If you’re like many students, you can manage to find the notes within the first three or four frets, but find the upper registers much more daunting. In Part 3 of ‘Finding the Notes on the Fretboard’ we have a look at how the notes are laid out on the neck, and identify patterns to make the higher frets more manageable.
Notes at the Fifth Fret
If you look closely at the cheat sheet (pdf) you may notice a few patterns which you can use to more easily find higher notes.
The first obvious pattern is that the notes on fifth fret have the same name as the open note of the next thinner string. This means that the note at the fifth-fret sixth-string will be the same as the open fifth string ‘A’. Similarly, the fifth fret fifth string will be the same as the open fourth string, ‘D’, and so on.
Do be aware though, that due to the tuning of the guitar, the third string does not keep to the pattern. Rather than being at the fifth fret the ‘B’ is at the fourth fret (as in the figure above).
Notes at the Seventh Fret
Here is a similar pattern at the seventh fret. This pattern works with the next thicker string, so the seventh fret fifth string is the same as the open sixth string, ‘E’. The seventh fret fourth string, is the same as the open fifth string, ‘A’, and so on.
Again, because of the way the guitar is tuned, there is one note which does not fit the pattern properly. In this case the second string note which corresponds with an open string the ‘G’ at the eighth fret.
Notes at the Twelfth Fret
The notes at the twelfth fret are the exactly the same as the open strings, so this one is dead easy!
The notes at the Other Frets
By remembering these patterns at the fifth, seventh and twelfth frets, you are never more than two frets away from a note that you know. And since you (should) know your musical alphabet forwards as well as backwards its only a simple matter to work out the notes in between.
P.S. And of course, don’t forget the one other pattern touched on in Part 2: that is; since both of the outermost strings are E’s they also share the same letter names.