How Do You Memorize All The Notes On A Guitar? Jimi Hendrix. Eric Clapton. James Hetfield. The greatest guitarists learned all the notes on a guitar because making music with one of the most challenging instruments demand it! But they didn’t get to the point where they are now by being lazy about it.
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The formidable task of learning every note should be undertaken with determination, discipline, and dedication. As cliché as it may sound, getting plenty of practice, say, an hour or two every day, is the best way to memorize the notes.
It should be easier than expected, too, considering that there are only 12 distinct notes on a guitar. These are A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, and G#. Keep in mind that while there are only 12 notes, there can be as many as 49 distinctive tones on a guitar.
But let’s focus on the notes first. These notes correspond to specific strings on a guitar in the same way that the keys on a piano correspond to particular notes.
On a guitar, its strings can be viewed either in descending or ascending order. Or, from the thickest to the thinnest. The thicket string is the 6th string, and it is tuned to E, so it is called the low E string. It’s the lowest note possible.
As you move down the fretboard, the strings and their corresponding notes are as follows:
- 5th string = A string (tuned to A)
- 4th string = D string (tuned to D)
- 3rd string = G string (tuned to G)
- 2nd string = B string (tuned to B)
- 1st string = High E string (tuned to E)
The combination of the notes and the strings can be confusing for beginners. An oft-used trick is to associate the letters/notes with a memorable phrase wherein the first letter of each word stands for the string names.
The order would then be E-B-G-D-A-E, from the thinnest to the thickest string. You can make your memorable phrase, of course, and the crazier it is, the likelier you will remember it. But you can use these phrases, too:
- Easter Bunnies Get Dizzy At Easter
- Elvis’ Big Great Dane Ate Everything
- Each Bad Girl Deserves An Eggplant
- Every Boy Gets Dinner At Eight
The order will be different if you start from the thickest string, thus, E-A-D-G-B-E. Your phrase can be:
- Every Amateur Does Get Better Eventually
- Eat All Day Get Big Easy
- Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie
Use A Memory Guide
Your memorization task will be easier if you have a visual reminder of the notes and their placements on the fretboard. You can use memory guides like the Popular Guitar Chords Poster, which can be placed on your wall. If you’re having issues with your notes, you can look at the poster and know it.
You may also want to read comprehensive guidebooks like the Guitar Fretboard: Memorize The Fretboard In Less Than 24 Hours. You will find that the best start to learning notes is to know the techniques first.
To conclude, there is no shortcut to learning the guitar. You have to exert time and effort by playing it like the masters, and it begins with learning the notes.