Cheat Sheet: Guitar Notes Chart for Beginners

guitar fretboard notes
Classical Guitar Horizontal

Every guitarist gets to the point when they understand the scales, but want to take their playing to the next level. This is when you want to memorize the notes on the fretboard. We've got a two part plan, plus a guitar notes chart, that will make it easy to know the guitar notes like the back of your hand.

Below, we have our full Coustii Guitar Notes Chart. Seems like a lot to digest right? Don't worry, we are going to break it down into a more digestible format. The Guitar Notes Chart will be good to reference as you're practicing on your ESP MH-50.​ 

If you need to take a step back and review your guitar scales, take a look at ​Coustii's Guitar Scales Explained. Here we cover the guitar scales.

Strings

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

e

F

F#

G

G#

A

A#

B

C

C#

D

D#

E

B

C

C#

D

D#

E

F

F#

G

G#

A

A#

B

G

G#

A

A#

B

C

C#

D

D#

E

F

F#

G

D

D#

E

F

F#

G

G#

A

A#

B

C

C#

D

A

A#

B

C

C#

D

D#

E

F

F#

G

G#

A

E

F

F#

G

G#

A

A#

B

C

C#

D

D#

E

How do I memorize the notes horizontally?

First, let's focus on the memorizing the guitar notes on the fretboard horizontally. We are going to cover the theory behind the Perfect 4th and Major 3rd intervals.​ If you've begun to practice your scales, you're probably familiar with A Natural Minor scale.

By looking at the guitar note chart below, we have only provided the notes from A Natural Minor scale, off the 6th string, identified by column 6. The root note is A, which we have made those notes blue. ​This scale is made of all natural tones, just A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A.

​You'll notice that every horizontal note movement on this scale is a whole step, EXCEPT when it is B to C, or E to F. For example, moving from A to B is two frets, or a whole step. Going from C to D, D to E, or F to G are all whole steps. Every time we move from B to C, or E to F, we are only going a half step or one fret.

​You will start to realize that across the entire fretboard that B to C and E to F are only a half step away. These natural notes are always hanging out right next to each other.

Strings

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

e

A

B

C

B

E

F

G

G

B

C

D

D

G

A

A

D

E

F

E

A

B

C

How do I memorize the notes vertically?

The second part of the guitar notes chart that is important to memorize is going vertically, from the bass strings to the treble strings. While we are still focusing on the six string, you'll notice that the notes move in fourths.

A to D = 4 (A-B-C-D)

D to G = 4 (D​-E-F-G)

You can also see the fourth interval on the 8th string.

B to E = 4 (B-C-D-E)

E to A = 4 (E-F-G-A) Use your alphabet imagination on that one​

No matter where you are on the fretboard, these natural notes will be a fourth interval away. Of course, we have to make it difficult. This wasn't going to be that easy! We have the perfect fourths, but we also have the Major Third interval. Not every natural note is a perfect fourth.

Did you catch how I didn't include C to E? If you do the math, this isn't a fourth interval. We don't have a natural note above D on the 8th string. Here we would have an F sharp or a G flat.

Strings

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

e

A

B

C

B

E

F

G

G

B

C

D

D

G

A

A

D

E

F

E

A

B

C

Let's revisit the fretboard from a horizontal view. This time we'll use an E Natural Minor scale on the 5th fret. We made the root note of E blue. When you're learning the fretboard distances you'll notice a pattern in half and whole steps.

In this scale, you notice that we have the pattern of Whole-Half-Whole-Whole-Half-Whole-Whole. There is a a whole step from E to F#, a half step from F# to G, a whole step from G to A, a whole step from A to B, a half step from B to C, a whole step from C to D, and a whole step from D to E.

Strings

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

e

B

G

D

A

B

C

D

E

​F#

G

A

E

What else should I review?

If you'd like a refresher on some of the common scales and their whole and half step combo, check out the list below:

Note: WH means a whole step and a half step, or 3 frets.​

  • Major scale: W-W-H-W-W-W-H
  • Natural Minor scale: W-H-W-W-H-W-W
  • Major pentatonic scale: W-W-WH-W-WH
  • Minor pentatonic scale: WH-W-H-H-WH-W
  • Blues scale: WH-W-H-H-WH-W
  • Harmonic Minor Scale: W-H-W-W-H-WH-H
  • Melodic Minor scale: W-H-W-W-W-W-H

By reviewing this article a few times, you'll be well on your way to memorizing the fretboard. Make sure to bookmark our Guitar Notes Chart, so you can easily access it when you need a memory jog!

For those that are visual learners, take a look at Drue James' video "Easy Way to Learn the Notes on the Guitar Fretboard." He teaches the notes on the E strings first, then moves onto the inner strings.​

If you'd like more material, check out our Coustii recommended reading:

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