Fretboard

The Fretboard or fingerboard on a guitar, is the playing surface that holds the frets. It is made of a hard type of wood. The most usual wood types is rosewood, ebony, maple and mahogany. Other fretboard woods are cedar. ton, flamed maple, birdseye maple, yew, and koa.

Why should you learn the fretboard

It is important to learn the positions of the notes on the fretboard, for several reasons. The basic reason is that the better you know your instrument, the better you'll master it. More particularly, you'll get a better understanding of how chords, scales and arpeggios are put together. It makes you able to construct chords, scales and arpeggios on the spot. This is very important building block in improvising. Another good reason is that it is necessary to be able to read sheet music.

The Layout of The Fretboard

The position of all the notes on the fretboard

Fretboard Map
E A D G B E
F Bb Eb Ab C F
Gb B E A Db Gb
G C F Bb D G
Ab Db Gb B Eb Ab
A D G C E A
Bb Eb Ab Db F Bb
B E A D Gb B
C F Bb Eb G C
Db Gb B E Ab Db
D G C F A D
Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb
E A D G B E
F Bb Eb Ab C F
Gb B E A Db Gb
G C F Bb D G
Ab Db Gb B Eb Ab
A D G C E A
Bb Eb Ab Db F Bb
B E A D Gb B
C F Bb Eb G C
Db Gb B E Ab Db
D G C F A D
Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb
E A D G B E
String Mode The organization of the notes on the fretboard
1 Phrygian E scale E F G A B C D E
2 Locrian B scale B C D E F G A B
3 Mixolydian G G A B C D E F G
4 Dorian D scale D E F G A B C D
5 Aeolian A scale A B C D E F G A
6 Phrygian E scale E F G A B C D E
fret number 3 5 7 9 . 12

The Perfect Fourth (BEADG) Layout of the strings

:circle_of_fifths.png

With one exception, the interval relation between strings is a perfect fourth (P4), in standard tuning. The exception is the inteval between the third and the second string which is a Perfect Third (M3). Or to put it another way, the 1st and the 2nd string is moved one halvstep up.

But suppose you changed the standard tuning and made the interval between all strings had been a P4, then the layout of the strings would have been identical to the Circle of Fourths. Instead of the standard tuning (EADGBE) it would have been EADGCF

Look at the circle of fourths, that is, the circle of fifths counter-clockwise. Start on B and list all the notes counter-clockwise:

B-E-A-D-G-C-F-Bb-Eb-Ab-Db-Gb.

Notice the recurring pattern:
BEAD…bead.BEAD…bead.BEAD…bead.
Or
BEADG..beadgBEADG..beadgBEADG..beadg.

You would then only need to learn the circle of fiths to know where each note was on the fretboard. But because of the exception, the M3 interval between the 3rd and 2nd string, that means that the 1st and the 2nd string is moved one halvstep up: Or in other words, you just need to learn the circle of fourths to be able to locate the notes on the fretboard, if you just remember this: 1st and the 2nd string is a halvstep up.

 Fret          B  E  A  D  G                            
                  ----------------                      
                  |  |  |  |  C  F   Bb  Eb  Ab  Db  Gb 
                  |  |  |  |  |  |                      
 3                |  |  |<>|  |  |                      
                  |  |  |  |  |  |                      
 5          B  E  A  D  G<>C  |  |                      
                  |  |  |  |  F  Bb  Eb  Ab  Db  Gb     
 7                |  |  |<>|  |  |                      
                  |  |  |  |  |  |                      
 9                |  |  |<>|  |  |                      
         B  E  A  D  G  C  F  |  |                      
                  |  |  |  |  Bb Eb  Ab  Db  Gb         
 12               |  |  |<>|  |  |                      
                  |  |  |  |  |  |                      
                  |  |  |  |  |  |                      
 15   B  E  A  D  G  C  F<>|  |  |                      
                  |  |  |  Bb Eb Ab  Db  Gb             
                  |  |  |  |  |  |                      

Guitar Fretboard Trainer @ Ricci Adams' Musictheory.net. Free online music theory lessons and trainers.

For Windows Absolute Fretboard Trainer. Fretboard trainer software. Well designed set of interactive drills and lessons. The Absolute Fretboard Trainer does what it promises, and it does it well. It'll make you learn the fretboard swiftly and with ease. Highly recommended! The light version is free but is without the advanced lessons.
Windows Mac Fretboard Warrior, Fretboard learning software. Fretboard Warrior is a free tool designed to help guitar student to memorize the the notes on the fretboard. The game is simply click on notes that corresponds to a dot at a position on the fretboard. The light version is freeware, but simplified. In the Pluss version you can specify what string and position you want to learn. Handy for beginners.