New tutorials: check the new lesson series "Understanding the fretboard" that explains thoroughly how the guitar fretboard works. Stop being trapped in scale boxes and get able to find on the fly the notes your heart wants you to play:
As a beginner guitar player, you have two options: the first is to learn some chord shapes and scale boxes, and play them over and over, without having a clear idea of what is really happening on your fretboard. The second option seems more difficult: memorizing the notes on the neck, and, with a bit of work, become fully aware of what you're playing.
What's the difference? Well, with the first option you'll be a beginner forever (even if you can play a given scale at the speed of light), while if you commit yourself to learn the fretboard notes, you can really skyrocket your guitar skills: improvisation, composition, harmony, you'll open up a new world. Of course, like everything in music, these are not strict rules: there are great guitarists that play only by ear, but if you're a normal person like me, you should really consider to work on your fretboard notes.
"I know that learning the fretboard notes is really important, but it's difficult!" (beginner guitar student)
Don't worry! I wanted to help the guitar community with this problem, so I developed two free software tools that will allow you learn the whole fretboard in a couple of weeks. And the best thing is that you'll have a lot of fun! In fact, these software tools are actually guitar games, in which you'll fight for the top of the leaderboard, challenging other guitar fellow mates (for a theoretical explanation on how the fretboard works check my "Understanding the fretboard step-by-step guide"). Furthermore, I created a reference pdf with the neck notes map, sharps and flats off all musical keys:
Guitar Notes Map Pdf
This reference pdf shows the guitar neck notes map for all the musical keys, visualized with easy-to-remember layout. The various musical keys are organized following the circle of fifths, a smart way to show and internalize the sharps/flats that a given key introduces. Created to help you memorize the fretboard.
So now you have no excuse for not getting good at playing the guitar: on the Internet you can find tons of great guitar lessons, and now you can take advantage of this free software training tool that will help you memorize the notes of the fretboard easily.
The Fretboard Trainer is a simple but really effective game in which you'll be challenged in picking the right note on a given string, choosen randomly by the system. The system will say "pick the A note on the D string", and your mission will be to click on the correct fret. That's easy enough, isn't it? yes, apart the fact that a countdown timer will run, and you'll have 100 seconds in total to guess right frets as much as possible. I've got a lot of emails from players that use this game on a daily basis and it seems that the mean time required to memorize the whole fretboard is about 14 days, practicing 10/20 minutes a day.
- Quick and effective: training sessions that last 100 seconds
- Leaderboard to keep motivation high
- Alternate tunings: you can train your fretboard knowledge also with alternate tunings: Drop D, D Standard, Drop C, C Standard, Open C, Open D, Modal D, Open D Minor, Open G, to name a few.
To see the Fretboard Trainer All Time Leaderboard click here
The Fretboard Cyber Trainer takes a step further in learning the guitar neck. This tool allows you to practice musical intervals on the fretboard. You can train your brain and memorize the geometry of octaves, minor and major thirds, diminished, augmented and perfect fifths.
In order to keep the learning process fun and effective, this tool has two modality: the game mode, in which you'll compete for the top of the leaderboard against other guitar players, and the training mode: you can use the tool at your own pace, selecting the frets range and the strings you want to practice on, and learn step by step your fretboard (open strings, natural notes, octaves, and so on). When you'll be ready, you can switch you to game mode and start to compete.
A left handed layout is available, while alternate tunings are coming very soon.
Suggestions from FaChords Guitar Software members have been precious to develop this tool, so a big thank you to Damir (Croatia), J.V. Kelley (Texas), Alan, Satya (India), and many other folks.
- Open Strings: the first challenge for all beginners, the trainer selects a random string, your job is to identify the correct string name.
- Natural notes only: you'll practice frets with only natural notes (C,D,E,F,G,A,B). The trainer selects a string AND a note, you have to pick the right fret
- Natural, sharp and flats notes: same as above, but with natural, sharps and flats notes
- Pick a note on all strings: the trainer names a note, your mission is to pick all the frets corresponding to that note.
- Name the note name of a fret: inverted modality, the system gets a fret, you asked to guess its corresponding note name.
- Octave intervals: given a fret, you have to pick the octave on a string selected by the system.
- Octave intervals: given a fret, you have to pick the fifth (perfect, diminished or augmented) on a string selected by the system.
- Octave intervals: given a fret, you have to pick the third (major or minor) on a string selected by the system.
When you use the tool is training mode, there is no timer, no countdown, no leaderboard: just select the exercise you prefer and focus on your learning. Instead of working on the whole fretboard, you can select a specific area of the fingerboard . For example you could choose only the last 3 strings, or only the area between the 5th and the 12th fret, and so forth. This saves you a lot of time and allows you to focus only on what you need. To activate this features, click on the Set fretboard area button (note: this button is enabled only on "Training mode")
Here's where the fun begins. You'll advance through all the different kinds of exercises (from open strings to the interval exercises). You gain the pass to the next phase if you get 5 correct hits in a row. You have 100 seconds to guess as much as possible questions. The more the phase is advanced, the higher is the score you get in case of correct hit. For example, in the open string phase, a correct hit is worth 1 point, while a correct hit in the third intervals phase is worth 5 points.
To see the Fretboard Cyber Trainer All Time Leaderboard click here
Because octaves, thirds and fifths intervals are the building block of chords. If you know exactly the position of the relative third and fifth of a given root note, you can easily play any major, minor, augmented and diminished chord on the fly, wherever you are on the fretboard. This is the basic concept to build more complex chords.This ebook explains you how.
A major chord is composed of the root (R in the diagram), the major third (3) and the perfect fifth (5). Here are all the possible major triad configurations on the fretboard (assuming standard tunings)
A minor chord is composed of the root (R in the diagram), the minor third (b3) and the perfect fifth (5).
An augmented chord is composed of the root (R in the diagram), the major third (b3) and the augmented fifth (#5)
A diminished triad is composed of the root (R in the diagram), the minor third (b3) and the diminished fifth (b5). The diminished fifth is also called tritone or the "devil's interval" (diabolus in musica), because its "evil" sound. If you are into heavy metal you know what I mean.
About the author
Hi there! I'm Gianca, a guitar teacher and a software engineer from Italy. I originally created this site to be a tool for my students, and now it's available, for free, to anyone looking to get better at guitar. If it's your first time here, jump to the welcome page. To stay updated on new articles and lessons click here
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