Many people are familiar with the layout of a piano/keyboard. The image above goes over 3 octaves but as you can see, the notes go from A – G#. Spend some time digesting the different notes into your mind and then move on to your guitar board.
Above are the notes for a guitar in standard tuning. First, make sure you can quickly recall the notes of the individual strings – EADGBE (Elephants And Donkeys Grow Big Ears). Once you’re some what fluent at this, learn the notes on your top string. It’s easy to remember the notes as ‘checkpoints’ on the fret board. On the top string, remember that your 5th fret is an A. this is the same as your next string down. This pattern for the 5th fret follows up to the G string; I.e. the 5th fret on the A string is a D, the 5th fret on the D string is a G. Due to standard tuning having a B instead of a C, the interval for your 5th string is 1 semi tone lower meaning the 4th fret of your G string is the same as an open 5th string. From your 5th string it is once again your 5th fret to the e.
The next checkpoint to use is your 7th fret: BEADF#B.
The 12th fret (often indicated with 2 dots on the side of a guitar fret board) is where your next octave begins. This is the same notes as your open strings but in the next set of registered pitches. By knowing these notes alone you can quickly figure out where the other notes as you play and build fluidity over time. You can also use intervals to effectively locate notes easily and efficiently which I have demonstrated in a lesson on intervals and extended chords which can be found in the MeYouMusic theory guide ebook or on our website.
Now you know the notes on the fret board, its time to learn how to play them. Assuming your right handed, you would use your left hand to press the string down against the fret board at the designated fret. With your right hand, you would pick the string that you are holding down to produce the note. Practice just playing 1 note at a time for now. speed and technicality will come over time.
Towards the head of your guitar you have your lower pitch notes. The frets closer to your body are your higher pitched notes. A 24 fret guitar covers 5 octaves, giving you a large variety of pitches to produce. As a beginner you should focus on learning the Major scale within 1 octave at a time. Remember, most great riffs are written in just one octave. Learn how to use each note effectively before unnecessarily adding more.