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Question on the fretboard?

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Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833
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Derek, do you have a piano or keyboard around the house, or somewhere readily accessible? It'll help if you do.

Not all of the white keys (which are the "natural" notes with the letter names) have a black "sharp" key above them (or "flat" key below if you look at it that way.) Rarely do we talk about "B#." Usually it's just called "C." Same with E, it's just followed by F (which can indeed be called "E#" under special circumstances, but having said that you can pretty well forget about it.)

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Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454

A# is at the 6th fret not the 5th, and B# is usually known as C. But otherwise, yes, each fret goes up one semitone. 12th fret (usually marked in some way - often with 2 dots or some kind of inlay) is E again. Across the 12th fret it's EADGBE again in standard tuning.

Ooops. :oops: Beaten to the post by Ric...

Most guitars have some sort of marks or inlays on the neck - commonly at frets 3, 5 7, 9 and 12

On either E string that corresponds to G (3rd fret) A (5th) B (7th) C#(9th - so C is at the 8th , in between 2 markers) and E (12th fret.)

After that it starts again. So, on the guitar next to me right now, there's another marker at the 15th (G again) at the 17th (A again) 19th (B again)

Trusted Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 78

Hi Derek,

Check this link out.

Has pics of the whole fretboard

Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 3995

A# is at the 6th fret not the 5th
Derek, your reasoning was correct but you missed F#: it is open-E, 1st-F, 2nd-F#, 3rd-G, 4th-G#, 5th-A.

It is the same for the other strings. For standard tuning, just remember that the note in the fifth fret is always in the next (higher) open string (for example, the A in the 5th fret of 6th string is also as open in the 5th string) but the note in the fourth fret in the 3rd string (G-G#-A-A#-B) is in the 2nd string (B).

Sorry, I don't know if it is enough clear :?

Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5342

Maybe he did explain it but you weren't ready for it. Applies to lots of things in music, you grow into them over a (sometimes very long) period

A :-)

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Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1089

On either E string that corresponds to G (3rd fret) A (5th) B (7th) C#(9th - so C is at the 8th , in between 2 markers) and E (12th fret.)

D'oh! I am so stupid! I just realized that the 12th fret is the octave! Yeah, 12 semi-tones.

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.

Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3221

Also each string above the other string is an OCTAVE. So for the high e would be the normal string and B string would be an Octave string.


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Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5840

Also each string above the other string is an OCTAVE. So for the high e would be the normal string and B string would be an Octave string.
In standard tuning, the octave is two strings and 2 frets over - the octave of the open E is the D string (2 strings over) at the 2nd fret (2 frets over). Between the G & B strings, this is put out of kilter, because of the major 3rd between them, rather than a perfect 4th as on the other strings, so you have to add one more fret.

This will, obviously, not, necessarily, apply with other tunings.

What will never change is that an octave is 12 frets (i.e. semi-tones) higher than its base, no matter how many strings that may cross.

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Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 103

is your teacher crappy? i'm not sure. just based on this i wouldn't be able to say. each teacher has their own way of teaching things, and i think that when it comes to "hobby" guitar, teaching methods vary a lot. my teacher teaches a lot of his stuff through songs. not only does it enforce components of guitar based on the particular song that he gives me, but it also keeps it fun and interesting. however, a large part of hobby guitar is building a repertoire, and this, in particular, is what this does.

in order to get answers to your questions (not about the guitar but about if your teacher is right for you), you need to have open communication with him. i'm assuming this advice has come up before (i think i remember a post from you earlier where you indicated that you were questioning your teacher's ability). however, in this case, you could broach the subject by simply asking "is there any reason why this isn't being taught to me as this seems important/simple/is important to me" and have an adult, mature conversation with your teacher. just an option.

i've been with my current teacher now for about 1 and 1/4 years and him and i had one of these conversations (in fact it went far beyond this). it was difficult but it cleared the air, i understood where he was coming from, he understood that i wasn't happy with certain things, he gave me a free lesson, and we went forward with a new understanding. again, i will say that it wasn't easy to do, but the longer you keep having doubts and don't address them with your teacher, the harder it will get and (possibly) more money will be wasted not learning what you want.

one thing that i personally believe is that you are your best teacher. the 1/2 hour to 1 hour that you spend with a teacher cannot compare to the total time that you can spend learning on your own. i actually don't look to my teacher to teach me everything i need to know about guitar or anywhere close to that. i look to him for guidance and direction.

for example, he gave he a solo that he wrote for deep river blues, and i've had a devil of a time working on it this past week. i just saw him tonight and i played what i could for him. often we will discuss the hard parts and go over alternative ways of playing them, or ways to improve my technique. there is a partial barre chord with the index finger while utilizing the other fingers of the left hand. he saw why i was having problems with that and explained it to me. we talked about how when i'm using the barre with my index finger, everything seems fine until i have, what he called, a "dissipation of power" when i have to use the other fingers at the same time. he went over strengthening exercises for the fingers, and stretching exercises. this, along with a discussion, took about 15 to 20 minutes of our 30 minute lesson. to me, that is money well spent, and i came out of there with a way to improve only 1 component of my playing.

his teaching method works for me. i am honestly not happy everytime that i leave the lesson, but most of the time i am and i am certainly happy with the progress. perhaps you might think that my expectations for teachers are low based on this, but i would personally hate to be a teacher when i see how many people post (not just this forum) about how they're not happy with what there teacher is or isn't teaching. just like any relationship, not every meeting will make you feel good (too many variables in human beings to make that possible). there is so much to learn with guitar that there is bound to be something that we feel, as students, should have been taught by now.

the only way, in my opinion, to see if your teacher is a good fit for you still is to talk to him about it.

hope this helps.