Learn Guitar By Putting Labels on the Strings

by Leslie McClintock
Labelling the fretboard can help a novice player learn the notes.

Labelling the fretboard can help a novice player learn the notes.

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Labeling is an effective way to help beginning players get familiar with the notes and chords on a guitar. Beginning players often have difficulty with simultaneously learning the fine motor skills needed to play the instrument and the music theory knowledge of notes and how to put them together to make chords. Labeling helps make it easier to learn where to place your fingers. It is still up to you to practice enough to get the motor skills down.

Preparation

Technically, you won't be labelling the strings themselves. If you try to label the strings themselves, you will deaden the string's vibrations. Instead, you will label the fretboard. To prepare, purchase a set of small stickers and a ball-point pen. It may help to remove the strings on the guitar, or loosen them so they are slack enough for you to pull the strings to the side to expose the fingerboard so you can place the stickers.

Learning the Notes

To learn the notes on the guitar, place labels on the fretboard as follows: From the low E string, put the letter "F" on the wood, immediately behind the first fret. On the second fret, write "F#/Gb." On the third fret, write "G." On the fourth, write "G#/Ab." On the fifth fret, place a label that reads "A." On the fifth string, the one adjacent to the low E string, place labels that read Bb, B, C, C#/Db, and D right behind frets one through five, respectively. On the fourth string, label frets one through five with D#/Eb, E,F, F#/Gb and A. On the third string, label frets one through three with G#/Ab, A, A#/Bb, and B. On the second string, label frets one through five with C, C#/Db D, D#/Eb and E. And on the first string, repeat the labels from the sixth string. You have now labeled all the notes on the guitar from F up two and a third octaves up to A, except for the open strings.

Labeling the Open Strings

Place labels on the guitar to learn the notes on the open strings as follows: Put a label behind the nut, off the fretboard, up by the tuning pegs, and label them as follows, from low string (in pitch) to the high string: E, A, D, G, B, E.

Labelling the Chords

Label basic chords in common guitar keys as follows: For a G chord, put a colored sticker on the G note on the sixth string, the B note on the fifth string, and the G note on the first string. The other strings are sounded open. For C, put a colored sticker on the C note on the fifth string, the E note on the fourth, and the C note on the second. For a D chord, mark the third string at the second fret, the second string at the third fret, and the first string at the second fret. For an A chord, mark the fourth, third and second strings at the second fret.

Photo Credits

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