Years, years back I had a hassle with learning the notes on guitar. It was difficult, as anything with music theory is in the beginnings, so I developed a mini game to help myself. Later on, I used this game to help my students while I was teaching guitar, and it allowed some improvement!

So, in this article I will present you a game, which I call 'Guitar notes game'. I really suggest you to read the first part of this article, because it describes certain things in detail, which we will implement here, such as comparison of notes through octaves, adjacent strings, etc. Let's learn the game first, and then what things you can actually do with it.

Write a table with 5 columns as on the picture:


Here you write the note you want to search for. You can write them in order or randomly. It doesn't really matter.


Here you write the string on which you'll search the given note. I suggest you write them randomly.

Way I got it

How did you get to the note you were searching? For example, you're going for D note on 3rd string. Maybe you knew where that note is immediately. You put an asterisk (*) to that note/string combination, then. Maybe you went from open G string, which means you know that G note is on open 3rd string, but that takes ages to get to the D note, so you might want to learn that C note is on 5th fret of 3rd string, which guides us to:

What should I learn

As we just said, you should learn a note close to the one you don't know, and that note should be an octave (higher of lower) of the note you already know. You will find it lot easier to compare them this way.


Here you just fill in the fret where the note you search is. You can put this column next to string column. It might be more practical. Let's do one game for an example.

I'll explain what I did now. First I searched C note on 1st string. I didn't know it by default, so I went back from D note on 1st string (for which I knew it was on 8th fret). I also wrote that I should learn to compare that C note to B note on 1st string. The more notes you know around the note you're searching for, the easier you'll find it. And of course, I wrote that C note on 1st string lies on 8th fret. I'm sure you understand the process for other notes. If you find yourself stuck on some note, and just cannot find it, go from open string, and memorize as much notes on marked frets (3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and 12th), which are adjacent to the note you can't find. It takes only few minutes to solve that game, and it tells you many things. 'Way I got it' column tells you other notes you already know, 'What should I learn' tells you how should you focus on finding notes next time. For example if you're always tending to search notes through open strings, forbid that to yourself. Use octaves or adjacent notes (if you know them). The ultimate goal is to be able to mark all notes with * (the notes you know by default). Best way to use this game is to play it a few times each day, and then each week write out a diagram of guitar neck, and put the notes you already marked with * on it. That way you can measure your progress. I'll play another game, and see what the guitar neck diagram looks like.

Notice that I now know where C on 1st string is by default. It may however occur to you that you have a hard time finding the note you last time knew immediately. It is the matter of focus. That's why you should play this every day. Here's how my default note diagram looks like after 2 games:

For clarity sake, I was searching for notes only below 12th fret. If you know all of those, you can add up a column 'Fret above 12th', where you'll fill out those notes on frets between 12th and 24th.