I have the following two diagrams that represent the notes on every fret of a guitar

enter image description here

enter image description here

This is the E major chord on the guitar:

enter image description here

First, there are 7 notes (E, F♯, G♯, A, B, C♯, and D♯) in the E chord but only 6 strings. Second, where are these notes on the fretboard and third, why are the first two diagrams of the fretboard so different?

  • 7
    "here are 7 notes (E, F♯, G♯, A, B, C♯, and D♯) in the E chord" -- no. Those are the notes of the E major scale. There are 3 notes in an E major triad: E, G#, and B. Also, there is not one "E chord" on the guitar, but many, many different voicings which may be played. – ex nihilo Nov 23 '17 at 17:00

Firstly, your assumption of 7 notes refers to E scale, not E chord. In the chord, there are 3 notes, E G# and B. They're shared between the 6 strings. Each string will play one of those notes, and it becomes apparent which one of each is easiest to reach, while occupying every string. That E chord is known as the 'open E', as it contains open strings as well as fretted. There are many other shapes of E major played on guitar, but all will (or should) contain at least one E, one G# and one B somewhere. They're called inversions and voicings.

The two charts are similar, except the lower one doesn't include alternative note names. A lot of guitar based sites seem to be under the misapprehension that only sharps (#) exist. The upper chart shows both names.

The 'MC' represents 'middle C', more commonly now - or getting that way- C4,

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Give it a bit longer - there might be a better answer that you prefer. It's too early yet !! – Tim Nov 23 '17 at 17:30
  • 3
    You might want to add that the first chart starts with the first fret (F...), while the second starts with open strings (E...) – Arsak Nov 24 '17 at 10:13
  • @Marzipanherz - not really - both charts have EADGBE on their left side. – Tim Nov 24 '17 at 10:46
  • 1
    I meant the first column, next to the column with the string names – Arsak Nov 24 '17 at 10:48
  • 1
    @Marzipanherz that's a great point. That would be very confusing for a new player. – user42882 Nov 24 '17 at 17:46

Just to add to Tim's answer: The Major chord has 3 notes: the 1st, 3rd, and 5th of the scale. If you look at the different chord types (Minor, 7th), you'll notice they take different parts of the same scale. This link will show you a description of the different chord types and how they are made up: https://www.edmprod.com/different-chord-types/

Your two diagrams are different for a few reasons: - second one is color coded (obvious difference) - first shows the notes, with either name (f# and gb are the same note with different names) - second favours one note name (only f#). I'm not sure what the numbers there are: maybe what finger you should use?

I found the fretboard a bit cryptic until I tried something, which I recommend you try. Take a copy of your first diagram (without color), and find every instance of E - that's your root note. Color it red. Find every instance of the 3rd (G#) and color them all yellow. Find every fifth (B), and color it blue. You will get a clear picture of how notes are distributed in a pattern. Every scale works the same way, only the roots start elsewhere. If you play the chord in each different place, you can hear the difference in sound - it's the same chord, but as Tim said, a different voice.

| improve this answer | |
  • The numbers in the second diagram appear to be octave numbers. – Andrew Leach Nov 23 '17 at 22:13

I think you want to learn where the notes are on your fretboard and forget about the diagrams: my advice would be to practice fretboard note ID: it will simply open up your possibilities by making you aware of the notes you're playing (and where!) when you are strumming a chord.

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    I don't think that this is bad advice, but some ideas about how to practice "fretboard note ID" would be helpful. For example, play the chromatic scale up and down the neck, spelling the note names, sharps ascending and flats descending. Or, play any scale or arpeggio up and down the neck, spelling note names. Or place your hand anywhere on the neck and have a friend (or computer program or deck of flashcards or whatever) suggest a note name; play all instances of the suggested note which are under your hand. Etc. – ex nihilo Nov 26 '17 at 17:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.