Fretboard Notes Memorization Using Patterns

Author: Ed Cupler

Guitar Lesson

Each of these three scale patterns contains six notes on two strings, three notes per string and starts on the Low E and A strings and is repeated one whole step (2 frets) up on the D and G strings and then again repeated one and a half steps (3 frets) up on the B and high E strings. They follow the notes contained in the c major scale so there are no sharps or flats. The examples below are color coded red for the Low E and A strings, Blue for the D and G strings and green for the B and High E strings

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Pattern #1

Pattern #1 E F G / A B C

Fretboard memorization patterns

Pattern #2

Pattern #2 A B C / D E F

Fretboard memorization patterns

Pattern #3

Pattern #3 D E F / G A B

Fretboard memorization patterns

Ex: #1

Notes at the 12th fret are the same as the open notes at the nut only one octave above. Thus all patterns can be repeated starting at the 12th fret.

This example shows the notes that are missed by the first pattern. They are however covered above the 12th fret by patterns #2 and #3.

Fretboard memorization patterns

Ex: Sharps & Flats

By laying the three patterns out along the length of the fretboard on the Low E and A strings, you can easily see that the unnamed notes between the notes in these patterns are either the sharp to the note before (as in the "Sharps Example") or the flat to the note above it (as in the "Flats Example"). For example, the note between the F and G notes can be either F# or Gb. Usually in written sheet music these notes will be either all sharps or all flats.

Sharps Example

Fretboard memorization patterns

Flats Example

Fretboard memorization patterns

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