Do You Know This Simple Guitar Fretboard Secret?

By. Sebastian Gomez

Today I got a story for ya’ll.

When I was first learning guitar I remember being envious of piano players. They never had any issue finding notes since they are nicely color coded;
natural notes (C – D – E – F – G – A – B ) are white keys, and accidentals (C#, Bb, A#, etc.) are black keys. But that all changed when I found this trick!

Count with me!

3 – 5 – 7 – 8

Memorize these number. Say them out loud a few times or write them down in a notebook. Now try playing those 4 frets on the Low E or A string of the guitar, and you’ll hear:

The theme to The Addams Family was one of the first songs I ever learned on the guitar. It was easy and fun to play, and it always got people snapping along.

But wasn’t till a few years later that I realized what I had figured out; I had learned the natural notes on the guitar, the same piano white keys I so longed for.

All of a sudden my world changed. The weights were lifted from my eyes and I could see clearly what was in front of me! But this alone didn’t get me where I am now. I still had one more trick to find: The Octave

The musical octave is where the notes repeat. If you count up 8 notes, you’ll find the same note again:

On the guitar the octave follows this patters:

All the red dots are G’s

To find a new G one octave higher form the E string, you just need to skip a string (the A string), and skip a fret (the 4th fret), and you land on the 5th fret of the D string. When we try to find an octave from there, we need to adjust slightly, adding one more fret skip to our formula( Skip a string, and skip two frets).
Whichever note you’re looking for, you can repeat this pattern.

And this also works for notes on the A string, like C:

All the green dots are C’s

Looking again at our Addams Family theme, we can now play it in all our new octaves.

Apply this to any song you learn and before long you will have a working map in your head of the whole fretboard. This will result in a much more musical understanding of the instrument, and better phrasing of musical melodies.

So remember these fret:

3 – 5 – 7 – 8

If you ever forgot a fret, you needed only to snap your fingers to find it again.