Learning the notes on the fretboard is an important part of mastering guitar and will help unlock and take your playing to the next level. Things really do begin to fall into place once you realize what you’re playing, rather than stumbling around in the dark regurgitating memorized shapes and patterns.
There isn’t really a lot out there in terms of left handed guitar fretboard note diagrams, so when one of our readers emailed this week requesting one, I was only too happy to oblige.
Left Handed Guitar Fretboard Notes
The left handed guitar fretboard note diagram below shows a preview of the chart – if you don’t want to strain your eyes, click on it to download a high resolution version (or click here). Print it out, set it as your wallpaper, or just pull it up on-screen whenever you need it.
Time For Some Basic Music Theory!
In the world of music there are 7 whole notes : A – B – C – D – E – F – G
In between these whole notes we have some sharp (#) and flat (b) notes :
A – A#/Bb – B – C – C#/Db – D – D#/Eb – E – F – F#/Gb – G – G#/Ab.
Your first task is to learn this sequence of notes, as this is the order in which they will appear on every string. Once you know this pattern you will be able to figure out any note on the fingerboard. Notice that all whole notes have a sharp/flat in between, apart from the intervals between B and C, and E & F.
What is the Difference Between a Flat (b) and Sharp (#) Note?
Nothing at all, they’re just different names for the same notes. For example a D flat is exactly the same note as a C sharp. When ascending a scale you will use sharps, and when descending you will use flats. Simple!
The distance between 2 whole notes is called a whole step, whereas the distance between a whole note and sharp/flat note is called a half step. Therefore, a sharp note is a half step above a whole note and a flat note is a half step below a whole note. Still pretty straightforward right?
To the Fretboard!
Now that you’re armed with some very basic music theory, let’s tackle the fretboard! Assuming that you know the notes of the open strings (E – A – D – G – B – E) you really only need to learn frets 1-11 on each string. This is because the notes will repeat themselves (an octave higher) from the twelfth fret onwards, so once you know the first 11 you automatically know the rest. Less work is always good!
Start off by mastering the low E string – begin by learning only the whole notes to make memorizing easier, and then fill in the gaps later on. The good news is that once you’ve conquered the Low E you’ve also automatically learned the high E string! Keep in mind the note sequence mentioned above and take it one string at a time – before you know it you’ll have the entire fretboard under your belt!
There are various little tips and tricks to help speed up the process, such as by using octave patterns to quickly recognise other notes. For example, play an A on the Low E string and you can find another A on the D-string two frets higher. You can also test your knowledge by picking random frets and trying to quickly figure out what notes they are. Mix it up and make it fun!
Hungry for more left handed guitar tuition? Check out our Lessons Section!
Further Reading : Recommended Left Handed Guitar Tuition Materials
- Left-Handed Guitar: The Complete Method by Troy Stetina
- Left Handed Guitar Fretboard and Chord Chart Instructional Poster
- Big Left Handed Guitar Chord Book by Richard Moran