Don Parkhurst jr

I'm a Conservatory trained musician and guitar instructor who specializes in the Hard Rock / Metal genres. ...

Fundamentals Six (Note Groups)

Let’s now begin to organize all our notes into more manageable groups. This will allow us to find specific notes much quicker. In this lesson we will begin with separating our notes into two groups. We’ll find these groups on all the strings.

Keep in mind this is only the first step! In the upcoming lessons we will break these groups down even more. Let’s begin here first though. This is an important step that will help a great deal later on down the line. So let’s get to it!

Let's now begin to organize all our notes into more manageable groups. This will allow us to find specific notes much quicker. In this lesson we will begin with separating our notes into two groups. We'll find these groups on all the strings.

Keep in mind this is only the first step! In the upcoming lessons we will break these groups down even more. Let's begin here first though. This is an important step that will help a great deal later on down the line. So let's get to it!  

Now hopefully you have the ability to find any note on the neck by running up each string starting from the open string. This is fine and a great place to start but we don’t want to be stuck having to count up each string every time we need to find a certain note.

Let’s say your auditioning for a band and the other guitar player in the band asks you to play a progression containing A5 on the low E, B5 and C5 on the A string followed by F5 and G5 on the D.

It wouldn't look too impressive if you had to count up each string to find these chords. Sure you will eventually find them but meanwhile the other guys are watching you and questioning your knowledge and abilities. What if one of the other guys auditioning can find any chord almost instantly? Why waste valuable practice time waiting around for you to find the chords and scales you need to play if this other guy can find them with almost no hesitation. Who do you think will get the gig?

You need to have the ability to find these notes quickly. You should be able to find any note you want within a second or two. To be able to do this we need to break up the notes into easily memorable groups.

The first group will be GAB. Yes, our rock trio is back in the house! They're ready rock. Throw those horns up!

Also added into the mix will be CD. Can't forget the CD's! Promotion, promotion, promotion!

We will begin with the notes on the E and proceed onwards from there. So let’s start by taking a look at the diagram below!

So we have our band GAB located at the 3rd, 5th and 7th frets along with their CD located in the next frets over.

What we need to do now is lump all these together as one big group. GABCD

We have now covered five of the seven notes in our group of natural notes. Guess what’s left? E and F! These two notes will be another grouping.

So if we group GABCD together as one set and EF is another set we are left with only two sets of notes to remember! We would have GABCD-EF-GABCD-EF etc… Take a look at the diagram!

As you can see we have our group GABCD in the middle of the diagram and on either side of this group we can go up a full step to reach group one of EF or go down a full step to reach group two of EF. This will work the same no matter what string or location you go to on the neck. If you know where the GABCD group is located you will automatically know that all you have to do is go up or down a full step to find E and F. Likewise if you know where E and F is located all you have to do is again go up or down a full step to find GABCD!

In this diagram you can see that our GABCD group starts on the 5th fret. We go down a full step and you have the EF group. Go down a full step again and you have the open D which is the ending of our GABCD group. It will work in this same way on every string.

So there you go. All the natural notes on the low E and D strings divided up into two separate groups. Now go ahead and find these groups on all of your strings!

Now this is a good start but we need to focus in a little closer to be able to find these notes quicker. That's what we will cover in the next lesson!

Comments

Charts

I learnt to play the keyboard before I picked up the guitar and I remember having a lot of trouble trying to learn where the notes lay on the fretboard. Unlike the keyboard, where the notes follow each other serially throughout and are easy to find because of the black-and-white pattern, the guitar fretboard, having multiple strings, has overlapping sections of notes and the markings on the fretboard correspond to fret numbers rather than specific notes.

I ended up drawing myself a chart of the fretboard with all the notes written down. I'd carry it with me when I'd travel and test myself, trying to visualize the notes in my mind. All that work really pays off in the end and now I'm well acquainted with the fretboard.

This GABCD-EF trick is really neat. I wish I had learnt it when I first picked up the guitar. It would have saved me a good deal of time :)