm7 respectively. Use the F#m7 shape with the root on the 3rd fret for the Gm7. The F#7 shape on the 1st fret give you F7. Lastly, the BMaj7 shape on the 1st fret will give you BbMaj7)
You may also want to review the first Basic Barre Chords lesson. (Use the Bm shape, but with the root on the 5th fret to get your Dm barre chord).

image

This can also be used as a backing track for solo guitarists. The key is Gm.

Example Song #2 – Open 7th Chords in C

This track is intended as an exercise for students who have recently been introduced to 7 Chords. Once they are familiar with the shapes this track is a good way of putting them into practice and using them between chords they’re already familiar with.

You can review the Basic Open Chords and Open 7 Chords lessons to remind yourself of the chord shapes. The cool thing about the first 2 bars is that you only change one finger between every chord.

imageThis can also be used as a backing track for solo guitarists. The key CMaj / Am.

Example Song #1 – Open & Barre Chords in F#m

This track is intended as an exercise for students who have recently been introduced to Barre Chords. Once they are familiar with the shapes this track is a good way of learning how Barre chords can be used in a song. Students will be playing Barre Chords along with the Open Chords they’re already familiar with.

You can remind yourselves of the chord shapes by referring to the Basic Open Chord and the first Basic Barre Chords lessons.


It can also be used as a backing track for solo guitarists. The key is F#m.

Barring 7th Chords

This lesson focuses on Maj, Min and Dom 7th barre chords with roots on the E and A strings. Dim and Aug 7ths will be covered in another lesson, (although in the Open 7th Chords lesson, you will find one barre chord for the Dim7 rooted on the A string), as will roots on other strings.

Compare the following chords to the Major and Minor barre shapes you have already learnt. Seeing the physical difference in what your fretting hand is doing, and noticing what notes are being replaced or altered will help you get a better understanding of music theory in general. It also serves as a good starting point towards altered chord theory as the sound of 7ths is so easily recognized.

The chords in the Open 7th Chords lesson were all diatonic within the scale of C Major. Differently, here we will be examining chord shapes with no real regard to a specific key. You may want to refer back to that lesson to remind yourself where these chords lie within a diatonic scale. You could also try playing the barre open 7th chords you already know as barre chords. It may also be useful to refer back to the first Basic Barre Chords lesson, as some of those shapes are used and altered here.

image

Here are some tips to help you fret each chord.
F#Maj7 – There’s 2 ways to fret this chord. The first option assumes you have an especially large thumb, in which case you fret the 2 middle strings with your 2nd and 3rd fingers, then the B string with your 1st finger, using your thumb to fret the root on the E string. Option 2, you use your first finger on the root note, your 2nd finger to get the B string, and your 3rd and 4th fingers on the middle strings. You also need to try and mute the A string, whichever fretting you choose.
F#Min7 – Here you can use your 2nd finger to get the root note on the E string, and your 3rd finger barres the other 3 notes. You can use a combination of both fingers to mute the A string.
F#7 – This is the easiest 7th chord of all. Play the F#Maj barre chord, then simply release whatever finger is fretting the D string. Done.
BMaj7 – Use your first finger to fret the root on the A string, then your 3rd finger to get to the D string. The, use your 2nd finger on the G string, and your 4th finger on the B string. Take care not to play either of the E strings.
BMin7 – This is pretty simple. Play the Bm barre chord that you already know, then raise whatever finger you have f the G string.
B7 – This is also really easy. Play a B barre chord, and raise whatever finger you have on the G string.

String-Skip Tapping Lick

This is my ultimate looks-cool-and-also-sounds-good-too lick. Ditch the pick, put 2 hands on the fretboard, prepare for nonsense.

I’d suggest being familiar with tapping, avoiding / muting string noise, and having a reasonable amount of hammer-on dexterity and finger strength before looking at this one.

Here is the tab for this lesson, including performance directions, timing and phrasing. Note that all notes are semiquavers, except for the 13th fret on the B string which is a quaver, (ie, it needs to last twice as long as the other notes).
On the B string, you also have the option to tap the note with either your 2nd or 3rd finger.

image