Fretboard Knowledge 2: Octaves & looking for patterns

Updated: Aug 15, 2018

Now you understand how the tuning of the guitar effects chord shapes lets take it a step further. We will learn how to look for the patterns, keeping in mind that the B string affects the "symmetry" of the shapes and patterns.

Lets start with finding the note G in all locations on the fretboard:

Lets break it down into smaller chunks, boxes or patterns if you will. Also notice the fret spaces and string gaps between the pattern shapes.

Shape 1:

Shape 2:

Shape 3:

Shape 4:

Shape 5:

Shape 6:

Shape 7:

*Note: the patterns repeat themselves after the 12th fret

Notice how shape 1 & 4 look the same:

Notice how shape 2 & 5 also look the same:

Notice how shape 3 & 7 also look the same:

*shapes 2 & 5 would look the same as 1 & 4 if it wasn’t for the tuning discrepancy between the G & B string mentioned in the previous section*

There are really only 4 unique shapes:

Shape 1:

Shape 2:

Shape 3:

Shape 4:

You can use this method to find all the locations of a single note across the fretboard. Think of it as a fretboard roadmap. Try out the exercises below:

Can you see the patterns?

I recommend learning the notes on all strings, however learning all the natural notes along the Low E and A strings and then using the shapes to find out where they are located on the rest of the strings would be a good start. By memorising the notes on the Low E you have also memorised the high E string.):

And if you memorise notes on the A string, thats three strings, you're halfway there:

The enharmonic notes (the black keys on a piano (#/b)) are in the spaces and if you want to find for example, the note ‘Gb’, it will be before the note G and after the note F:

Good luck! I hope you have found this useful. Let me know in the comments.

Taken from my book series 'Six String Enigma'

Recommended Reading:

The AB Guide to Music Theory Vol 1

Music Theory For Dummies

Chords And Scales For Guitarists

Ultimate Scale Book Pocket Guide Guitar Tab Book

Guitar Fretboard Fluency: The Creative Guide to Mastering The Guitar

Chord Chemistry by Ted Greene

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