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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Musical Language

3. The Strings and the Fretboard

4. Adaptation to Other String Instruments

5. A Note About the Following Exercises

6. Exercise #1

7. Exercise #2

8. Exercise #3

9. Exercise #4

10. Exercise #5

11. Exercise #6

12. Exercise #7

13. Exercise #8

14. Conclusion

15. Other Books I’ve Written


Introduction
I never considered myself to be a musician when I was growing up. In fact, I was thoroughly
convinced I did not have what it takes to be able to play music. I took cello lessons and failed
miserable. I took piano lessons without making much progress. I sort of learned to play the recorder
in school, if you can call playing hot cross buns playing.

What I’m getting at is that I was a terrible musician. I couldn’t sing, I couldn’t keep time, I couldn’t
play an instrument, the list of things I couldn’t do with respect to music is long. I found this
particularly frustrating because my father is an absolutely fantastic professional saxophone player. I
figured somewhere in me there had to be an inherent talent for music.

I was very wrong.

What I realized as I grew older was that my father didn’t have an inherent musical talent either. What
he did have was an unstoppable drive to succeed.

It took me a few years to get over my false idea that I could never be a good musician. My father had
bought me a guitar years before as a Christmas present. It was sitting in a dusty case in my room,
neglected. I had recently met a man named Jacob, another amazing musician. Jacob’s talent was with
string instruments, particularly the bass. I asked his advice about what I should learn first.

He told me to learn music theory, so I went online and began to read. I read a lot and started to teach
myself scales. I was still really terrible at the guitar for awhile, but I kept at it, and slowly I
improved.

I stress the word slowly.

I asked Jacob to teach me guitar, and he said he would. I quickly found out that Jacob–despite being a
wonderful player– is a horrible teacher. His problem is that he cannot think like a beginner, he cannot
break down the knowledge and present it in bite sized pieces that are easy to swallow and digest.

I wrote this book with that in mind.

During the process of teaching myself the guitar, I learned a lot about how to teach guitar. I applied
what I learned to write this book, which is intended to help you understand the guitar and memorize
the fretboard quickly. This book is designed to be the first step on the road of music. I begin with a
short explanation of Musical Language, then I explain the Strings and Fretboard. The following
chapters are exercises.

I’m still learning today. Music is extremely complicated and eclectic. I know for a fact that I will
never master music, but that’s not my goal. My goal is to be able to play with other people and enjoy
doing it. I can do that now, and if you work hard, you too will be able to have fun with music.

I wish you the best,


Table of Contents
Musical Language
There are many levels of fretboard memorization. I’m going to teach you everything you need to know
to beat level one in this book.

The first step to memorize the guitar fretboard is to understand how it works. Once you understand the
basic structure you’ll see patterns everywhere.

Music is made up of notes that follow a pattern. You can think of these notes in a lot of ways, but most
of them won’t help you to communicate with other musicians or use the huge amount of the material
already available. There is a musical language that has become standard: everyone uses it so
everyone can communicate, stranger or not.

The backbone of this musical language is the first seven letters of the English alphabet, generally
beginning with C. You should know that this is an arbitrary starting point, there is no first note or last
note.

C |D|E |F |G|A|B

Certain notes have in-between notes, these are sharps and flats. For example, the note between A and
B is A sharp (A♯) or B flat (B♭). A sharp and B flat are different names for the same note. When
you’re going up the notes, often you use sharps (C C♯ D) and you use flats when going down (D
D♭C)All of the sharps and flats written out in order look like this:

Notice that between B and C, and between E and F there are no sharps or flats. This does not mean
there is no E sharp. What it means is that E sharp is F.

You can think of a sharp (♯) as a note plus one, and a flat (♭) as a note minus one. A plus one (A♯) is
the same as B minus one (B♭).

The fretboard of a guitar (and every other string instrument) is made up entirely of these notes.

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The Strings and the Fretboard
The guitar has six strings. The letter associated with the string decides where in the series of notes
you begin. On a guitar in standard tuning, the six strings are:

e (thinest string, high pitch, known as the high e string)


B
G
D
A
E (thickest string, low pitch, known as the low E string)

NOTE: low and high refer to the pitch of a note, NOT the position of the string on the guitar. Low is
deep, high is high.

An easy way to remember which string is which is by association. I like to link strings together. The
two strings on the outside (the thickest and thinnest strings) are both E. One string in from both E
strings are A and B. If you go up (in pitch) from the low E string, they are in alphabetical order (A
then B). The inside two strings are also in alphabetical order (D then G).

You can also use a mnemonic such as:

Eddie Ate Dynamite, Good Bye Eddie

For both the low E string and high e string, the notes are:

If you play the low E string open, it will be the note E. If you play the high e string open, it will be a
different E note. If you put a finger on the first fret of the E string the note will be F. If you put a finger
on the fifth fret of the E string the note will be A.

NOTE: A fret is a raised element on the neck of the guitar, usually a small metal bar inserted into the
fretboard. When a string instrument does not have frets, the fretboard is called a fingerboard instead.

Things can get REALLY complicated here, I’ll try to keep it as simple as possible.

On the guitar, each fret represents one semitone. A semitone is also called a half step or a half tone.
Twelve semitones make one octave. An octave is the interval between one musical pitch and another
with half or double its frequency.

In simple terms, an octave is the distance between two of the same notes. C to C for example:
The C on the left is an octave away from the C on the right.

Every time you go from one note to the next note, you go up one semitone or one half step. C to D♭ is
one semitone, or one half step. D♭to D is also one semitone, or one half step. C to D is a whole step.

Let’s return to the strings on the guitar. Here is a diagram that shows a fret board up to the 12th fret:

Notice that the low E string is at the bottom. When you hold the guitar, the low E string will be the
string closest to you.

Imagine you have a few rulers. If you lay them all next to each other, the numbers line up:

But if you slide one of the rulers over, the numbers don’t match up anymore.

BUT…the distance between each number is still the same. 1 is still 1 away from 2. 2 is still 1 away
from 3, and so on.

This is exactly how strings are set up. If you had a guitar with six E strings, it would look like this:

If we do what we did for the ruler example and ‘slide’ one string over, the series of notes stays the
same, but the positions of the notes relative to each other changes. This is what tuning a string does,
without moving the string itself. If we tune each string so the guitar is in standard tuning (E A D G B
e), the fret board looks like this:
This brings up an important point. What is the distance between strings? What is the distance on the
‘musical ruler’ between the low E string and the A string? What about the other strings?

All you need to do to figure this out is count.

E F GAB C DE

E is one. F is two. G is three. A is four. So E and A are four away, which is called a 4th. Let’s do the
same for A to D.

AB C DE F GA

A is one. B is two. C is three. D is four. So A and D are four away, which is also a 4th.

D to G is also a 4th.

G to B is only a 3rd away.

G is one. A is two. B is three.

Last, B and E are a 4th away.

These patterns are essential if you want to memorize the fretboard. There are a lot of other patterns
within the fretboard, I’ll point more out as we go along, but I also encourage you to find patterns on
your own. When you find something yourself, you are far more likely to remember it.

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Adaptation to Other String Instruments
To adapt the exercises in this book to another string instrument, you will need to map the fretboard of
your instrument. First, figure out what the tuning of your instrument is with a google search and count
the distance between the strings, like we did for the guitar. Recall that the strings of the guitar and the
distances between the strings are:

E | 4th | A | 4th | D | 4th | G | 3rd | B | 4th | E

Next, draw the fretboard of your instrument with all of the strings marked. Then fill in the rest of the
notes so you have a complete fretboard.

Most of the following exercises can be directly adapted, though some of them will require a bit of
thinking depending on how different the tuning of your instrument is (or if you are working with a
guitar in a different tuning).

Any time you adjust the tuning of your guitar or other instrument, doing this sort of analysis is
extremely helpful. Because the order of notes as one advances by semitones is always the same (only
the initial note changes, the note of the open string) the more you do this the easier it will be to see the
relationship without writing out a new fretboard.
A Note About the Following Exercises
The remained of the book is dedicated to exercises. How much time you spend on each exercise is, of
course, up to you. My recommendation is to complete the exercises chronologically, moving on when
you feel comfortable. If, after 24 hours without thinking about the guitar, you are able to begin an
exercise and complete it flawlessly, you probably know it well enough to continue. Ultimately, you
should be able to go through every exercise flawlessly at a moments notice, even after weeks away
from the guitar.

You know yourself better than anyone. Be honest with yourself about the progress you make and
decide what the best course of action is. Worst case, you change your plan when you realize you
moved on before you were ready.

Table of Contents
Exercise #1
First, tune your guitar with an electronic tuner. Whenever I say tune your guitar in this book, I want
you to tune to standard tuning (EADGBe). You should do this before every exercise so that your guitar
is as close to perfect tuning as you can get it. This will help you to learn what each note sounds like,
training your ear while you train everything else.

Do EVERY exercise with a metronome playing if you can. Building rhythm from the beginning is
extremely important. Seriously. I cannot stress it enough. That’s why I am writing these extra
sentences. You NEED a metronome. There are a ton of free metronomes online You can also buy one
at your local music store, or from Amazon.

www.metronomeonline.com

Click in the circles around the edge to change the tempo. I suggest you begin at 50 BMP and do the
entire exercise 2-5 times, then up the tempo to 60 BMP and repeat until you can do it at 100 BPM or
faster. Tap your foot along with the metronome.

Another tactic that will help you a LOT is to look at the diagrams provided and figure out every note
you will play and in what order before you play ANY notes. That way you don’t have to figure out the
next note from scratch in the middle of playing. It’s sort of like rehearsing a speech before you give it.

This first exercise is simple.

Pick up your guitar and hold it as if you are about to play. Pluck the open low E string and say “E”
aloud.

Place your finger on the 1st fret of the low E string and pluck it again. This note is an F. Say “F”
aloud.

Slide your finger up two frets (so you skip F ♯ / G♭). This note is G. Say “G” aloud. You will skip
every sharp and flat for this exercise.

Continue this until you reach the 12th fret, which will be the same note as the open string. Then go
backward, playing each note and saying it aloud, until you play the open low E string.

Now move to the A string and repeat. Do it slowly at first, then increase speed.

What you’re doing is playing every note in the diagram below and saying it aloud as you play it. It
will help you to refer to this diagram while you practice for the first few times.
Play each note exactly when the metronome sounds, when your foot taps the ground, and when you say
the note aloud. All of these things happen at the same time.

When increasing tempo, if you ever make a mistake (even one!) decrease the tempo by 10 and do the
whole exercise again, then increase the tempo. Though mistakes are an important part of life, you
want to avoid them at all costs in these early stages so you form good habits. Do NOT try to recover
from a mistake. Stop, decrease tempo, and begin again.

NOTE: When you put your finger on a fret, you want it to be as close to the fret as you can get it (on
the side of the fret away from the guitar body) without being on top of the fret or ruining the sound.
Press hard, but not so hard your hand hurts. Mess around with it for awhile and you will get it.

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Exercise #2
First, tune your guitar. Second, start your metronome.

It will help to refer to this diagram the first couple times you do the exercise.

Play the low E string open and say “E” aloud. Next play the A string open and say “A” aloud.
Continue until you have played all six strings open.

Now put your finger on the 5th fret of the low E string, which is an A. Pluck it and say “A” aloud.
Now move your finger to the 5th fret of the A string, pluck it, and say “D” aloud. Continue down until
you have played the 5th fret of all six strings.

Do the same thing for the 10th fret and the 12th fret (which is the same as the open strings).

Table of Contents
Exercise #3
First, tune your guitar. Second, start your metronome.

This exercise is almost identical to Exercise #1. The difference is that this time you will include the
sharps and flats. This exercise is split into 3F and 3S.

For exercise 3F:

Begin at 50 BPM on the low E string. Pluck it open and say “E” aloud. Go up one semitone (one half
step, one fret) and pluck it. Say “F” aloud. Continue up the string by semitones (one fret at a time).
Name every in-between note as a flat. (For the next note say “G flat” aloud.) When you reach the 12th
fret (or further) go backward, playing each note and saying it aloud, until you play the open low E
string. Do this for all six strings, then increase the tempo by 10. Continue until you can do this
exercise at 100 BPM or faster.

For exercise 3S:

Do exactly the same thing, but name every in-between note as a sharp instead of a flat.

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Exercise #4
First, tune your guitar. Second, start your metronome. (Yes, I am going to say this for every exercise.
No, I won’t apologize.)

This exercise can be tricky at first because of the B string. Remember that the distance between the G
string and the B string is a 3rd, and that all other gaps are 4th.

First play the 5th fret of the low E string, which is an A, and say “A” aloud. Now play the A string
open and say “A” aloud again. These two notes are the same.

Now play the 5th fret of the A string, which is a D, and say “D” aloud. Then play the D string open
and say “D” aloud again. These two notes are also the same.

Continue this way until you play the open G string and say “G” aloud. Next go to the 4th fret of the G
string, which is a B, and say “B” aloud. Then play the open B string.

Finish by playing the 5th fret of the B string, which is an E, then playing the open E string. Say “E”
aloud both times.

It will help to refer to this diagram the first couple times you do the exercise.

NOTE: You can tune the guitar to itself by using this knowledge. A trained ear helps…a lot. My ear is
constantly improving, but I still need a tuner, so don’t feel bad if you need one too.

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Exercise #5
First, tune your guitar. Second, start your metronome.

This exercise is similar to Exercise #4.

First play the 12th fret of the low E string, which is also an E. (This E is one octave higher than the
open low E string, or twelve semitones higher, or twelve half steps higher.) Say “E” aloud. Now play
the 7th fret of the A string, which is also an E (the same E) and say “E” aloud.

Now play the 12th fret of the A string, which is also an A. Say “A” aloud. Now play the 7th fret of the
D string, which is the same A, and say “A” aloud.

Continue this pattern until you have played the 12th fret of the G string. Next play the 8th fret of the B
string (which is a G, the same G).

Finish normally, playing the 12th fret of the B string and saying “B” aloud, then the 7th fret of the high
e string, also saying “B” aloud.

It will help to refer to this diagram the first couple times you do the exercise.

Recall what I said in Exercise #1:

“Another tactic that will help you a LOT is to look at the diagrams provided and figure out every note
you will play and in what order before you play ANY notes. That way you don’t have to figure out the
next note from scratch in the middle of playing. It’s sort of like rehearsing a speech before you give
it.”

Most importantly, use this advice to your advantage!

Table of Contents
Exercise #6
Alright, I lied. You don’t have to tune your guitar or start your metronome for this exercise.

Get a blank sheet of paper, lined or otherwise. Draw an empty fretboard, which should look
something like this:

Some people like the boxes because they are easy to fill in, some people don’t because the lines are
easily confused with strings. If this is true for you, draw a line for each string in pencil then write the
notes with pen or sharpie, something that will show up above the pencil.

Now I want you to fill in all the notes. I’m going to break this exercise into several parts, you’ll want
a fresh empty fretboard for each exercise.

6A:

Fill in the notes along the strings. Begin on the 1st fret of the low E string, then the 2nd fret, 3rd fret,
and so on. Then fill in the notes for the A string the same way. Fill the entire fretboard. This will help
you to memorize the order of notes.

6B:

Fill in the notes down the strings. Begin with the 1st fret of the low E string, then the 1st fret of the A
string, then the 1st fret of the D string, and so on. Next move to the 2nd fret and do the same. Fill the
entire fretboard. This will help you memorize which notes are a 5th (or a 4th) away.

6C:

Do what you did for 6B, but start on random frets of either E string. This will help you in a similar
way to 6B with the addition of helping you memorize the notes of the E string individually.

This same exercise can and should be done starting on the other five strings.

6D:

Fill in the notes diagonally. Begin with the 1st fret of the low E string. Next the 1st fret of the A string.
2nd fret of the low E string. 1st fret of the D string. 2nd fret of the A string. 3rd fret of the low E string.
Continue this until the entire fretboard is filled.
6E:

Pick one of the seven natural notes (A B C D E F G). Fill in every instance of that note, then pick
another note and repeat. Do this for all seven. You can include sharps and flats if you want. Not
including the open strings, there should be one of each for every string. The completed diagram will
look like this one

Table of Contents
Exercise #7
First, tune your guitar. Second, start your metronome.

For this exercise, you will play diagonally. Say each note aloud as you play it. Begin by playing the
1st fret of the low E string. Next the 1st fret of the A string. 2nd fret of the low E string. 1st fret of the D
string. 2nd fret of the A string. 3rd fret of the low E string. Continue this until you have played every
note on your fretboard, even past the 12th fret.

This exercise can be really difficult in the beginning. Use the fretboards you drew in Exercise 6 to
figure out which notes are which. Do it slow enough that you don’t make any mistakes (and don’t
forget the metronome!)

In the diagram below, the notes you play are numbered in order.

After you’ve done the diagonal that way, do it in all the others ways you can. There are four you
should be sure to do:

1) The one above.


2) Similar to the one above, but reverse the lines. Spot 2 and 3 are switched, 4 and 6 are switched, 7
and 10 are switched and 8 and 9 are switched.
3) Do #1 from the 1st fret of the high e string.
4) Do #2 from the 1st fret of the high e string.

You can do the same four exercises from the 12th fret low E and high e. You can do the diagonal
exercise from any fret, and I encourage you to.

I don’t talk about technique much in this book, but here is a good habit to get into. Assign a finger to
each fret. Your pointer finger for the 1st fret, your middle finger for the second, ring for the 3rd, and
pinky for the 4th. When you are done with the 1st fret, move every finger up one fret (so you pointer
finger is for the 2nd fret and your pinky for the 5th).

If you don’t play with a pick, I also think it is a good idea to use all five of your fingers to play notes.
Many guitarists never use the ring or pinky finger to pluck strings, which limits ability. Avoid using
the same finger to play two consecutive notes.

Table of Contents
Exercise #8
You don’t need to tune your guitar or start your metronome for this exercise either. You don’t even
need a guitar. (A metronome won’t hurt, though.)

Close your eyes and visualize your guitar. Imagine what the fretboard looks like in your hands. Try to
make the image as real as you can.

Visualize yourself completing each of the exercises in this book. Go through them one at a time,
saying the notes out loud or in your head, whatever you prefer. Hear the notes in your head. Make
your visual image as specific as you can.

Visualization has been shown to have a huge positive influence for athletes, public speaking, and
many other physical activities. I’ve used visualization in my guitar study with positive results, and in
other areas of my life. The best part is that you can practice this anywhere: on the bus, while walking,
or eating breakfast. You don’t need to close your eyes. I practice the fretboard when I’m driving or
cycling sometimes. If you do that, please be careful. There are enough accidents already.

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Conclusion
Before you go, I want to say “thank you” for downloading my book. I know there a lot of eBooks on
the market, and I’m glad you picked this one. I’m especially glad you read it to the end, that usually
means you got something from it.

Before you go, I need your help! Please take a moment to leave a review for this book. Your feedback
is extremely valuable to me because it allows me to improve the books I have already written, and to
write better books in the future.

If you have specific feedback, questions, or suggestions, please email me about it and I will update
the book then send you a new copy free of charge. My personal email address is:

mmistermeh@gmail.com

Feel free to send me an email about anything! I’m friendly, I swear.

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Other eBooks I've Written

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PBSV27Q

How to Become an A+ Student

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00R2AJH3M

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